For the first week in a very long time, I actually enjoyed a wonderfully ho-hum week. I finished the class I taught at the local store, and I don’t know how it will feel to have Tuesdays back with the kids. We still have about 5-6 weeks of “regular school” left before summer, and I’m starting to think about our plans. We have two big trips planned, which will just about take up whatever monies I usually pour into summer programs. Our daughter and my husband are traveling for their first mission trip, and I’m excited for them. Plan A was for me to accompany our daughter, but our church’s Youth Pastor was thrilled when she thought at least one man was going. So I thought the mature thing to do, as much as it hurt, was to send my husband instead of going myself. The youth group will host a Vacation Bible School in the area, full of songs and skits. My husband has laughed countless times that he’ll be traveling to one of the world’s most exotic resort locations and wearing a clown suit. My response to him is that as long as he’s funny-looking to the ladies, I know he’ll come home to me the same way he left (smile).
The other trip is for my son, whose team is dancing at a national competition early in the summer. This was our first year participating on the competitive team and it’s been ripe ground for women’s and/or family ministry, if you know what I mean. Thankfully, because our son is a boy, we’ve managed to dodge much of the hysteria that surrounds the young ladies. Yet, having spent almost a year now watching these girls with their parents, teachers, peers, etc., I’m constantly reminded of how much we as women can unintentionally project onto our kids. I see girls who are constantly primped and pampered, dressed in makeup and sometimes inappropriate clothing at young ages in the name of being prettier than the next. At the competitive level, there are no girls bigger than a size 7/8, and moms constantly chatter on and on about potential weight gain.
Don’t get me wrong. Competitive dancing is competitive for a reason. Not everyone can do it, and the very nature of the beast requires physically moving about in a way that excess weight inhibits. But I can’t help but wonder if, somewhere amongst the type of glitz and glamour that these young girls are exposed to, what messages they’re receiving about true beauty and self confidence. More importantly, it scares me to think that the moms and teachers coaching them are too busy struggling with their own insecurities and regrets to speak positively to them. This is not a condemnation from me, but a conclusion based upon the conversations I hear, and a genuine concern for the next generation of future wives and mothers.
As I look at woman after woman attempting to live vicariously through her daughter, I take an account of my own relationship with our two girls. My oldest is so like her dad and, in several areas, very unlike who I was before God touched me: she’s very sociable, she’s naturally sweet even before she received Christ, and she has a heart the size of Texas. Of course, there are some areas that need polishing, too. The worst thing I could do, and what I did early in our homeschooling journey, was to try and turn her into me. From where I sat, she needed my overachieving spirit, my math and science love and aptitude, my efficient nature, my this, my that. All of that was about fear. What would she become if she didn’t have those things? Where would life take this slow, methodical, creative endeavor-loving night owl? About two years into our journey, I read an article in the Elijah Company’s catalog. I no longer have the catalog, and I can’t remember the article, but I do remember a key line. The father asked the Lord to help him quit trying to make his son into what he wanted him to be, and to allow God to shape him into what He wanted him to be. This became my prayer several days after reading it, and I still draw upon these words of wisdom when I feel myself speaking out of that fear again.
Our oldest will be 13 one week from today. I chose engineering as a career (initially); if she doesn’t change her mind, fashion will be her passion. I wake up each day ready to take on the world. She’s up to the same challenge at about 10 p.m. each evening. I was in the marching band. She dances, and one day she might even compete. May the Holy Spirit quickly put my mouth in check when I speak out of my own regrets, my own insecurities, and my own fears. May the Lord give me keener insight into my own generational issues so that I don’t pass them on. Let her grow up according to Ephesians 3:16-19:
". . . that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God."