Thursday, April 22, 2010
Teaching Older Daughters
Recently a mother wrote me and inquired:
"What do I do if I have waited too long to teach my older daughter homemaking skills and now she is not interested. Is it too late? What do I do now?"
I believe this scenario is more common than we know as many readers have asked me this question. Often times a mother will not see the need to teach her daughter but then later realize she should have. Perhaps the mother herself will not have grasped the grand vision and importance of homemaking until her later years and then will try to teach her daughters, but by then the daughter might not be interested.
May I offer some hope here? Please do not give up! I believe it is never too late for any daughter to learn domestic skills, whether it be cooking, cleaning or taking up a skill. Your daughter might not realize the importance of it right now but with a loving and gentle mother, these things can learned too---at whatever age-- fifteen, eighteen, twenty five and up!
I asked my daughter, Janai, how she would answer this question. She is 17 years old and I did not start teaching her many things until she was older too. I did not understand the importance of homemaking and it wasn't until I understood my calling that I wholeheartedly began to teach my girls. Unfortunately for Janai, that came a little later than sooner. But that is okay, because even if we are a little later in the game than other mother and daughters, the point is we are still learning and here is what Janai had to say in response:
"I believe that even though a mother is teaching a daughter later in life she should continue to do so even if that daughter does not have an interest at the time. The mother should continue to be a good example and even if the daughter does not seem interested, she should continue teaching her in a loving and gentle way and later the daughter will appreciate and remember all the mother had tried to teach her. All situations are different and the mother needs to approach this with prayer."
Well, there you go ladies. Right out of the mouth of babes. If we approach this prayerfully with love, not in a harsh, demanding way we can help our daughters learn to care for the home, cook, bake , sew and enjoy all that comes with homemaking. I must also add that you will have some daughters that will be more gifted or have interests in one area than the other. One of my daughters loves to bake and the other is gifted in music. I do not try to compare them, I know the Lord has made them both unique with separate talents and instead of fighting those talents I want to foster them. But I still try to prepare all my daughters with what they need to know to run a home and cook well. We must fully equip our daughters for the future, whether or not they marry they will need to know how to cook and run a home--- and help them to see the service and delight behind it all.
As my daughter stated, we must be a good example. She also told me this speaks louder than words and how true this is. If mom is stomping around the house angry, slamming cabinets because she has to clean up or is grumbling about 'making another meal' then what kind of lovely picture are we painting for them of domestic life and duties? Who on earth would want to learn anything about that? She would instead be tearing down her home, and her daughters view of the home, instead of building it up.
Approach the Lord with prayer as you embark upon teaching your daughters if you feel you have missed the window of opportunity with her. There can be grace found in telling your daughter the truth and telling her you were late in teaching her, that you are sorry you didn't and would like to teach and help her now. Even if she rejects it, she knows she had a mother who humbled herself, loved her and wanted to teach her later. If she is older perhaps you can gently involve her--what comes to mind is the image of grandmother in the kitchen waving the young mother over to her asking her to help stir the soup or add the spices as she has an everyday conversation with her, this might be the case with older daughters, working along side with them in everyday tasks and they learn as they go as they spend time with you.
Ask the Lord to soften and open your daughters heart, whatever her age, and to help you be faithful and patient in this area. Perhaps there are personal issues that need to be addressed---is the daughter rejecting these things because her heart is more turned towards the world than the Lord and her parents? There might even be relational issues that you might need to work on in order for this to happen, and praise the Lord that He can use something like this to work on how we LOVE and forgive eachother as well. Let us be the model of 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 as we seek to train our sweet, precious daughters:
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."