I was watching my almost two-year old son the other day as he crashed his cars together and jumped off of every surface he could climb onto. And in my thinking, as long as he wasn't getting hurt or hurting somebody, it was good for him. It was teaching him skills he needs as a rough and tumble little boy and helping him grow.
However, with my daughters, I have fought tooth and nail when they get all riled up about makeup and fashion and planning their weddings. (Did I mention they are 7 and 5 yrs old?)
And my 4 yr old can't function without a dress on. Which I actually think is
just fine because she feels more modest and feminine in a dress and views wearing pants only
(she will wear them under a dress) as "boy clothes". So I don't mind
encouraging that view point.
I believe in being tidy and wearing pleasant clothing but I don't wear makeup unless I go out (like on a date) and I try to not be in fashion if I can help it. Who wants to wear the same thing everyone else is?
When I was a girl, all I wanted was a ranch with some Herefords and to ride my horse. I played outside in the gravel piles pretending I was in some sort of survival situation. The one time I remember playing with my doll was when I was pretending to be a pioneer woman trying to cross the prairies with my child.
So all of this frill annoys me. I try to discourage it. I don't like that they are so focused on appearance. I limit television shows and toys that focus too much on how they look or on petty friendship issues. And I think I'm right in doing these things. But at the same time, shouldn't I be encouraging the feminine side of these lovely little creatures? Didn't God create us to be strong yet compassionate? Beautiful yet courageous?
So where in the world do you find balance? I would love to hear your suggestions. I started going through Preparing to Be a Help Meet by Debi Pearl with my 7 yr old. It's written for an older group so I skip some areas. But it's great for starting good conversations with her. I figure if she is going to play "wedding" with all of her toys, even the horses, she may as well have a healthy perspective of marriage.
I am also trying to include all of the kids in daily chores. To find joy in work well done, in caring for others. And to find contentment in where they are now, knowing that more stuff doesn't necessarily mean happiness. I try to convey that we love them for who they are, not what they can do or what they look like.
It's just so hard to encourage femininity in our culture when it's portrayed in such a negative way in media and when I myself am sort of oblivious to the desires of these little girls for all things girly.
I really would love to hear how you approach this with your family. How do we encourage femininity without encouraging self-centeredness?
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