Keeping Girls Safe in a Twisted World – Thoughts for Parents
I have daughters. If you are reading this, it might be because you have daughters too. Fathers and mothers of daughters have concerns for them in this day and age where knowledge and ethics and morals are transient and unstable; much the same I would venture to say for parents of boys-they too can get themselves into a world of trouble, quite unsuspectingly.
The fear, trouble and pain, is in one word; sex. It’s her getting mixed up with the wrong crowd (and with the wrong guy) and being taken advantage of. To a Dharamshala call girls point this is a rational fear, and it should evoke thought and action in parents-positive and loving action that will seek to protect her.
The profiled author below, Alice Ogden Bellis,  speaks to her girls from the context of Lady Wisdom’s cry in Proverbs 7, the passage well known for exhorting young males not to fall for the persuasiveness of the adulteress (7: 21-23). A loving mother’s words don’t come any better so i quote her directly:
“You know that I love you more than anything else in the world. I want you to be happy, but as you know, life is tough, life is real. It takes more than being an excellent student, world-class athlete or prizewinning dancer or musician to lead a happy life… it takes more to be happy. And so i ask you to try to discover what is true and just and wise…
Make truth your lover, justice your muse. Truth will stand by you if you lose your friends or your job because you refused to do something unethical. Justice will encircle you with warmth more real than a fire when people shun you for standing up for the dignity and worth of every person regardless of their personal characteristics, or when you blow the whistle on wrongdoing…
Truth and justice are elusive. They present themselves to those who seek them persistently and seriously. They hide from everyone else. Do not be misled by handsome faces, by beautiful bodies, by the right clothes, or the correct manners. Especially do not be deluded by flatterers who tell you that you are beautiful (of course you are! ) and then ask you to give them your body and your soul. The pretty boys and jocks will beckon to you. They will ask you to go out. Soon, they will ask you to bed. It’s a dangerous world. Their ways lead to death, not just moral death, but physical death as well. Drugs and alcohol and cigarettes are some of the ways of those who want to show off, but inside are little boys. They want easy sex with no responsibility. Do not cavort with folly. Do not consort with the frivolous. Rather spend your time with men of substance and worth. A good man is hard to find, but is more precious than jewels. “
It takes great courage for girls to “live” this advice, but it is essential as parents of girls that we urge them to do it. Peer pressure is so amazingly powerful, even as adults we struggle to contend with it. It has to be acknowledged and discussed. The truth is difficult to decipher and we’re often deceived. Yet girls can be trained to listen to their instincts and take heed of them; it’s a natural process if we attend to it so we must facilitate it through discussion and consistent role modelling.
It sounds like fearful talk, and it is; the truth is fear borne from love is the right sort of Godly fear that can motivate and inspire us in our parenting. It is perception and awareness and thought and action all rolled into one. Fear of the lord is the beginning of wisdom.
We also need to have the faith that we’ve laid the foundations. Done the wrong way, the protection we are discussing can be perceived as interference and control, and we can easily drive our girls away-that is not the way of love; that’s the way of unrestrained fear. Faith is our friend. Lay the foundation, then have the faith to trust your daughter-faith does not come easily; it requires trust, and that requires courage. Pray for wisdom to do the right, loving thing.
What relationship have you got with your daughter? Are you her friend and trusted ally? Work on it. As fathers what is our role? We must be a positive and loving influence in her life. What she sees in you is the type of behaviour she’ll come to expect from her future husband/partner.
Sex is part of the problem. Acceptance is another part of the problem. If we can call our girls toward living wisely (i. e. truth and justice as Bellis suggests) we can counteract the forces of sex and need for acceptance. Most, if not all, mothers would know that sex is not a natural act for girls unless it comes at the right time, in the right circumstances and is ‘carried out’ with a gentle, caring, and (loving) committed male. Otherwise, it can be a psychologically damaging experience, which can set up a series of problems for the future. These problems will affect relationships-most of all potentially the parent-child relationship. Now, there’s an incentive!