For the last couple of years, I have been going on occasional dates with my daughter. These dates have a purpose. We are building our relationship as mother and daughter. We are practicing being open in how we communicate with one another. And we are talking about important things that young girls need to learn and know. The idea for the dates come directly from Dannah Gresh’s Secret-Keeper Girl. You can check out the website here.
The first eight dates are all focused around beauty, modesty, and true fashion. We have now completed four of the eight dates in this first set of dates. Yes, it is taking us awhile, but that is making each date a little more special. (The second set is about true friendships – hopefully we’ll get to that sometime in the next year!)
Yesterday, as we did date number four we were particularly talking about modest dress and why it is important. At one point, Anne made the comment to me that there were a lot of girls whose moms don’t talk with them about this kind of stuff. I asked her why she thought that and her answers made me sad. She said that some of the girls don’t like their moms or their moms don’t like to spend time with them. She said some of the girls don’t dress appropriately, so their moms must not talk to them about why it is important to dress modestly.
As I have thought about it, there are probably a number of reasons for this. Some families have different values than us. Many moms didn’t ever have conversations like that with their moms, so it makes them uncomfortable. I mean, when you are talking about modest dress, you have to talk about the underlying issue for it – we are sexual beings – and that isn’t a fun or comfortable topic of conversation. Some people may not even think about the fact that these are important conversations to have with their children before they start learning from their peers the wrong kinds of information.
But for me, I want to make sure that both of my kids not only learn about these kinds of things from their parents, but also that we foster the kind of relationship where they come to us with their questions and concerns instead of holding them inside or going to their friends. I read somewhere that once our kids hit about age 10, parents are no longer the primary influence on their children. While that may be true for the general population, I don’t want that to be true for my children. I want them to look to us and to learn from us more than they look to their peers and the culture, and for me, these dates with my daughter are just one way I am trying to foster that relationship.
The truth of the matter is this: as parents, we need to parent. We need to teach our kids right from wrong. We need to talk to them about the difference between what the culture says and what Christ says. We need to be enforcing the values of healthy sexuality in marriage. We need to get over our fear and discomfort of talking about the hard stuff and open our mouths. Our kids take their cues from us. If we are uncomfortable, they will be too. It’s not easy to talk to my 11-year-old about the fact that boys’ bodies respond to what they see, but I have to do it, and I have to do it in a way that makes coming back to me with questions not only possible for her, but probable.
I encourage you parents out there to do this. It may not look like what I am doing, but do something. Parent your kids. Let’s raise up a generation of young people who understand the importance of living right, of making good decisions, of living a counter-cultural life that pleases both their parents and God.
What are the things you are currently doing to teach your children your values – whether intentionally or unintentionally?