My amazing wife, Ashley and I are days away from having our fourth son. We are SO excited to welcome him into our family and we're humbled by the responsibility God has entrusted to us to raise four young men.
That got me thinking, because even if we never have a baby girl, I'm still looking forward to the day when we'll welcome "daughters-in-love" into our family as our sons marry. We're already praying God's guidance and protection for the girls who will grow up and marry our sons someday.
Below are the principles I believe every daughter needs to know. I'm clearly not an expert on raising girls, but I hope these words provide some encouragement and practical perspective. These are the lessons I pray my future daughters-in-law are learning in their homes.
If you're the parent of a daughter, please make sure she knows these things.
(In no particular order):
1. You are loved
The world will try to tell you that your worth comes from your performance or your appearance, but your worth is limitless and unconditional. You are loved because of who you are (our daughter and God's daughter). Let love give you the strength and confidence to become all you were created to be.
2. You are beautiful
There are going to be days you don't feel beautiful, and there will be days you look in the mirror and don't like what you see, but if you could see yourself through the eyes of those who love you, you'd see yourself as the beautiful masterpiece you are.
3. Respect yourself
You're going to want to get boys' attention, and you might feel tempted to compromise your standards in the process, but don't do it! Don't disrespect yourself or allow anyone to disrespect you. Carry yourself as a lady at all times. If a boy won't respect you, you don't want his attention anyways!
4. Don't be a "mean girl"
Being mean and elitist may give you an illusion of power and control in a chaotic world, but it's a dead end. Choose kindness and grace instead. Pursue purpose over popularity and value character over charisma. Any success in life that comes at the expense of your integrity isn't real success.
5. Remember that love is a commitment, not just a feeling
There is much more to love that make-believe fairy tales. Feelings are fickle, so if you base your relationships entirely on your feelings, you'll end up with a broken heart (probably many times over). Instead, base your relationships on your convictions and your commitments and expect nothing less than wholehearted commitment, respect and love from your future husband. And don't date anyone who wouldn't make a good husband.
6. Be yourself
The world may tempt you to put on a lot of masks or play a lot of different roles, but always be yourself. God made you to be who you are and He has never made a mistake! Don't change who you are for the approval of others. Those who truly love you will bring out the best in you, but they'll never try to change who you are.
7. We're here for you no matter what!
Whether you're on top of the world or feeling down in the dumps, we will always be here for you. No matter where you go or what you do in life, we'll always be your biggest fans.
This article was originally published on Patheos. It has been republished here with permission.