Moments after giving birth to my first precious daughter, the complete joy that I felt was slightly tarnished as I considered that in roughly eighteen brief years I would have to say goodbye to my little bundle of joy.
The tender years of nurturing and cherishing our children go by so quickly. In just a blink, they're grown up and ready to head out into the world. We can't possibly prepare them for everything, but there are 11 essential things we need to teach our daughters before they leave the nest.
1. Teach her that she has inherited all the strengths of her birth family
Whether she owns the family nose or claims her grandfather's natural ability to make friends; whether her childhood was blissful or challenging; whatever her genetics and life experiences have been - these things have made her the strong young woman she is today.
2. Teach her to surround herself with beauty and goodness and all things that uplift her and fill her heart with joy
Council her to leave no room in her life for darkness. Life is too precious for that.
3. Teach her that her mother will always be there to listen
Be the kind of woman that she will want to emulate, and create the type of relationship where she will have confidence to share her heart with you. Let her know that you and her father will always be her biggest fans.
4. Teach her that she is beautiful on the inside
She'll want to know how to enhance her eyes with makeup and style her hair in several becoming ways, but as long as she knows she's truly beautiful on the inside, she'll make it through the bad perms, stretch marks and whatever else life brings her.
5. Teach her to find genuine people to associate with
The kind of people who have purpose in their lives and who avoid psychologically draining drama. In this day and age of technology, reciprocal relationships are becoming more difficult to develop and are all the more treasured because of it.
6. Teach her to make learning a lifetime gift to herself
Encourage her to pursue further education when possible, but to always have a desire to strengthen her gifts and talents. Whether it be learning how to make bread or learning how to bring peace to the world, an openness to improving her mind will be of great benefit.
7. Teach her to develop a deep relationship with God
This will give her a well-rounded perspective, inner confidence and peace of mind. She will then have the maturity to look outside herself, develop empathy and be of service to others which will bring her great measures of joy and satisfaction.
8. Teach her to follow her heart and to trust in it
Help her to discover the purposes of her life and instill in her the courage to nurture and fulfill them. Do whatever you can to improve the odds of her success so that she can accomplish what she came to the earth to do.
9. Teach her that she never needs to settle for any man
She has the right to marry someone who will truly love, honor and cherish her and who will make a genuine commitment with her. It may take a while to find the right one to marry and that's okay! A contented marriage brings one of the greatest joys in life and is the best gift any woman can give to her daughter. It should be sought with great consideration.
10. Teach her that the girl friends she acumulates through the years will always play a big part in her life, and will sometimes be even more valued than family ... so advise her to make very good friends.
Their connections will greatly influence her and bring her strength as she journeys through the different phases of life.
11. Teach her to love herself
When she feels loved and worthy of love, she will have the power to skip by the devastating roadblocks of crippling addiction, wasteful self-loathing and defeating behavior. When she feels loved, she will be able to love with her whole heart.
As she heads out that door, eager to embrace the life she's always dreamed of, we can make sure that she can sew a button on a shirt and hold her own with an obnoxious salesperson, but our chief duty - or shall I say, our chief privilege - is to give her wings that are strong enough to hold her up under any wind velocity. And then ... let her fly.