For those of us blessed with little girls who like to color outside the lines, how do we respond when they pick up their crayon (or permanent marker) and begin writing on society’s pristine walls?
My precious princess has always been a little bit different. She came close to receiving an autism diagnosis at the age of two and received lots of early intervention due to sensory issues.
She is five years old now and shows no signs of being on the spectrum, however she does like to carve her own niche in the world.
If I were to choose her church clothes, she might be wearing a pretty white dress with matching sandals. I would put her hair up in a ponytail or behind her ears.
Her wardrobe of choice might be pants, two different colored socks, tennis shoes, a winter hat in summer, a pirate eye patch, silly glasses, and a baby bib turned around backwards so she can be a super hero. And forget about pigtails.
I never wanted to wear dresses or sandals either. In fact, I still don’t most of the time.
My peers in school were not always supportive of my desire to take the road less traveled. I remember painful moments of being teased and feeling left out.
So as a grownup quirky girl who’s now a mom, how do I respond to my daughter’s desires to forge her own path? Do I gently encourage her to try to be more like the other kids her age?
Do I secretly make certain items of clothing or toys disappear so she will be left with only those that will make other people around her more comfortable?
Do I burn the eye patch? Or the baby bib?
What do I do when my own insecurities are confronted head on with her differences and brought to the forefront by her desire to simply be herself?
Is my desire for her to fit in for her own good or for my comfort? Let that one sink in for a minute.
She is a happy kid and secure in who she is. Should I let my words and actions cause her to begin to question whether or not she is “okay” just being herself?
I have been on my own journey in the last year of learning to be a woman who is confident in who God made her to be. I can’t help but want to pass this along to my little girl.
God has a purpose for her life which will be hindered if she spends her time and energy trying to be something she is not. Therefore, my pledge is to continue seeking my own healing in this area while passing on to her a legacy of seeking the fulfillment of God’s dreams in our lives.
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The basic rule is that the clothes need to be appropriate for the season. The rest is up to her.
Recently, the director of children’s ministry at our church had an opportunity to spend some individual time with her in the classroom.
A few days later, I received an email from her:
It was truly a joy to spend one-on-one time with her in our 4 & 5 Year Old Classroom this weekend. She is truly a delightful and bright young lady. You have done an OUTSTANDING job in raising her!
These words blessed my heart more than I can express. I realize now that one part of my job is to coach my children and train them up in the way they should go.
In addition, I am called to foster an environment in which they will be unhindered to move fully into everything God has called them to be.
Here are a few verses to help you encourage your daughter (and hopefully yourself too) to remember who we were made to be:
Genesis 1:27 (NKJV)
So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Psalm 139:13-15 (NKJV)
13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;[a]
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Jeremiah 1:5 (NKJV)
5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
Before you were born I sanctified you;
Hi, I’m Julie Vasconcelos.
I am a wife and mom to a blended, multi-cultural family raising kids from toddlers to teenagers. I blog at www.momonthefly.com writing and sharing what God has put on my heart. You can also find my facebook page at: www.facebook.com/momonthefly.
[Images courtesy of flickr and imagebase.net]