The Beauty of Becoming a Woman

Dear Reader—While it may be uncomfortable for some to read an article about such a personal and sensitive issue, I can assure you that it is equally challenging for me to write about it.  Because we receive more questions about this issue than any other parenting challenge, we recognize the need to address this topic.  I hope that the following information will be helpful to you.

When I least expected it, I turned around and found my little girl had grown into a blossoming young woman.  It seemed that her body had changed overnight!  I admit I was filled with fear.  I wanted to maintain her innocence, but I knew I had to tell her something.  What should I tell her?  What if I forget something?  Was she ready for this?  Was I ready for this?

Lady Day:  The Event

After much prayer, Harold and I agreed that we should present only information about her and save the stuff about boys for a later date.  We both felt it was important to affirm her transition from girl to woman and to give her God’s perspective of what our culture often labels “the curse.”  We wanted to celebrate this transition time as we taught her about the changes in her body and the incredible way God made her.  We began to plan a “Lady Day,” a day that she and I could do things together that grown up women do—such as shopping and having lunch together.  We would have fun and strengthen our relationship while I shared important information with her.  But what information was I going to share?

Lady Day:  The Book

With God’s help and inspiration, I wrote Lady Day:  Letters to a Daughter About Becoming a Woman. I never envisioned it to be anything more than a collection of information for our four daughters, but the many requests from friends encouraged us to make it available to other Christian families.  My goal was to create a tool from a godly perspective that would help me teach our daughter about becoming a woman while building a deeper relationship with her, opening a ongoing discussion for the years ahead.  I felt it was important to have everything in writing so she could refer back to it at any time after our Lady Day.

While this relational tool was designed as a mother/daughter event, the tone of the letters and the blank signature space allows the book to be used by mothers or fathers.  It’s not designed to be given to a daughter without discussion or interaction, nor is it an exhaustive source of information on the topic. 

A compilation of “Dear Daughter” letters about various topics regarding puberty, this 32-page book begins by affirming a daughter’s femininity and continues with encouraging modesty.  There is a section on her changing body and caring for her skin.  The final section presents information about menstruation.  The book concludes with printed letters of blessing from mom and dad as well as a blank page for you to record a personalized message to your daughter.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  There is no discussion about physical differences between girls and boys or about marital relations.  (Those issues are addressed in The Gift of Purity, another product exclusive to Daughters 4 God which will be featured in the March newsletter.)

A Sample Lady Day

The Lady Day celebrations for each of our daughters have been unique, but the following description is a compilation of what worked best for our family.  Several weeks before the event, I told our daughter that I had planned a special day together—just the two of us.  On our chosen Saturday, we dressed in our casual best.  As we drove away, I gave her a copy of Lady Day and asked her to read the first letter while we drove to our first destination-- the parking lot of our church, away from any traffic. I asked her to read the next letter and fill in the opposite page. We talked and prayed about her aspirations and her future.

At the next stop (a discount store or mall), we read the sections about changes, modesty, and skin care. Then we went shopping for undergarments and a purse. You could also schedule a skin care appointment at a department store or with a beauty consultant.  I chose to discuss skin care before our day together, so we just reviewed what she already knew.  We returned to the car and filled in the section about our purchase.

For our last session, we drove to a discount retailer. In a remote section of the parking lot, I asked her to read the section about menstruation and allowed her to ask as many questions as she wanted.  We went inside the store and together we chose several different sanitary supplies for her to have available.  We returned to the car and headed to a restaurant for a late lunch.

During our leisurely lunch, I asked her to read the letters that her dad and I had written.  I presented my dear daughter with a devotional book and a charm for her charm bracelet (a.k.a. “Memory Keeper”) as remembrances of our special day together.  Sterling silver charms and Memory Keepers are available at .  It was a day neither of us will forget.

When is it time?

One of the most frequent questions I receive is, “How do I know when my daughter is ready for Lady Day?”  Physical development and questions about sexuality are good indications that your daughter may be ready for Lady Day.  My husband and I made the decision primarily based on our daughter’s physical development.  We wanted to make sure that she had all the information she needed and was prepared before her big day arrived.  In our family, age 10 or 11 was a perfect time to tell our daughters about their changing body.

While you may see some signs of physical development, you may have more time than you think.  The average age of menarche (the first menstruation) in the US is 12.54 years.  African-American girls have a lower average age than white girls; heavier girls have a lower average than lean girls.  I have learned from our pediatrician, research, and my own experiences that girls begin to menstruate about two years after the appearance of both breast buds and underarm hair.

Don’t let fear guide you.  Fear is not from God.  Trust in God; He is faithful.  He gave you your sweet daughter and He will give you everything you need to raise her, including the wisdom to choose the perfect timing for your daughter’s Lady Day. Every mom I’ve spoken with has told me that they knew in their heart when the right time had come to talk to their daughter.  I’m sure it will be the same for you, too.

Your Daughter’s Lady Day

Let your Lady Day reflect you and your daughter.  I know of a mother and daughter who had their special day and a picnic on the Skyline Drive and another who took her daughter horseback riding, and still another who took her daughter for tea.  The possibilities are endless!

Of course you’ll want to stay within the family budget, but you may also want to consider a few other things.  Knowing that I had three more daughters to follow, I planned activities and special gifts for the oldest daughter that I could easily repeat for the other three.  (For example, each received a book but not the same book.  Each went out to eat, but at a different restaurant.)  As parents, we love to give good gifts to our children and bless them.  When we have time together it’s easy to want to do everything you’ve ever wanted to do—tea, manicures, shopping, etc.  I tried to hold back and plan some special activities she would enjoy, but to keep others for a future time together.  Remember, the most important thing is not what you do but that you affirm your daughter and build a strong foundation for a lasting relationship as you celebrate her transition to womanhood.

If you’ve used Lady Day with your daughter, I’d love to hear your story.  It will be an inspiration to moms who are planning a special day for their daughters.

Some excerpts taken from Lady Day, by Joy Moore, Copyright 2006

Statistics quoted from American Association of Pediatrics.

On the Road Again

We’ve just returned from a great weekend at MACHE—Maryland Association of Christian Home Educators.  It is a curriculum fair of 4 buildings worth of vendors for all things homeschooling—curriculum for every subject, dissection specimens, microscopes,  colleges, summer camps, support organizations, and even small appliances for cooking.  This was our third year there and it is like “old home week.”  We see other vendors from past years and meet new vendors, as well.  We talk with friends from previous years, though I’m not great at remembering all their names from year to year, catching up with where our lives are a year later.  Here are a couple of pictures from the weekend: Our family inside the D4G booth, A little girl and her Mom with matching D4G bracelets and mother/daughter charms, Abigail with a new friend who is wearing the same shirt, and Abigail having fun with Daddy on the handcart.

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I talked with several ladies who had experienced great loss over the last year—the death of a loved one, two second-trimester miscarriages, a child ill with cancer.  It reminded me how fleeting life is and how miniscule the frustrations in my own life really are.  I also thought of the constancy and sufficiency of our God.  In the midst of these very challenging experiences, these ladies were smiling and telling of God’s faithfulness in the midst of the storm.  I am so grateful I serve a God who is bigger than any circumstance in life, a God who is more than enough.

--Joy

Inside Tips on Using Passport2Purity

motherdaughterinred1
motherdaughterinred1

Joy's Inside Tips on Using Passport2Purity

You think it's time to "have the talk", but you aren't sure and you don't know what to say. That's how I felt when my first daughter was approaching puberty. I had already written Lady Day, but I began to search for something to help me know what to say and when to say it.  I hadn't yet written The Gift of Purity, so I used Passport2Purity.

This is an excellent tool with detailed instructions and teaching to help you plan an overnight for you and your daughter. It includes:

  • A planning guide with two sections
  • The first section is a planner for you with a detailed schedule of the weekend.The second section is identical to your daughter's. It includes fill in the blank outlines of each discussion on CD.
  • A student's guide
  • 5 audio CD's of teachings by Dennis and Barbara Rainey

Timing

How do you know when it's time to have "the talk?" Each child and each family is different. Some children ask lots of direct questions; some ask none at all. Some families are comfortable with lots of information; some give very little information. Passport2Purity was designed for 10-13 year old girls (and boys). We planned our time according to our daughter's physical and emotional development and questions she was asking. We wanted to make sure that she would understand the information presented and treasure the purity ring and what it represented.

Planning

I am a big fan of making detailed plans in advance, however I am flexible enough to throw the plans out the window if something changes, if something better comes up, or if God leads me otherwise. A plan is a tool to help you make decisions in advance, allowing you to have a more enjoyable time.

Making a budget

You don't have to spend a lot of money, but you want to communicate how special this time is. Depending on location, you should be able to find a nice hotel with a free breakfast for around $75.00 per night, less on the off season. If your budget won't allow that much, maybe you know someone who would let you stay in their cabin in the mountains or their house at the beach.

As far as meals, you'll be eating dinner the first day, and three meals on the second day. Since we ate a big breakfast, we saved some money by eating snacks for lunch. We splurged on a nice dinner.

Finally, you'll have expenses for gas, expense for a ring or other token and entertainment expenses. Don't worry about how much money you have, or don't have! It's not about how much money you spend; it's about the time you invest in building a relationship with your daughter.

Choosing a destination

When choosing a destination, you need to take several things into account: your daughter's interests, the time of year, your geographic location, and your budget. What would your daughter like to do during your free time? Will it be swimming weather or skiing weather? How far are you willing to drive? How much are you willing to spend? Since dad was joining us for a special dinner, we didn't want to drive too far from home. In the end, we chose a destination about one hour away.

Choosing a hotel

Most girls like nice things and atmosphere is very important. On both occasions, we chose a nice hotel during the off-season which gave us lovely accommodations for about half of the price. Many hotels include a free breakfast or have a hotel restaurant. Having breakfast at the hotel is not necessary, but is very convenient.

Also, we spent two nights. We didn't want to pack up and check out in the morning and we wanted to be dressed nicely for dinner and needed a room to get ready.

Sending an invitation

Make an invitation and send it to your daughter through the mail. What girl doesn't like to get mail? I name the time "Purity Weekend" and I listed the departuretime, and an RSVP name and phone number, but the destination was a secret.

Choosing puzzles

Each girl has her own interests. Choose a puzzle that would interest her. For my oldest daughter I chose Thomas Kinkade paintings, for my second daughter, I chose horse puzzles. On both occasions, we worked the puzzle during our free time. After the weekend, the puzzle was her gift to remember our time together.

Preparing the object lessons

As I prepared the object lessons, I bought solid colored gift bags from a discount retailer, each bag a different color, and marked them by number for each of the object lessons. All supplies for that object lesson were placed in the bag so that I was prepared when we stopped the tape. I transported all of the bags in a large department store shopping bag so my daughter didn't see them. I kept the bags to be used with the next daughter.

Listening to the teachings

The first CD teaching you listen to is while you're traveling. I made sure that she had control of the buttons. I gave them permission to stop the teaching any time they had a question or didn't understand the concept. When we listened in the hotel room, she was on one bed with the portable CD player, and I was on the other bed. Sometimes I stopped the teaching just to clarify that she understood. Usually when I stopped the CD to ask a question, she had more to ask me.

Planning afternoon activities

I tailored the afternoon activities to my daughter's interests and desires, and my budget! I wanted to find a "grown up" activity that reaffirmed her femininity. The oldest daughter wanted to get her ears pierced. We spent the day perusing bookstores and finally ended up at Claire's to get her ears pierced. For the second daughter, I scheduled an appointment to get her hair cut at a nice salon - her first visit to a salon. Later, she also got her ears pierced.

There are many things you could do together: seeing a symphony, a ballet, touring a historic site, going to a museum, going horseback riding, painting a piece of pottery, walking on the beach, swimming, or hiking.

Dinner

I felt the weekend was too special and too important not to include Dad in some way. We planned that he would join us for dinner on the second evening. I searched in advance to find a nice restaurant nearby and my daughter and I dressed up in our very best dresses. I wanted her to know that this was a special time. When we entered the hotel lobby on our way to the restaurant, Dad was waiting in his best suit. Both girls were so emotionally moved that they cried. We took lots of pictures and headed to dinner.

My husband treated our daughter with honor, opened the car door for her, pulled back her chair at dinner and showed by example how a future husband should treat her. During dinner our daughter told her dad about what she had learned and what we had done during the weekend without the interruption of siblings. Including dad at this point was crucial because it established that all of these topics were open for discussion with Mom or Dad. Were the girls embarrassed? Not at all. At this age, most are still very open and uninhibited about discussing such issues.

After dinner, we returned back to the hotel and dad presented his princess with a lovely purity ring, symbolizing her commitment to purity. We found a ring at a local jeweler which was within our budget and looked grown up enough for a young adult to wear.

Concluding the weekend

After Dad left, my daughter and I spent a second night at the hotel and had a final breakfast together. We drove home with a closeness we had never before experienced - it was a heart-to-heart experience. I can't say that everything was perfect after that, but I can say that it was a very important foundational weekend in our relationship and that it opened the door to communication. I am still reaping the benefits today.