Starting With the Right Questions
As Christians, do we have a consistent and clear target for what we are training our daughters to be? Does the Bible have anything to say in regards to a girl’s calling in life? If so, is that calling unique from the calling for boys? Do the majority of professing Christians even ask such questions?
The Mystery is Solved?
In several Bible passages it speaks of a woman’s principle calling as a wife, mother, and home-keeper (see Gen. 2:20-24; Prov. 31:10-31; Eph. 5:22-24; Gen. 3:16, 1 Tim. 5:14, and Titus 2:4-5). These verses paint a clear and beautiful picture of what Christian womanhood should look like, including its inherent responsibilities, its reasoning, and virtues. A pattern is set forth that we are to teach to the next generation of women. Shouldn’t we Christians rejoice at having solved one of modern society’s greatest questions- “What’s a woman to do?”?
Aiming for the Wrong Things
Sadly, the choice of many families has been to train up their daughters for careers outside of the home, instead of training them for successful Christian lives, marriage, motherhood, and household management. From the time they enter the kindergarten classroom they are asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” The question asks what the child wants, and not what the scripture says about a girl’s purpose and calling in life. And sadly, many parents go along with the low standards and expectations set out for their girls by our society and in the school systems. The parents end up aiming for the wrong things.
What Does the Bible Say?
Instead, as Christians, we should be asking “What does the Bible say in terms of training and raising our children?” And if the Bible’s answers and standards are different from the world and the culture around us, then we need to make a conscious decision as to which path we are going to follow. As for our family, and only by the grace of God, we will train our daughters for their calling as Christian (1) wives, (2) mothers, and (3) homemakers, and in that order.
What about Divorce or a Life of Singleness?
Some might ask, but what will your girls do if their husband is unfaithful, and they get divorced? or your girls never get married? Won’t they be at a disadvantage, not having a career, and not being able to support themselves?
For one, we don’t think it’s a wise thing to train your children for failure. The Bible says to train up a child in the way they should go; not, train up your child to prepare for the worst! or, train up your child with a good plan B. Yes, we want our girls to be capable, resourceful, and hardworking, and to even be able to help their husband if for some reason he becomes unable to support his family. But we don’t train our girls with the sole purpose of doing what God originally intended men to do (Gen. 3:17-19).
Secondly, the same God who provided for Naomi and Ruth in the Bible, still provides for single and divorced women of today. He will not forsake His children. As long as we are seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness, He will take care of the rest.
Are we Being Sexist & Old-Fashioned?
Yes, we will probably be classified as being sexist and old-fashioned because of how we are choosing to raise our girls- How dare you think that girls are any different than boys! Do you think they are less valuable than boys? Don’t they deserve the same educational and life opportunities as boys?!
Well, friends, it all comes down to our worldview. Our presuppositions. The ultimate authority and standard by which we live. If I am living in the 21st century, and the standards about life, and morality are dictated by the news and entertainment media, or the public school system, then yes, we would most likely be categorized as sexist- “…characterized by prejudice, stereotypical, and discriminatory feelings and behavior, typically against women.”
But our convictions are based on the sound reasoning of the scriptures, which we believe lays out the best design for men and women’s roles, thus leading to their greatest good. So, no, we are not guilty of prejudice. Likewise we are not being stereotypical by oversimplifying our ideas on womanhood, but rather taking our ideas straight from the Creator of man and woman (Gen. 1:27). And how can training someone in the way that they were created to go be considered unjust and discriminatory? That’s ridiculous! So by definition, are we being sexist? No. Traditional? I hope so.
“Thus says the Lord: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’”Jeremiah 6:16
What We Decided to Do
At about the same time that we began to grow in our conviction to train up our children, we came to the decision to try homeschooling. We felt that this would give us the most time with our children, and would allow us to shape and pattern our children’s training and education in any way we wanted. Now we had to decide how we were going to do it. And because up to this point God had given us only girls, we had to ask ourselves the basic question, how do we prepare our girls for fruitful Christian womanhood?
Questions Lead to More Questions
But that first question lead to even more questions: How should we organize our daily schedules? In which order we should teach them each subjects? What methods would help them remember and apply these things better? Would we simply replicate the environment and methods that we learned while growing up in the school system? And under all of these questions there were more fundamental questions: “Will this be beneficial for them in their future callings? As Christians? As wives? As mothers? What is the target we should be aiming at for our girls?” As you can see, we had a whole lotta questions to answer.
Makin’ it Simple
To simplify things we needed to write down some basic areas that we felt were important for our girls to learn in preparation for future marriage, children-rearing, and managing a household. And even more foundational than this, was the area of their personal Christian walk, and training them to be women of God. When I sat down to come up with some master plan for our girls, it was actually much easier than I thought it was going to be. I simply looked at what my wife was doing, and tried to write it down. Because at the end of the day, all I really wanted is our girls to be like their mother: a God-fearing woman, who supports her husband, loves caring for her children, and manages a home with excellence.
So I Wrote a List
These are some of the main areas I want to train my daughters in:
- As Christians
- Bible Reading in both English and Chinese (We are a bi-lingual family), Family Devotions, Bible Memory, Catechism, Apologetics, Basic Church History and Theology
- Teaching, Evangelism, Christian Hospitality
- As Wives, Mothers, and Homemakers (This area, for good reason, will be delegated to my wife)
- Skills of a Homemaker- Cooking, Cleaning, Organizational Skills
- Childcare- Caring for babies and children, Nutrition, Clothing, Hygiene and Cleanliness
- Home Economics- Shopping Skills, Balancing a Budget, Saving, Investing, Household Accounting, Helping if husband has business, Generosity
- Home Beautification- Furniture Arrangement, Artwork, Sewing & Craftwork, Music & Singing
- Management Skills
- Farming Skills- Animal Husbandry (raising+ butchering), and Gardening (preparation, planting, maintaining, harvesting, cooking, preserving)
- Business Skills- Typing skills, Web development, Photo, Video, and Sound Editing, Online Selling, Selling Crafts or Food in physical marketplaces, bartering, phone skills
- Other Basics
- A Love for Learning
- A Love for Work and Being Productive
- Time Management
- Manners and Etiquette
- Good Communication Skills
- Logic + Analytical Thinking
- Practical, Real-World Math Skills, Abacus board
- History (World and Christian)
- Life Science & Geography
Learning By Example, Learning By Doing
As you can see, a lot of these things are best learned by actually doing them, and not by reading a textbook. The most common method for teaching these things in our home has been to have our children close by our side, 24/7, doing what we are doing. It takes time, and a lot of patience. We talk about what we are doing, show how to do it, do it with them, watch them do it by themselves, and eventually, they can do these things unsupervised.
A Humble Work in Progress
This list is not complete by any means. And we continue to make changes to it as time goes by. This is because (we hope) we are gaining a clearer vision of what is really important for our girls to know and do.
Our efforts are not perfect, and the path we’ve decided to take them down is littered with the potholes of our mistakes. Still, we will not waver from our convictions on how God wants us to train them. May we persevere with all the wisdom and strength that He provides. May we do as Proverbs 3 says, and trust in the Lord with all our heart, and not lean on our own understanding. May we, in all our ways, acknowledge Him, and trust that He will make our paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).
What About Sons?
If the Lord chooses to give us sons someday then we would train them in much the same way as 1,3, & 4 above, but focus less on the homemaker skills listed in #2, and supplement their training with areas relevant to them leading their future homes.
At the end of it all we must come back to the question raised in the title of this blog- “What are we aiming for with our girls?” And follow that up with another question- “What does the Bible say?”
If Christ Jesus is Lord over every area of life, even the education and training of our daughters, then should we not diligently, and faithfully seek to hear and do what He has revealed in His word? As Christians, we are not training our girls for the worldly targets of careers, wealth, fame, or personally happiness. Rather, we aim for the targets that God has established- marriage, motherhood, managing a home, and so much more. And we do this in order to glorify God’s name, to equip our daughters for fruitful lives, and prepare them for an eternity with Him. May our Heavenly Father give us the focus, strength, and steady hands we need to set them off in the right direction.
What are some of things you are trying to teach your daughters? What methods have you found helpful? Please leave a comment below! I’d love to hear from you!
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