I wrote the very first part of this post quite some time ago here. Back then, I had a small idea about topics where I thought I might like to speak into our daughter’s life over time, just layering in things here and there. When I wrote that post, our oldest daughter was ten and a half. Now she is turning thirteen in a few weeks, and I can see she is really within that wonderful beginning of the realm of thinking; a time of the beginnings of cause and effect in a thoughtful, mindful way; a time of moving from feelings into “what-choices-do-I-make-off-of-these-feelings”; a time of snippets of moving from love into duty, with glimpses of ideals and values that I suspect will blossom so much more in the later teenaged years.
When my daughter was younger, it was all about modeling, and also the doing work of the household and garden. Now that she is older, it is still about all of those things, but we can start to have some thoughtful discussions and reading. This was the little list I started out with in that old post, and I wanted to share with you all some of the resources I have found to address these topics. (Some of these are Christian, because I am Christian, but many of them are also easily adaptable to many belief systems).
- The Proverbs 31 Woman – a model for us as women. What Resources I Have Found: the Christian company/blog “Doorposts” just did a thirty-day study on this with suggestions for children.
- The Foundation of Christian Life – What Resources I Have Found: well, much of this is in the doing and being involved in parish life, but I have also pulled selected articles from Orthodox and Anglican websites. One thing that I am sure to address this year (seventh grade) in more words is the journey of the Christian life and what this entails.
- Marriage and Children –What Resources I Have Found: the Antiochian Orthodox Church has a booklet on “Purity, Virginity, and Chastity” (which might not be what some are looking for), but what I admire is that it starts with the idea of friendship, the different layers of friendship and how a spouse becomes our most intimate friend. So, this year we are delving into friendship – what makes a wonderful friend and how to be a friend. The theme of the Vacation Bible School in our parish was from Psalm 139: that we are wonderfully and marvelously made, and how this applies to all people. So, this idea of being in the image of God, reaching out and making and being a friend, kindness and the levels of friendship are going to really inform much of our discussion this year.
- Serving Others, (and also boundaries in serving others) – my seventh grader was old enough to serve as a helper during Vacation Bible School. However, we also spend a lot of time serving within our family. How do we serve our elders, how do we serve our brothers and sisters? So, this one is more in the doing than in discussion. I am starting to delve into some childhood development resources with my teen regarding the ages one through five since that is a group she assists with. One small booklet that can be helpful and not too taxing to read is Elizabeth Crary’s booklet entitled “Parenting Tips & Tools: Understanding Young Children” here.
- Respecting yourself and others – I think the basis of this is found in what I mentioned above regarding marriage and children.
- How to Communicate/Conflict Resolution – “Sacred Listening” is one tool I am looking at and seeing if that would be feasible for a teen. This is a lot of modeling. Am I being a good listener? You can see more about the top ten ways to be a powerful listener at the Listening Center.
- Health – whole foods and how to prepare, drug use and abuse, homeopathy and chiropractic, exercise, the role of sleep, care before, during and after the menstrual cycle, the importance of rhythm for health, fertility. Resources I Have Found: the Weston A.Price Foundation has many articles; also the “doing” of making bone broths, working with herbs, using homeopathy and chiropractic care.
- Money – budgeting, how to handle money . This comes with opportunity to handle money as well, so this is a doing activity. My daughter liked “The Christian Girls’ Guide to Money” by Rebecca Totilo.
- Modesty in dress; the Christian idea of beauty, the difference between inward and outward beauty
- Designing a wardrobe, natural skin care and body care. I like “Awakening Beauty the Dr. Hauschka Way” as a resource for rhythm for beauty that encompasses the mind, body and spirit and as a resource for many wonderful homemade skin care products.
I wrote back in 2010: “You might wonder how to put together a list like this that reflects your family’s values. I stated with the catechism of our faith, my own beliefs as influenced by La Leche League and attachment parenting and childhood development, the resource “Polished Cornerstones”, a Christian publication for mothers and daughters available through Doorposts, and the book “5 Conversation You Must Have With Your Daughter” by Vicki Courtney. This list is not complete nor reflective of everything we think, but it is a good place to start. Perhaps you can design your own thoughts for what wisdom you would like to impart to your older children.”
I still hope that for you all. Such a wonderful and lovely thing to ponder about how we intentionally approach our older children…..
Blessings and love,