(Tim, w/thanks to the godly mothers, daughters, and wives of Church of the Good Shepherd who obey Titus 2) This is the second installment in a series of e-mails I received from several women of our congregation advising me what to say on the subject of raising daughters to a class on childrearing held here at CGS.
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Girls need both a mother and a father actively involved in their lives. Dads are immensely important in raising young women. A young woman ought to feel so securely loved by her father that she does not need to prematurely seek the affection of a boy. This means dad needs to give his daughter plenty of time, attention, and hugs. From how her dad treats her mom, she will learn what to expect from her future husband. If the daughter learns to respectfully submit to her father's care and instruction, it will be easier for her to lovingly, respectfully submit to her future husband.
Moms teach daughters how to be godly women by example and by talking through all kinds of situations and issues. Talking to your daughters is imperative. Sometimes this gets difficult if you have one who becomes private in her teen years, so then you need to really work hard at maintaining and growing your relationship. This will pay off as your daughters grow! How thankful we are that our daughters talk to us about all kinds of things.
The pastor (my husband) and I grew up with often said that the best thing parents can do for their children is to love one another. I grew up in a home where this was true, and my husband did not. We would echo the pastor's words on this. When children know their parents are completely committed to one another, this gives immense security to the children. When daughters see their dad loving their mom sacrificially (as Christ loves the church), then she will not be satisfied with anything less than this for herself.
Teach your daughters the practical skills of how to run a home. Start from the time she can walk, when she is much more trouble than help. (Also you need to teach boys to work, and this will include around the house. The chores we give boys and girls overlap, but we also have areas of difference for sons and daughters.) By the time your daughter is finished with high school, she should be able to do everything necessary to run a home - cook, clean, do laundry, know how to care for children, organize meals, shop economically, etc. Much of this instruction CAN happen naturally as you include your daughters in your daily work and spend significant amounts of time together. Moms who do all the work themselves are doing their daughters a serious disfavor and causing them to be handicapped. (I grew up very spoiled in this regard, and had to learn how to do many of the mundane household tasks after my husband and I were married.)
**I'm thinking of the passage from Laddie (Gene Stratton Porter) we discussed recently where the mother goes away for a month before each daughter gets married, leaving the daughter to run the large household on her own as practice.