Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Five Things I Want my Daughters to Know Before They Grow Up

 Before my daughters start puberty, I want to have taught them an understanding of these five truths.

1. Your Body is Awesome, and Will Change In Ways That Give it Power to Do Even More Awesome Things
I loved this post Lani wrote for The Gift of Giving Life Blog on menstruation, Red and Powerful. I had mixed emotions about starting my period when I was 12. I understood that it meant I was growing up and looked to it with a kind of curious anticipation. But I was also influenced by some negative cultural perceptions that said it was a burden. I was embarrassed to tell my mom, though I don't know exactly why, and when I told her and she told me that was wonderful, I didn't really understand what was "wonderful" about it. I want menarche to be celebrated for my girls, maybe not with a party, but a special mom and daughter day out or something. I want them to understand that (and how) menstruation means fertility, and fertility is so powerful.

2. Sex is Sacred, So We Don't Talk About it With Everyone, but Your Parents are People You Can Always ask Questions about Sex
wishing on a dandelion with my older daughter
This post from the marital intimacy blog, Be One, Miss Rain's Moment of Truth tells the story of a mother who felt inspired to talk to her 7 year old daughter about how babies are made one night, and the beautiful conversation that followed. It turns out a friend had said something to her about it ar school a few days before. I hope to be able to talk to my daughters with the same sensitive honesty that this mother showed. All the things discussed here are just exactly as I would want my girls to understand them at about that age.

3. Sex is Extremely Powerful, a Power That Can Be Used For Amazing Good or Terrible Destruction
I don't remember my parents talking to me much directly about sex.  I think they did teach me, but not always in ways I remember concretely.  I remember "the talk" being kind of awkward, though I think they timed it right because I really had no idea about the mechanical details when they told me. But between their teaching and young women and EFY lessons, I must have picked up the most important parts, because around the time I graduated from high school, I wrote this beautiful poem about what what I wanted the day of my wedding to be like. I wrote a lot of (mostly bad) poetry in my teen years, but I think this may be one of the best...

Love and passion flowing free--
Silent tongues sing in ecstasy.
Hands clasp on to what they've found.
Hearts live for another's sound.

Young eyes sparkle, old one's cry.
Loving parents say goodbye.
As both the product and the source
Of Love follows similar course.

More than objects of desire
Consumed by wild passion's fire
Entering the Holy Gate--
Blessed is the choice to wait.

Today is giv'n the guarded gift.
To new heights a Love will lift.
As the flesh is intertwined,
Two souls are forever joined.

I think some of this I figured out for myself. About five months before I wrote this, I had my first kiss. (I suppose some would cosider 17 old for a first kiss and some young...). About a month after it, that relationship ended, his decision, not mine. As you can imagine, it was a painful break up for me (there was an abundance of bad poetry written about it). I realized that if it was that painful to have given a few kisses to a guy and then have it be over, how much more painful would it be to give someone your whole body in an act of love that I believe is meant to bind people together forever and then have them leave you? It just seemed like it would be incredibly painful to me.

I don't want my girls to feel that sex is "bad," but to understand it is a sacred power that is really, really good when used the right way, but harmful when misused.

4. Dressing Modestly is About YOU, Not about Keeping Other People's Thought's Clean
My Beautiful Girls
I want my girls to understand that the cleanliness of other people's thoughts is not their responsibility.  The choice for a woman to dress modestly is a choice to show respect for her body and its power.  She keep its divine power concealed, except for under the right circumstances.  Heather's post Getting Adam to Partake shares the beautiful insights she learned about modesty from her Muslim friends.

5. "You Are Capable of So Much More Than Being Looked At"
This is one of the messages from Beauty Redefined's billboard campaign.  I want my girls to understand all the things Lindsay and Lexie talk about on their blog.  I want them to recognize and reject all the harmful messages about women in the media and to see "beauty" as so much more than just "sex appeal."  I want them to know that beauty includes who they are and all the wonderful things they can do!

* dandelion photo by  J.C. Photography Utah

3 comments:

  1. Thank you! As the mom of 3 boys I am glad that there are girls out there learning these important truths. I am teaching my boys things that will help to appreciate modest, confident young women.

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  2. this is a wonderful post!!!! I love it!!

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  3. I love this! I agree with all of it. My baby girl is only 5 months old, so I have plenty of time to teach these things to her.

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