I’m what you might call a Trans-Feminist, in the C.S. Lewis-style use of the word “Trans”. (Who can forget his experiments with the word in the person of Ransom in his second book of his celebrated space trilogy, Perelandra?)
What I mean is, I was a feminist in the 70’s, but it meant something different to me than it does today. I was a baby liberal, and a democrat who was too young to vote. I was a social justice warrior when I was young — very young — but for me that meant marching for the right to life for unborn babies. I still believe in these things, and I have spent my life breaking down many man-made barriers in my search for enduring truth.
But as I have grown, raised a family, suffered many familial deaths and separations, watched healing, died myself and met Jesus Christ/Yeshua Ha Moshiach, and finally come to understand who I really have become, I realize I am a truly feminine woman who loves my freedom in Christ.
I wish my mother had taught me what I needed to know when I was little, instead of having to learn the really hard way (but more about that later, after we get to know each other a bit). By vowing to myself not to be like her, I tried so hard to be her opposite that I over-corrected in the raising of my children, and found it hard to stand up to the hard tasks I have later come to understand needed to be done. I wanted to be a friend to my growing children, but friendship is for after they have grown and gone; a buddy and a pal is not what a child needs from her mother — she needs a role model, an instructor, and someone devoted to her growth and development in love, strength and unremitting determination to raise a successful, strong woman who can launch into the world in faith without looking around for someone to live with or marry before she even knows herself.
I think when we train our daughters to be Disney princesses, we do them a huge disservice. We should teach them how to be daughters of the King of Kings instead. Work and discipline are really good for our daughters — respect, humility, serving God by serving others… Proverbs 31 gives some good information on what this kind of woman looks like.
What I believe is that our daughters (and our sons, but this is for the girls now) need to learn love, obedience, charity, discipline, self-sacrifice, kindness, gentleness, strength, and every other character trait that one would expect to find in a real princess or queen — not the pampered, spoiled, silliness that primps in front of a mirror and daydreams all day about boys, or knights in armor coming to save them from the boredom of their lives.
Don’t think we need to learn obedience? I realize that the two terms are mutually exclusive, but have you ever had (or been) a selfish “lover”? It’s awful, isn’t it? Love is obedient to its lover, it gives from strength, and obeys with joy. I Corinthians 13 shows the healthy ways to love one another, and these ways are perfect for erotic love, brotherly love, or agape (unconditional love of God toward us, or His love through us toward others).
Daytime Dramas “Soap Operas” used to fuel the imaginations of women who felt stunted by staying at home with their children. Back in the old days of soap operas, it was thought daring to talk about divorce, cheating, chasing men, trapping men by getting pregnant, and a whole plethora of ugliness that was somehow desirable to women because it was at least different than the lives they led.
Then came the night time sagas, like Dallas. Now the women were encouraging their men to watch their “programs” with them. Watching couples cheat, fight, lie, steal and use each other for stepping stones was fuel for many a fight, and not a few divorces. Dallas, like all other evolving dramas, instilled the ideas that it was important for a woman to do her best to be enticing, glamorous, lovely, sexy, powerful, and in charge of a household staff to do the menial tasks so her nails are lovely and her hands show no sign of having touched dishwater.
Today, reality TV is unwatchable in my opinion. The few times I tried several years back (I no longer watch television — in fact I haven’t done so intentionally for over ten years), I couldn’t believe how far down the tubes (pardon the old-school pun) our society has gone. I can remember the days of Howdy Doody, Hobo Kelly, Captain Kangaroo, Romper Room and Saturday Cartoons.
I can also remember when I began to see magic, aliens, and witchcraft emerge in the cartoons, and once these were firmly entrenched, then came the Disney Channel for children.
Now the children were smart and the parents were stupid or immature, and it was tolerable for children to sass and yell and outright disobey their parents. The laugh tracks in the background let us know that it was all just in fun, and we shouldn’t take it seriously.
Many parents ignored what the electronic babysitter was teaching, and their daughters learned that they shouldn’t listen to their overanxious mothers, but they should go ahead and do what they had decided they wanted to do, even in secret if they felt it was necessary, because they were enlightened children and their parents were behind the times.
Our Creator, Adonai Elohim, Jehovah God, said for children to honor their parents so that it would be well with them and they would live long on the earth. It’s an IF/THEN statement — a condition, or a covenant, if you will. You do this, He will do that.
It’s not a complete picture. But it’s a vignette, if you will, of what has brought us a generation of idol-worshipping, self-indulgent, entitled, angry and often greatly troubled daughters who want to imitate Beyoncé, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Mimi, and Madonna. The girls want to hook up with JayZ and 50 Cent, Eminem, and any other guy that wants his women dripping with jewelry and the spirit of Jezebel.
Mothers, you have a sacred trust in your daughter(s), and you have the choice to influence them yourself according to your values, morals, faith and anything else you hold dear. How do you want your daughters to be when they become adults and leave the nest? How do you want them to see you when they grow up? As the permissive “friend” who couldn’t say no? As the oppressive fiend who didn’t give a damn as long as you didn’t have to bother with a troublesome kid while you indulged yourself in whatever made you feel good? As something undefinable in between?
Are you unsure just exactly what you are doing?
You are not alone. There are real answers for tough questions. I can share some of them, since I’ve made most of the mistakes a mother could make with my own children. *sad smile* I had to learn the hard way, because my mother savaged me and saw me as a threat, and competition for my father’s attention.
But you don’t have to learn the hard way if you are willing to listen to other, older mothers and grandmothers who have learned from their mistakes and can help point you in the right direction.
There is much wisdom to be gained by reading the Proverbs, the Gospels, and the epistles to Timothy, the Corinthians, and the book of James.
Mothers, I challenge you in love, as one who has had to reevaluate my parenting methods: instead of allowing your daughters to model themselves on “Queen Bey” and her ilk, teach your daughters to be true princesses and queens of the Kingdom of God. Your daughters are your most precious gifts, entrusted to you by God.
Image copyright Walt Disney —fair use for educational and transformative purpose according to copyright laws.