Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Protect her

I look at Shira, peacefully sleeping in her bed, and my heart overflows with love. And I think about everything I need to do in order to protect her, and even more importantly, teach her to protect herself, in the jungle called modern society.

Absurdly, in an age when women are often favored over men in higher education and in the workplace, when a woman can easily accuse a man of rape, and about anything and everything is labeled as "discrimination" women are in danger - more than ever - of having their hearts broken and their lives shattered.

Women bought the lie that purposefully delaying marriage and childbearing, and giving themselves away in numerous relationship with men who have no intention of marrying them, is actually empowering. When such a woman ends up being empty, sad, broken-hearted and lonely, she receives little sympathy. Whose fault is this? Does it matter right now? The important part is that being unprotected left many women scarred for life.

For now my little daughter is carried in my arms. Soon, she will take her first steps, and will hesitantly start to explore the world. And I hope and pray that we can, without suffocating and stifling, help her avoid the worst mistakes I made.

I believe that a girl on the verge of womanhood needs even more, if that is possible, loving guidance and protection from her parents, up to the point of her marriage and starting a home of her own. Our daughters are precious treasures God entursted us with; can we betray His trust? Godly wisdom of parents and elders is more important than prestigious education. How much we must grow spiritually to be able to properly guide our daughters.

Being the mother of a baby isn't easy. It's a priceless gift that comes hand in hand with molding my heart according to God's plan of sacrificial love that takes the focus off oneself. But I expect that being the mother of an older daughter will be infinitely more challenging, spiritually, emotionally and intellectually. Will I measure up to the incredibly important mission of teaching, guiding, loving, nurturing and protecting her until (hopefully, one day) we will give her away in marriage?

Recently I read two interesting posts about protecting daughters. One of them was written by Mrs. Lydia from "Home Living".

The link to the other post was sent to me by a reader - thank you! It's from a blog I've never visited before:

Raising Girls in the Midst of Cultural Collapse
"How old-fashioned, how primitive, sneer the feminists. Sorry, women. You can burn your bras and run around the business world while outsourcing your motherhood, but true joy is found in serving others, beginning with our own families. Those are the values that make for happy homes, busy and useful girls, and the development of young women whose eyes are on the Lord and not on their bodies."

Both posts, naturally, weren't written by Jewish women, but nevertheless I find them very enlightening.

22 comments:

Frankie said...

But maybe your lovely little Shira won't want to get married as soon as she is able? Should you not equip her to be able to make her own choices? Not everyone is able to marry and have children, and some don't want to. It would be sad if she were made to feel a failure in life just because she didn't get a husband. That was the way things were done in the past, and many people married for that reason alone - not a good basis for marriage. You can't protect your daughter against getting her heart broken, it's all part of growing up. It happens to all of us, and we survive :-)

Anonymous said...

Raising a daughter is certainly very challenging (as is raising a son, though perhaps in different ways).
I glanced at the links you sent. I agree with the fact that girls' fashion today is oversexualized from a young age, and I go out of my way to dress my kids sanely. Since they study in a religious (Jewish) environment, all the girls pretty much wear the same T-shirts and skirts, luckily.

I am concerned with some of Mrs. Lydia's post, though. She seems to imply that because the world is a dangerous place, girls should not leave home unattended by family. I fear this approach is very close to that in certain Arab countries where a woman cannot go to the grocery store unattended by a male family member, or enter a taxi, or go to the doctor....etc. True, the world is dangerous (for men too, by the way), but we must balance caution with the need for freedom, or we will all become caged birds, and then what's the point? Besides, a woman can get raped and killed within her own home too (it's happened many a time, unfortunately), so perhaps she should never stay home alone either? Indeed, a woman home alone is a far easier target than a group of girls out on the town. Who exactly will babysit all these women?

Statistics show (at least in Israel) that a woman has much higher a probability of getting hurt in a car accident than of being kidnapped and raped. Wouldn't it be more logical to prohibit women from riding in cars, if we really want to protect them?

I encourage my girls to go to friends and not stay within our four walls all day. I certainly can't provide all the external stimulus they need, or broaden their horizons all on my very own. I do not want to escort them on every outing throughout their teens; I want them to be strong girls, slowly learning to forge their own path. With lives of their own, not dependent on my plans or moods or personality.
Tammy

Mrs. Anna T said...

Frankie,

Your questions might be a subject for an entire separate post, but I'll still try to answer briefly here.

First, we don't intend to marry our daughter off as soon as she is able. She will get married if/when it is God's timing for her. However, chances are that she will be married (like the vast majority of women) so I think it's logical and makes perfect sense to prepare her for marriage, rather than for the slim chance she will never marry - which can, sadly, become a self-fulfilling prophecy as young women devote their time and energy to pursuits which actually delay marriage, such as studying abroad from several years and not having a Jewish community around, or worse, seeing men of foreign faiths.

It's impossible to protect our children from all hardships of life, but I believe that young women can and should be protected from men with the wrong intentions, sexual relations before marriage, meaningless relationships, promiscuity, pornography, and terrible influences the world is so full of. Protecting our daughter's chastity is protecting her heart, and it makes perfect sense to do that, just like protecting her from drugs or STDs.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Tammy,

I just wanted to point out that I didn't say I agree with every word in the posts I linked to. I simply find them interesting, with some material for thought. So perhaps you should copy and paste your comment at Mrs. Lydia's blog, and see what she has to say.

vbacwarrior said...

As I sit here, due any day to give birth to my second daughter, I greatly appreciate this post, Mrs. Anna!

jAne said...

This portion of your post...

**I believe that a girl on the verge of womanhood needs even more, if that is possible, loving guidance and protection from her parents, up to the point of her marriage and starting a home of her own. Our daughters are precious treasures God entursted us with; can we betray His trust? Godly wisdom of parents and elders is more important than prestigious education. How much we must grow spiritually to be able to properly guide our daughters.**

...speaks to my heart for that's where we are.

Lovely post, AnnaT. I agree with what you've shared and even though I don't fully agree with everything MrsLydia speaks of, I sift it for good measure for there's life in her words.

Bless you this day as you see well to the ways of your household, caring for and loving your dear husband and sweet daughter.

jAne at tickleberry farm

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

Anna, I never really implied that girls should ever be locked up totally at home. I suggested that there are many things to do in the public that are enriching for young daughters, but that they should be accompanied by those who would guard their safety. I don't believe I ever locked my own daughter up, and we were actually away from home more than we were at home, during times when there were so many things going on that we wanted to do or see. Knowing what it was like to grow up in a dangerous world, I felt at an early age that I would not want my own daughter to experience the terror or being stalked or attacked when out alone, even in daylight. I realized from watching what really happened "out there" that a lot of the danger is not even being made known. If your readers will pay close attention to the entire article, and also read the one written by Mary Civilia, and then click on the links that show how young girls are easily snatched and dragged into cars, even in daylight, they will understand my reason for caution. Each daughter is too precious to put freedom above safety. If the child goes missing or is assaulted, the freedom will not seem very important. A 19 year old girl left a comment on that article that said she was raised that way and is in no way deprived of freedom or at any kind of social disadvantage. While I do not endorse all Arab religion, I do recognize that our Old Testament roots are from that area, and that some of the customs of those nations regarding the protection of daughters go back further than their religion--to the days of Abraham and Isaac. One particular character of the Old Testament shows Dinah, a daughter of Jacob, going to visit friends and getting into trouble. Whether it was her fault or not, it showed that she was away from home when it happened, unaccompanied by someone who would protect her. Of course people should use caution, but I think there is no reason to assume they are safe at any time in the public. You do not have to post this. I just wanted to clarify what I had written. I believe within the family structure, girls can do anything, even outside the home. We took our kids on overseas trips, to malls and to concerts and just everywhere. I do not believe in the US it is safe to let girls go hang out at malls or go on cruises alone. Every day there are reports of missing girls. It might be safe in Israel, but it is not safe in the US, even in the country. Just the other day a girl was going for a walk on a country road and a man in a truck forced her inside and took her 30 miles away before someone stopped them. She was unharmed but terrorized. THere is plenty of freedom for daughters within the context of the family. Lydia

Jan Hatchett said...

Amen! How we mothers yearn to protect our young. You are on the right path by honoring your instincts.

But, I have boys and I, too, yearn to protect them. The feminist vision of recent generations has vilified and demeaned men as well. For many of the same reasons that you have, I yearn to protect them from the fate that will befall many of their peers.

I am glad to know that there are many loving, like minded families protecting their daughters. I pray that my sons may find their daughters some day!
Jan

PandaBean said...

I am currently reading a book on a subject very similar to this. It's called "It Takes a Parent" by Betsy Hart. She talks mostly about protecting and training your children's hearts from/about the outside world. While I don't agree with everything she has to say, I do agree with most of it.

Another book I just finished reading is called "Bringing Up Geeks" by MaryBeth Hicks. This is also a great book about sheilding and protecting our children even when they are away from us out in the world. And this book is a valuable reasource for Americans as she has 4 kids in your typical middle-class America, attending public school, and her kids actually seem like great kids and not your typical "creeps". I'm not saying all kids are naturally creeps, but especially here in my area we have an amazing amount of hoodlums that I'm afraid of my children associating with as they grow. I find her successes are very inspiring that maybe I can raise great kids too in the face of adversity. (But we'll be homeschooling. Unless we can afford Catholic school.)

God Bless!
PandaBean

Anonymous said...

Anna,
I agree completely. I was raised on or at least around the mindset that I had to go to college, get a job, send your kids off to school or day care. Don't depend on a man "If you got it flaunt it." And other such nonsense. I am currently a stay home, homeschooling, modestly dressing wife and mother. And yes I do depend on my husband to be our breadwinner. I consider this all to be a privelege as well as a blessing from God. As the mother of two girls I hope that we are able to protect our girl from these terrible things society tries to impose upon us. I pray for them every day. And I hope that we can raise them right for the Lord. Children do pay attention to what they are taught My six year old can already pick out which clothes are modest and which are not. She only chooses modest clothes to wear. Sorry this went a bit long.
Holly

Lydia said...

Anna,
Nice Post. Please allow me to give you a different perspective.
I am an American woman who came alone to America for higher education from an Asian country. I am a christian. I came alone. No family here. I was in my early 20s. It was my first time on an airplane. It was my first time abroad. And I was terrified. But I wanted to come here because I had a dream and my parents supported and encouraged me. And they equipped me for anything.
My parents raised me in a modest home. I have a brother. And we were both encouraged to go for our dreams. We both had curfews. We both were taught basic cooking, cleaning and household chores. In my native country we do not date. I always understood that I would go back home and have an arranged marriage. And I never dated in America even though many people asked. I was a virgin when I got married. I chose a husband from a pool of suitors suggested by my parents. We have been married for over 10 years now and have children. When I was not married, I followed common sense rules. Like not going out late, not letting anyone in my house, walking in lit areas, not staying out too late and many more and I prayed. And my parents prayed. i wear normal clothes like a pant and top every day. And it is modest, but certainly not modest by my native country standards.
I do not know what feminism is. But I don't think extremes work in both cases. That is why I do not understand people who protect their daughters and in doing so stifle them. Or at least that is what it seems to me. . And from where I come from Christians never did that. I hope to raise the same kind of children my parents raised. Both boys and girls. Who are comfortable living in 'normal' society, but know what to avoid. I think balance is very important. I am not perfect. But my upbringing and the culture which I grew up in guide my parenting. And God and Prayer.
Hope I got my point across as respectfully and kindly as you do.

Thank you and God Bless you.

Front Porch Society said...

I have struggled with this whole concept of marriage for reasons of my own for many, many years. And here I am 30 years old, unable to have children due to cancer years ago, and still very much single.

I was engaged about 10 years ago. He cheated on me and got another woman pregnant right before our wedding. So obviously the engagement was called off. And ever since then, the relationships I have experienced have not lead me to anyone who is marriage material. (you get cheated on like i did and you tend to raise the bar as to what you are looking for in a man)

In today's society it is very difficult to find a man who shares a common faith, common interests, is mature, can actually carry on an intelligent conversation, and is of marriage material.

If God so puts marriage in my plans somewhere down the road then so be it. But for now I continue on the path He has set before me. Which seems to be a single working woman.

(I also invite you to stop by my site as I posted some photos on there tonight that I am sure you will enjoy!)

Mrs. Anna T said...

Lydia,

I never thought you meant that girls should be locked up at home all the time, but then again, I read your blog on a regular basis so I know better than to assume something so ridiculous. I don't think Israel is any safer than the US in that regard, and yes, I do believe that it's possible to have a normal, carefree, happy girlhood AND be protected.

Anyway, I thought that those who misunderstood your intentions should take their opinions to your blog, because you are the one who will best explain what you meant in case someone got it wrong.

Campakalata Devi dasi's said...

Hi Lydia, I appreciate your story. I agree with you that being prepared for marriage doesn't need to exclude a girl's desire to develop other skills. Perhaps you'll agree with me that the major reason you remained a virgin until marriage, is because you stepped into the world confident that your parents were finding a nice man for you. You didn't feel the need to dress immodestly, behave flirtatiously, or as many young women do these days, give your body to man after man in order to land yourself a decent husband.

I grew up here in America, but in a counterculture of sorts. Like you, I always understood that my parents would arrange a marriage for me. The difference is that my parents felt determined that I should marry young so that I would have no (or at least very little) anxiety relating to who my husband would be and so that the main focus of my life would be established early. My mother encouraged me to pursue the learning of extraneous skills, but emphasized that home and family must always come first. After marriage, I continued to train in classical dance as well as teach academic classes part time from home. Eventually I opened my own dance school out of my living room. But husband and daughter were and still are my number one priority. I believe that early marriage sets the foundation for a girl, establishing clearly for her what's most valuable for her life. But, she can have other skills as well and even contribute financially if it doesn't interfere with a peaceful, comfortable, loving home life.

As you can tell, I'm a strong supporter of early marriage.... but, I'm an even bigger proponent of parents arranging marriages for their children. I too never felt the need to date or behave immodestly. I knew my parents would find someone just right for me. I feel that, like you Lydia, girls can stay chaste and modest even through college if they have this confidence. I believe that finding a spouse for one's children is one of the biggest protections we parents can offer.

Caroline said...

Can you clarify the second paragraph in this post where you say that "absurdly....in a day when a woman can easily accuse a man of rape....."? Are you saying that the majority of woman are crying rape and have not actually been raped? Your statement seems out-of-synch with the rest of your post. Just curious.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Caroline, I meant the following: if a woman accuses a man of rape, her words aren't usually doubted. But if a woman says she is suffering because of a meaningless relationship, she has "hang-ups".

Campakalata Devi dasi's said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Campakalata Devi dasi's said...

Mrs Anna, I have no idea how the above comment got written to your blog. Feel free to delete it. Sorry about that.

Buffy said...

Your post and the ones you linked to were very thought-provoking. I am now thinking of doing a blogpost myself about this whole issue which is an important one. My own feeling (which I don't think is very far from your own) is that teaching our daughters to be discriminating and protect themselves is more effective than thinking you can always act as a physical barrier between them and the world. When I think back to when I was a girl I wouldn't have wanted my parents to curtail my freedom to go all sorts of places on my own or with friends (which was usual then). I wish, however, they'd guided me more in my teenage years about relationships with boys and my sexuality. Most parents are too shy to talk about these things so you learn from what society tells you. That's far more dangerous than (for example) going shopping with a girlfriend.

Anonymous said...

In my experience, a woman who accuses a man of rape is almost always doubted.

-- Pendragon

Analytical Adam said...

Mrs. Anna wrote:>Absurdly, in an age when women are often favored over men in higher education and in the workplace, when a woman can easily accuse a man of rape, and about anything and everything is labeled as "discrimination" women <

Well, Mrs. Anna all these things you mention are turning a "man's" life upside down what women are doing to men. To falsely accuse a man of rape has ruined men's lives who have done nothing wrong. The MEN need protection too. As just a regular guy I don't have a few connections but not that many. If women want to hurt men they deserve to suffer the consequence of not having someone protecting them. IN the US the feminsts made these laws in the 1960's that if a women screams rape to protect her you can't look into her background or can't even mention her name. This to protect the women from the rapists according to the feminists. Of course a woman's history and life DOES make a difference as there are cases of women who have falsely accused 8 or men of rape and continue to do it. A man is a person and accusing of rape is very serious and could ruin his life if it is a false accusation.

In terms of higher education the main reason in the United States is A. Many fatherless homes and B. the gov't spends millions of dollars to help girls in math and science but don't spend a penny to help boys in reading and writing so boys aren't doing as well in school and if women don't care about men they don't deserve to be protected IMO if they have enjoy seeing men being ignored and having no skills to give the world. Many of the feminists have bragged about shutting down any program to help boys in reading and writing. Christina HOff Summers discusses this in her book the war against boys.

Lady M said...

I am thrilled that someone shared Ingrid's blog post with you (she lives in the Milwaukee, WI area as well and I listen to her regularly on the radio when she is on). I enjoyed that post as well.

Lady M