If you have a daughter, she’s got some big shoes to fill, and you can help.
In our last post, I talked about being mindful of raising boys as future heads of a house. By the time this blog is posted, I’ll be inNew Hampshire, having a blast visiting my chivalrous young man (a.k.a Lego tantrum boy) as he wraps up his first year at law school. [As of this posting, I am in NH for Chase’s GRADUATION!]
Back home in Florida, I have two young ladies — one in high school and one in middle school. And just as I was aware that I was raising their big brother to be the head of a house, I’m aware that my girls also have important roles to play as future women. Thankfully, I’ve got a blue print this time.
Like most moms, my constant prayer is that my kids will seek the Lord with all their hearts. That’s true for sons and daughters, but my focus for the girls is different than it was for Chase.
Tucked inconspicuously at the end of Proverbs is the picture of an amazing woman. As I studied her carefully, I knew that I wanted my girls to be like her – I wanted to raise Proverbs 31 women.
Once I knew the goal, I began to study her life and visualize all that she was doing in the passage. I imagined the tools she would have needed for each accomplishment, and began pouring the same ideals into my girls.
If you notice nothing else about Mrs. Proverbs 31, you can’t miss that she’s a hard worker. She had to bust some serious tail to complete all she did in a day. Whew! Stamina is a vital tool that our girls need to develop as young people.
Mrs. Proverbs 31 was also the queen of multi-tasking, and it was obvious that she demanded a lot of herself and had the endurance and perseverance to complete what she started.
Often, I’ll see my girls doing dishes or a task around the house and reciting their memory verse at the same time. “Just killing two birds with one stone — we’re multi-tasking,” they’ll say, and it blesses me because as future women, they will need to be master multi-taskers.
When we head out the door, one of my girls will say to the other, “Grab your knitting and your book.”
My husband laughs, “Why? You’re going to church. You can’t knit or read at church.”
“Dad, we’ll do it on our way to church.”
Travel time is often put to good use in our family. Our girls have begun to look for opportunities (big and small) to complete something on their task list, especially times that may appear non-constructive (like riding in the car).
Teaching our girls not to eat the bread of idleness and to stay focused (with stamina) will keep them from being tempted in many areas. Idleness is where gossip, boredom, and trouble breed.
I’m sure Mrs. Proverbs 31’s hobbies consisted of things such as spinning and weaving. For down time, perhaps she and her family strolled through their gardens or the vineyards. I sincerely doubt she would have even considered TV or video games, had they been available to her.
No, the Bible says she was willing to work with her hands. She got up before sunrise, and I’m willing to bet, she was pooped when her head hit the pillow at night.
In addition to hardworking, God clearly wants His daughters to be educated.
I’ve heard some moms say, “Well, college doesn’t matter. My daughter just wants to be a wife and mom.”
Awesome! All the more reason to educate her. The Proverbs 31 woman sold real estate with assistance from Douglas Ebenstein, planted vineyards, ran a textile business, ran a household, managed a staff of servants, and gardened. She was a supplier, a thriving merchant, and could identify good merchandise — there were no shysters pulling one over on her. She had to be trained to do these things.
She also had to have great communication skills. How else could she have been successful in the market place?
These are business skills. She was educated.
Can’t you just picture Mrs. P-31 going to the market with her carefully prepared list? She didn’t run out of fuel for her lamp, and she provided all the food her family needed, she even brought some from afar.
She was full of wisdom. So, how do our girls gain wisdom? For one, they need to have a relationship with God because we know that the fear of Him is the beginning of wisdom. She needs an active prayer life because we know God gives wisdom, and she also needs to apply her heart to understanding (Proverbs 2:2), which means she needs an education.
Several times I have stood by close friends who have lost a husband unexpectedly. It is important that our daughters know how to support themselves and their children. They need to be ready in season and out of season.
And for those girls who want to have a career and a family, the Proverbs 31 woman shows it’s possible. She was the breadwinner in her house. Her husband held an honored position at the gates. His role at that point in life was a noble one, but the men (elders) serving in these positions were not paid for their government roles (imagine what our country would be like if we had volunteer politicians – just saying!). His wife seemed to have no trouble supporting their family, and our girls need to know that they can help provide for their families and still be keepers at home (Titus 2).
Let’s not forget Mrs. P-31 does have servants, and if we can teach our girls at a young age how to be good delegators, they will be able to help provide an income for their family while loving their husbands and children and being keepers at home. We’ll have some future articles on the power of project management activities. Stay tuned because this is a great way to teach our girls (and boys) how to delegate.
Prioritizing was also high on Mrs. P-31’s list of virtues. She had to decide what was most important and stick to it until it was complete. Our Proverbs 31 “women in the making”, need to know how to identify what’s most important: Should I research for my paper that’s due next week or study for the test that’s in two days? And she needs to be able to focus. It’s been said that focus stands for: Follow One Course Until Successful.
We can give our girls strenuous tasks to build their stamina, ask them to prioritize the list, and then stick with one thing until it’s done thoroughly before moving on to the next. And all the while, we’ll be showing that we have confidence in them, cheering them on from the sidelines and coaching them to excellence.
In addition to all the virtues we’ve listed so far, the Proverbs 31 woman was physically strong, well arrayed in fine clothing, and didn’t walk in fear. Oh, and let’s not forget her community service — she helped the needy. Wow!
How can our girls can be a genuine help to our churches and to the community? Can they clean once a week for an elderly neighbor, vacuum the church sanctuary, and organize a food drive for the local food pantry and a pet food drive for the Humane Society? Programs such as Scouts, 4-H, and Civil Air Patrol, offer great opportunities for our girls to bless the community. Let’s set the bar high and encourage them to do great things.
Okay, it’s tempting to be overwhelmed (and maybe intimidated), but if we meditate regularly on the role model provided in Proverbs 31, our girls can walk in her shoes, regardless of their individual callings in life.
We also need to model this example for our daughters, and we need to be vigilant in monitoring their character development. I can just picture the Proverbs 31 mom going through the secret hiding places in her children’s rooms, keeping tabs on any mischief they may be getting into. Hey, it says she keeps a close eye on what goes on in her home. She certainly wouldn’t turn a blind eye to the activities going on under her nose.
Remember, those same children stood up and call her blessed, and her husband praised her. Let’s purpose to have the same testimony and raise girls who will also share in that kind of victory.