Highlands Blog

How to Raise Girls Who Are Neither Feminists nor Doormats

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Posted in Highlands Blog under Family, Parenting, Women

Mother and girl together with glasses on.

A Girl’s Life

Your daughter is being poisoned by toxic messages concerning her womanhood, her value, and her place in the world. She didn’t ask to be born into a battleground, but she most certainly has been. She is consuming a contradictory hash of feminist propaganda and caricatured notions of biblical womanhood that is likely to produce either anger or emotional desperation that will leave her malnourished. As she grows, she will be confronted by questions and frustrations within her culture and the church which will require biblical rather than politically correct or cliché answers.

When it comes to the sexes, we as Christians have a tendency to either ape the world’s gender-confused ideas, or pine for the good old days when moms like June Cleaver lived on every block. Neither of these mindsets are going to help your daughter steel herself for the conflict she will surely find while living the life of a biblical woman or give her the courageous heart that she needs to live a God-honoring life.

Surprising Women

If we page through our Bibles seeking God-fearing women, we see some things that are jarring to our conservative sensibilities. Jael put a tent peg through a bad guy’s head to the glory of God. The Hebrew midwives refused to obey the ruling authority when told to kill male Hebrew babies, and proceeded to lie about it later. God rewarded their dissembling. When Israelite families were rebuilding the wall and gates around Jerusalem, Nehemiah names men who added their muscle to the effort, and then comes to, “Shallum the son of Hallohesh, ruler of half the district of Jerusalem, repaired, he and his daughters” (Nehemiah 3:12). There were nobles who “put not their necks to the work of their Lord,” but Shallum and his daughters rolled up their sleeves and got busy. In Acts we find that Priscilla not only partnered with her husband Aquila in his trade of tentmaking, she assisted in the ministry as well, displaying the extent of her understanding and her personal investment in their mutual work for the kingdom.

These women had something that kept their courage strong and their devotion true when they were called on to do the work the Lord gave them, no matter what it was. They were collaborators with their families and the people of God in the building of the kingdom. They invested their labor in things of eternal importance and earthly usefulness.

Though it is likely that these ladies spent many days managing things that would fit more comfortably in the category of housework, they didn’t resist “putting their necks to the work of their Lord” when called on at pivotal moments—not even when it seemed like a dirty “boy job.” They had skill and understanding and gumption. This is not feminism creeping in; this the faithfulness of women who know who their God is and are trusting Him instead of their circumstances. Instead of pursuing lives that were merely self-fulfilling, they threw their lot in with their families and God’s people to live kingdom-fulfilling lives.

Raising Girls for Real Life

Our circumstances are fickle. As we grow up we sustain disappointment: college wasn’t the sure thing to set us on track to a happy life that everyone claimed it would be; Prince Charming was poorer, or shorter, or later, than anticipated; that dream job didn’t just drop into our lap; and no matter how often we do the dishes, someone still comes around with a dirty spoon just after we drain the last of the suds from the sink.

We find that life is unpredictable and neither feminist narcissism nor nostalgic grasping will prepare girls for the reality of their world now or in the future. When girls are persistently told that the primary value of all their work lies in its ability to prepare them for marriage or the ability to give them independence and autonomy, they are taught that their purpose and value are circumstance dependent. People of faith do not garner strength from their circumstances, but from their trust in the God who is Lord over their circumstances.

Daughters with Vision

You can lift your daughter’s vision to a higher hope which gives her context for the whole of her life. A hope which reminds her that her labor matters because Christ has overcome the world and everything she does in obedience to Him is making His victorious kingdom visible on earth. Glory be to Him!

The work we have is hard, but it doesn’t have to be done alone. This is the beauty of family! Join your talents and personalities, your time and your labor, find things to work at together. Talk about your work, even the mundane activities, with language that speaks of your cooperation as a family and the eternal value of work done unto the Lord. Involve your daughters, for they have much to contribute.

My family is, I suppose, somewhat unusual. Our home has always been a place of industry. We have a family business which requires all of us pitching in at times. My father has also always had a vision for doing things of eternal importance in this world, and so we work at various ministry projects together. It was in assisting him with his first book that I found I had a talent for design, and pursued further education. This in turn has led me to many other opportunities for using those skills in work, family projects, and in service to the church. Over the years, as our skills have grown, we have found that there is no shortage of opportunities for “putting our necks to the work of the Lord.”

What’s the Solution?

The antivenom for the poison of feminist thinking is to be about the business of building the kingdom of Christ—you and your children. Involve them in the work, introduce them to the battlefields of our culture while they still have your protection, give them responsibilities that will require commitment.

The impact of the Christian family can and should be felt worldwide. This is a mammoth responsibility which leaves no room for an every-man-for-himself mentality. When we look at the members of our households, we should see co-laborers in the unified mission of glorifying God and enjoying Him forever.

I can’t tell you exactly where to start—your family will have different personalities, talents, and opportunities than mine does. The point here isn’t for me to map out a specific plan for your family, but only to remind you that if you have a daughter who you want to be a woman with a strong heart and courageous soul like Jael, Priscilla, and the daughters of Shallum, she needs to be invested in things greater than waiting for a husband or grasping after autonomous self-fulfillment.

Each day is not preparation for a future we’ve selected for ourselves, but our daily contribution to the kingdom of God, and preparation for the days and events which come from the hand of the One who knows the future. The icing to living in this kingdom-minded manner is that if you raise your daughter to be a Priscilla, well then, her fulfillment will be in Christ rather than herself—blessed will be the man who binds his life to hers, and blessed will be your household as long as she calls it home.


Are you fostering a kingdom-mindset in your girls? We would love to hear from you in the comments below.

  • Ralph-Uwe Scherer

    “…and blessed will be your household as long as she calls it home.”

    I would rather be not cursed and have my daughter call my household anything she wants.

    • Not sure I understand your meaning, care to elaborate?

      • Ralph-Uwe Scherer

        I simply mean that I don’t think Jesus was about conditional love, i.e., your household will be blessed so long as (insert conditional phrase here). I blame Paul for most of those red words in the N.T.

        I am also a firm believer in teaching children how to think and not what to think, but I could be wrong. 🙂

      • Well, I’m not sure where you are seeing me say you should love your daughters conditionally. I’m not saying our salvation depends on our good works, that is entirely by grace through faith alone.

        Our actions, however, do bring blessing and cursing from God. We see this often in Scripture (ie. Deuteronomy 28 talks of blessings and cursings based on obedience/disobedience, Romans 1 talks about the wrath of God being revealed against those who suppress the truth in unrighteousness). Our behavior isn’t what makes us right with God, but our behavior does matter.

        If we are going to learn “how to think” we need some parameters beyond our own thoughts and feelings to teach us how to think, otherwise we become futile in our thinking just like the unrighteous people in Romans 1. As God’s word, the Bible is that guide.

        Jesus Himself declared that there would be many who would say to Him “Lord, Lord…” and He would say “I never knew you; Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:21-23). Jesus didn’t have an accepting attitude toward lawlessness.

        Obedience to God is the fruit of God’s work in our lives. We should expect to see more of it in our own lives if we are following Christ. Teaching children how to serve God isn’t unloving, it is teaching them how to live in reality. God really does exist, and He calls us to trust and obey Him.

      • Ralph-Uwe Scherer

        That’s one way of looking at it and far be it from me to dissuade you of your belief(s). I say live and let live.

        Whether Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, atheist, agnostic …. whatever you believe or don’t believe is cool by me. I guess i just have a soft spot for children having their imaginations being given over to “parameters” at all.

        I can elaborate more on this later. I need to run out for a few hours but I do know that doubts tend to unite and beliefs tend to divide. 🙂

      • As a Christian, I don’t have the luxury of not caring about the eternal state of the people around me. We are supposed to love our neighbors as ourselves. That love extends to speaking the truth in hopes that those who can hear will turn away from serving themselves, repent of the lawless deeds they’ve done before God, and trust in Christ.

        Our imaginations can sink very low like the people in Genesis 6:5 “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” It was at that time God brought judgment with the flood.

        We need the work of Christ in our lives to renew our thoughts and imaginations.

      • Ralph-Uwe Scherer

        I envy the fact that you are so sure about the eternal state of those around you.

        I do think the Christian view of heaven and hell are an incredible minority when it comes to scripture, however.

        Solomon himself, if he wrote Ecclesiastes, probably did not believe in the eternal afterlife:

        Ecclesiastes 3: “19 For the fate of humans and the fate of animals is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and humans have no advantage over the animals; for all is vanity. 20 All go to one place; all are from the dust, and all turn to dust again. 21 Who knows whether the human spirit goes upward and the spirit of animals goes downward to the earth?”

        See also Mark 12, verses 18-27 for what Jesus had to say on the subject.

      • Ralph, I am not the determiner of the fates of those around me, and I cannot know with complete certainty the state of a person’s heart and their standing before God. I can only look at what a person professes, and their actions. Our words and actions say something about us and what we truly believe.

        The book of Ecclesiastes gives us a look at the futility of a life lived in vanity with disregard for God. Without God, everything is meaningless, and our lives are no different from the animals. Solomon tells us his purpose for taking the reader on this tour of vain and fruitless living in the conclusion to the book:

        “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments:for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.”–Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

        In Mark 12 Jesus affirms that there is a resurrection and an afterlife, reminding his listeners that at the burning bush God spoke to Moses and called Himself ‘the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob’ (the bodies of these men were dead when God spoke this to Moses). Jesus asserts that when God said this He was not calling Himself the God of dead men, but the God of the living. Though their bodies died, they still live. Beyond this there are many times Jesus speaks of hell (ie. Mark 9:43ff)

        Ralph, it really doesn’t matter what I think of your eternal state. What matters is your standing before God. It is Him you will face one day and He will judge every secret thing, whether it be good or evil. Are you ready for that?

      • Ralph-Uwe Scherer

        Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it seems to me that you are not the determiner of fates of those around you in the first paragraph and the arbiter (through your belief in a Christian g*d) of fates in the last paragraph.

        I don’t think the peace that passes understanding requires a g*d but that’s just me.

        Even if there were a heaven or hell in my future after I pass at least I have comfort in knowing that in either case I will be in the presence of the Lamb and the holy angels. –Rev. 14:10

        Tell Laurence I am glad ya’ll finally added Disqus to the web site. Now Matthew 12:36 is actually possible. 🙂

        PS. My email address is dontcry@myfuneral.com and my granddaughters are named Eva, Jerusha and Jael. How cool is that? Along with 2 grandsons, my genes have jumped ship so my purpose here on earth has already been fulfilled at least five-fold. (I don’t mind being prayed for.)

        Peace.

      • I’ll give Laurence your message.

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