The Blessing of Teen Daughters

Our parenting goal has always been to raise children who love God with all their heart, mind, and soul; however, each phase of a child’s life is unique and requires different parenting skills to achieve that goal.  Whether or not you choose to use the label of “teenager,” the ages with the word “teen” are years of enormous change, growth and development.  In our home, it has been a joyous time of great blessing and precious memories.  Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned over the past seven years, but most apply to any age: Parenting Daughters Find joy in who she is. Focus on her good traits. Pray for her weaknesses. Make memories. Mentally record her laugh. Do it her way, sometimes. Ask if she wants help. Declare your love. Always respond with kindness. Spend quality time together. Compliment her often. Expect the best. Drink in her smile. Kiss her goodnight. Listen. Gently guide her. Share her excitement. Try something new. Be silly. Hug her tightly. Value her opinions. Enjoy her company. Tackle a challenge together. Encourage her attempts. Listen more. Take lots of pictures. Correct her privately. Think outside of the box. Speak respectfully. Dream together. Treasure the beauty of today. Trust God with the future.

By:  Joy Moore, Copyright 2011

The Deadly Trap of Comparison

I have lived a life of comparison.  From a young age I measured myself by the others around me.  My older sister always had cooler clothes and pristine toys.  My younger sister was quieter and didn’t get in trouble for talking too much like I did.  In high school I compared myself to my friends:  Sheri got better grades, Heather was more beautiful and popular, Lori was more athletic, and Rhonda had a better singing voice, and nearly everyone else was taller than I was.  When I entered college as a music major, the culture of auditions and recitals only added fuel to the already burning fire of comparison.  After graduation, I married Harold and we started a family.  In my desperation to be the best wife and mom I could be, I compared my efforts to those of my friends.  And then came homeschooling!  No matter whom I compared myself to, I always came up lacking. God has certainly done a great work in my heart, but the recovering perfectionist in me still fights to stay out of the deadly trap of comparison.  I know that I’m a daughter of the Most High God and that He takes delight in me, but I sometimes I fall prey to the enemy’s scheme of using others around me as the standard to measure my life.  I don’t think I’m alone in that.  I’m taking a chance and being pretty transparent, but here is a recent entry from my journal about God’s perspective of comparison:

Comparing is a form of dishonor--one is the loser and the other is the winner.  People compare because they feel a sense of lack.  They make excuses or justifications why someone has more than they do.  They define themselves by comparing themselves with others.  When you compare yourself with others, you are saying only one is good or valuable and that everyone should fit in the mould.  That’s not my way.  Look at the world I created.  There is great diversity, even in one species.  Is a maple tree more important than a pecan tree?  Is a tree more important than a flower?  I have created them all for a special purpose.  I am a unique God and I have created unique creations for unique purposes.

My limited study of art has taught me that the more rare a work of art, the more valuable.  Leonardo DaVinci’s one-of-a-kind painting of the Mona Lisa is a thousand times more valuable than a mass-produced painting from Walmart.  I’m not an art historian, but I do know that one element of the Mona Lisa that gives it value is its unique perspective for the time it was created.  It was unlike any other.

You are a unique work of art, fashioned by the Creator of the universe.  There is no one quite like you.  No one brings Him pleasure the way you do.  There are things that God purposed for you and only you to accomplish.  If you ask, He will give you wisdom to be the best wife to your husband and the best mom for your children.  Don’t let the deadly trap of comparison hold you captive.  Follow the leading of your Savior and walk confidently with your head held high.

“We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves.  When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.  (2 Cor. 10:12)

Satisfied

I like to know what’s going on in our world, but my information doesn’t come from our local paper.  There were too many photographs depicting blatant sin posted on the front page.  I realize that this is news, but I don’t appreciate the images being recorded in the minds of my family. Recently, I was online checking news and ran across an article about the death of Eunice Shriver.  I knew her name well as the founder of the Special Olympics and an advocate for those with disabilities.  (I worked with hearing-impaired children before my daughters were born and among my colleagues she was an example of how to affect change.)  The article told about how Eunice Shriver had founded the Special Olympics and opened the eyes of the public to the needs of the mentally disabled by openly disclosing the needs of her own mentally retarded sister.  She received many honors including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the French Legion of Honor, the Lasker Award for public service, and the Theodore Roosevelt Award of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.  Some have said that she should’ve been president.

Deep into the third page near to the end of the article, it mentioned that she was the mother of four sons and a daughters, saying that she “thoroughly believed ‘in motherhood as the nourishment of life,’ once writing that ‘it is the most wonderful, satisfying thing we can do.’”  It is a rare thing in our culture for an accomplished woman, by the world’s standards, to recognize the value of motherhood.

Motherhood has always held a place of high esteem in my world.  The example of my own mother gave me a strong desire to follow in her footsteps.  It was only when I found myself a high school graduate without a sweetheart that I began searching for an alternative career path.  I chose to study music education, hoping to use it with the hearing-impaired community.

When I was first married, I was hired to teach music at the only elementary school in the city that had hearing-impaired children.  I began to write my own curriculum and work with others across the US who were writing the first nationally-recognized music curriculum for hearing-impaired.  My job made for great conversation at my husband’s business functions.  Then I had Victoria and quit my job.  When someone asked what I did, they backed away so fast you would’ve thought I said, “I’m a carrier of the plague.”  It was the first of many times that someone would communicate that motherhood was not valuable and that because I was a mother, I was not valuable.  A discontent set in.

I have to admit that there have been moments when I didn’t feel satisfied in my “mommy world.”  I wondered how it would feel to do something important—not instead of, but in addition to being a mom.  I now recognize that those thoughts come from one who has taken her eyes off of her Savior and His plan, one who is trying to earn her value.  God has been faithful to teach me that my value is in who He says I am, not in what I do, what I look like, how my house looks, how my children behave, or how much they know.  When I keep my eyes and heart focused on the Lover of My Soul, I recognize that my value is in being His—His creation, His friend, His servant, and His choice to be the wife of my husband and the mother of our precious children.  That is a satisfying place to be.

You can read the full article reporting the death of Eunice Shriver here.  (NOTE:  I do not support nor recommend this publication as a source of information.  I am merely providing the source of my quoted material.)