Last week I shared the spiritual goals I have for my girls as I seek to rear them for God. I also desire to see them develop emotionally into mature Christian young women. Here are some characteristics that I seek to instill in their lives from a young age.
- Self-confidence. I hesitate to use the word self-esteem, but the idea here is that they are confident in their abilities and believe that, with God’s help, they can accomplish whatever task is set before them. I believe they can maintain a spirit of humility while still reaching for their dreams.
- Compassion. Included in this would be consideration of others through thoughtful acts and a giving heart. As Christians young ladies, I hope that they will see people around them who are in need and do what is in their power to help. My dad is a wonderful example of compassion; he feels for others when they’re hurting and seeks to meet their needs.
- Peace. Only God can give true peace, so I desire to model for my girls the behavior of taking all fears and troubles to God and leaving them with him.
- Self-control. This one is certainly a life-long struggle, but being able to control your emotions is an important part of growing and maturing in Christ.
- Joy. While I believe my girls already have and will continue to experience lots of happiness, my goal would be for them to have the joy of Christ throughout their lives, regardless of circumstances.
Practically speaking, here are a few ideas I seek to use to reinforce these principles in their lives.
- Encourage them in their pursuits. Be an enthusiastic supporter and cheerleader at their games, concerts, etc. Help them find those activities in which they can excel and provide opportunities for them to flourish.
- Develop an awareness of others and their needs. Look for opportunities to reach out to others through our church or community. This can be small things like sending a card of encouragement to someone who is sick, taking a meal to a friend in need, supporting by prayer and finances a missionary on a foreign field.
- When one of the girls comes to me with a problem, remembering to pray about it with them as a first resort, not a last. Some months ago, one daughter was talking to me about a difficulty she was having with a friend. We were riding along in the car and I was waxing eloquent about the best way to deal with the issue, when my other daughter piped up, “Why don’t you just pray about it?” Out of the mouths of babes…..That should have been my first response as well!
- One of my dad’s favorite sayings is “Attitude is everything.” I try to verbally reinforce positive attitudes and find an appropriate punishment for negative ones. For example, if one of the girls displays a negative attitude when asked to do a certain chore, she gets an additional chore to do as well.
- Creating an attitude of gratitude. One thing that stimulates joy is looking around and being thankful for all that we have. When we pray at bedtime each night, I always have the girls begin their prayer by thanking God for something.
As I mentioned last week, the most effective, yet difficult, way to teach these principles is to live them in front of my daughters. I can only do this by submitting myself to the Holy Spirit and allowing Him to work in my life.
If you’d like to receive new posts from Girls to Grow by e-mail, sign up here.