Monday, June 21, 2010

Keep the Little Girls Little


I took my three oldest children to a local Vacation Bible School this morning. It turned out to be a very large and crazy-chaotic event (wall-to-wall kids and adults! loud! and they lost my registration too!) As I was getting my older two settled in their seating section of 5th and 6th graders, I looked around to find the adult or teen in charge of their group.

Two girls in VBS T-shirts were standing at the end of one of the rows...I gently interrupted their conversation and asked, "Are you two in charge of this 5th and 6th grade group?" They looked at me rather confused, and with a giggle, one said, "No, WE ARE in this group!" I said, "Oh wow! I thought you all were 16!"

And I wasn't kidding!

These girls were as tall as I am and had hair, make-up and mannerisms of teenagers! I looked over at my little daughter Katie and marveled that she looked so young. And I felt very relieved.

This is one of the reasons that we decided to bring Katie back home this past school year. We loved the teachers at her school. We loved the adminstration. Katie was learning a lot and excelling. The biggest problem that I had was that I didn't like that the little 8 year old girls acted like they were 11-13 years old! The disrespect towards adults...the talking about boys...the obsession with clothing and brands...

What happened to things like tea parties?? Those type of events now seem to be viewed as "babyish" and for the 4 year old crowd. Dolls are for kindergarteners, make-believe is silly, and playing dress-up is foolish. This kind of thinking just breaks my heart. I felt strongly that I wanted to bring Katie home simply to enjoy being a "little girl" again. Really "getting her back" though hasn't happened overnight. It's taken a long time for her to relax again and be comfortable really playing.

Seeing her enjoy American Girl dolls, playing restaurant/grocery store, and reading wholesome stories warms my heart. It is refreshing to see her live a life that is age-appropriate and not a striving to be something that her body, soul and spirit are not ready for...a false sense of maturity.

Let's keep the little girls little. May we have the wisdom and grace to guard these precious years...they are special and fleeting and the teen years will be upon us before we know it and then it will be time to deal with such things. But not now....now is the time for tea!

36 comments:

gina said...

yes! i'm totally with you on this one.

TaraChristiane said...

Yes! And it gets even harder when you have a teenager who has no interest in texting 24/7, boys, trashy drama or running around half-naked. So many days I find myself putting a wish into the universe for a really nice, wholesome teenage friend for my daughter. I know there has to be one out there somewhere...

Ami Thompson said...

I was homeschooled and now homeschool my five. I had a fabulous LONG childhood. My (also homeschooled) friends and I had a great time from 11-16. We had book clubs, played Anne of Green Gables, created and videotaped cooking shows, wrote plays and poems, played dress up (only now we were doing the sewing ourselves). I am so happy that my 10 year old daughter appears to be following in my footsteps. She loves to dream and play still.....

debbie bailey said...

I have an eleven-year-old who looks fifteen. She can't help it that she developed so fast. She notices boys but likes horses more, thank goodness! Even though she's always been homeschooled and not around her peers too much, she's growing up way too fast. You can't make them see how fleeting is their childhood. Some things can only be seen in retrospect, I guess.

stitchedincolor said...

Thank God that there are others! Seriously, we "old-fashioned" mamas need all the support we can get.

Shelley in SC said...

Well said!! This has been a big blessing for our family. My older teens will sometimes sit down and watch "Arthur" with the 6 year-old. I love every moment we can hold on to that fleeting delightful innocence of childhood!

Emily (Laundry and Lullabies) said...

And the boys, for that matter. I find it very frightening, as I raise my little boys, how very pseudo-mature most 10-year-olds are these days.

Ashley said...

Well said. I couldn't agree more!

♥ the quiet homemaker said...

YES! I couldn't agree more...wonderful post!

Sarah said...

wonderful post! this was one of our many reasons for homeschooling too. i want my kids to be kids and enjoy their childhood.

Leigh Ishee said...

Aimee - way to go in nuturing Katie. Girls grow up way to fast now. It is crazy. She will so appreciate this.

flo said...

Yes, yes, yes.
My oldest is 13, and as I type, is playing Playmobil with her much younger siblings. Loving it!

Hollie Ann said...

I'm so with you! 100%! Excellent post.

Michelle said...

I am with you!! I am so thankful that our 12 year old is still happy to play make believe and with toys that she'd likely be teased about in public school. She has had fleeting interest in boys, but it isn't obsessed over. Let's hold on to that innocence as long as we can!

Rebecca said...

I couldn't agree more.

Father's Grace Ministries said...

I'm so with you on this one!! I have 2 girls-eight and six- who love things like Little House on the Prairie, Anne of Green Gables, swinging on the swing. reading, playing in the cubby. I so pray this continues- that they remain unworldly and simple hearted, yet while learning womanly homemaking skills to equip them in the future.
We live in Australia, are Christian Homeschoolers, and even over here a certain worldliness in manners and dress is present among the very young even in Church and church run activities.
Claire

Tina Hollenbeck said...

I add another "Amen!" to this chorus! My girls are 8 and 9 and enjoy what I consider to be age-appropriate activities. Unfortunately, some of their same-age peers already look down on such wholesome pursuits, and it breaks my heart that my girls will surely feel left out soon. However, I know they'll get over that; what would not be so easy to overcome would be allowing them to go with the cultural flow, which I consider to be seriously damaging to little girls' (and boys') hearts and souls.

Natalie said...

My little girl is still really little (3) so I have not experienced this first hand, yet. I do, however, see it in the female classmates of my 9 year old and think it is so sad! I agree with you whole heartedly- let's keep the little girls little and the little boys while we're at it!!!

Julia Medearis said...

I love this post, Aimee. Oh, how I pray that Elizabeth will hold on to her innocence and not feel pressured to mature too quickly! It makes my heart happy to think of sweet Katie... what a gift you are giving her by creating an environment that allows her to be her young, playful, creative self! You're a great mom, Aimee!

Maria said...

I have six daughters (23, 19, 17, 16,14 and 3)and four sons (20, 12, 10, and 8). We have and continue to home school them through high school for this very reason ... to keep their childhood intact as long as it is meant to be. I don't want to rob them of that.

gls said...

Came here via Julia Medearis's link at Facebook.

I teach eighth grade, and I'm shocked at the appearance and mannerisms of the girls. They look sixteen or seventeen, and they try to act the same. I worry about so many of them: they simply aren't cognitively developed enough to deal with issues sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds would have to deal with (i.e., sex). It seems they would be more easily taken advantage of.

I have a three-year-old daughter, and my experience in public schools and posts like yours only make me more certain that, at the very least, we need to keep our daughter in a smaller, private school. As if that would help...

Jennifer said...

What a great post! I often feel this way about my 10-year old. It's hard to keep it all in balance. We're working on all those wonderful 'girlhood' virtues at home and I'm thankful that she still LOVES dress up and taking care of her 'babie' :)

Charity Singleton said...

This must be one of the hardest parts of being a mama. Preparing little ones for the world without exposing them to too much of the world.

A friend of mine just took a little stand yesterday by mentioning to the manager of a children's clothing store that the music was much too grownup and sensual for the kids that would shop there. She agreed, though corporate sets the rules.

I'm praying for all you mamas!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad I am not the only one who isn't in a rush for their kids to growup. My 9 year old is still so sweet and innocent and loves Little House and being creative. The girls in her girl scout troop act much older and I am shocked when I see them dancing and singing the lyrics to Beyonce songs. My daughter is homeschooled and she gets embarrassed when the other girls act in that way. I'm torn...do I let her stay in the group or pull her out and find one that fits our values?

Isla said...

Great post! Thanks for that! :-)

Robyn of Coffee and Cotton said...

Let children be children. I have 9 kids, 3 of them now adult daughters. Children should be allowed to run, explore, pretend and use their childhood imaginations to create. How sad for a child to miss out on that. My kids were/are homeschooled but not sheltered. They were taught and encouraged to be the unique individuals they were created to be, to be able to think for themselves... But they need direction and clear paths to choose from. It is ok to tell your child "no". When I look at children that have been allowed to live a lifestyle beyond their years I see sadness in their eyes and my heart aches for them. You're doing Mama!

Robyn of Coffee and Cotton said...

That was supposed to be... You're doing *Good* Mama! oops

Mac an Rothaich said...

Absolutely agree and love this post! So encouraging to read your words, they are exactly what I have been thinking and trying to get other mom's to understand around me... the pressure is so real IN GRADE TWO already that some mom's think I am being awful not letting my girl act OLDER. Classmates pressured to shave their legs already and other such nonsense. I love seeing my girls be girls and I totally see the tea party as an example. I throw a big dress up tea for my lady friends and daughters to set an example for my girls... that growing up at the right speed is more fun as well as healthy!

kristinwithani said...

Preach it friend.

Anonymous said...

As a school teacher in an urban area, I couldn't agree more.

I just completed my first year teaching first grade. I jokingly told people that I didn't know some of the things they know until they told me. (I'm 26!) The things they watch and listen to are completely inappropriate for their age. Honestly, some of it could be considered inappropriate for adults!

I was mostly shocked at their lack of imagination. I get so many stories about Hannah Montana and Spongebob. Very few of them had creativity to come up with things on their own. Even if they could be creative, they had no energy for it. How awful!

My hope is that as I continue on in my teaching career, I'll be able to tap into some of their lost innocence/creativity. Kinda like calling them back to who they are supposed to be.

Angela said...

I agree 100%! I took my two older daughters out of school this year to homeschool for that very reason. I was shocked at what my 2nd grader came home asking us about. It was a hard decision for sure because my husband was deploying, at the time, in a few weeks, but the Lord truly opened so many doors and its been a wonderful blessing ever since!

The Homesteading Apartment said...

Oh Aimee, this is so TRUE!! I have a nephew who just turned 13 and he already has a girlfriend who looks like she's 18! They both have facebook pages and live the lives of older teenagers. It's heartbreaking. Our children are growing up too fast and as a result their spirits become hollow by the demoralization of societal norms. There are so many who are doing exactly what your family is doing and it the numbers are growing each day. If there are more parents like you who make the hard choices, our children will have a chance to truly be children.

Bless you (:
Michele

contented sparrow said...

oh, yes...thank you, aimee, for writing about this and I absolutely agree...keep the little girls little!!!

Jules said...

Thank you for this. I wholeheartedly agree. I have a six year old whom I'm proud to say IS a six year old. And we're doing lots of teaparties and such to keep it that way. It is frustrating to see girls so quick to spread their wings and be someone they're not. Thank you for much refreshment!

Anita C. McCants said...

My husband and I did everything in our power to make sure our daughter and son were not exposed to too much as they were growing up. Great post!

Erin said...

I could have written this post. My seven year old daughter attended school this year after homeschooling last year. The girls her age constantly wanted to play "teenagers" and really enlightened her to the ways of the world, confusing her poor heart about so many things. We are bringing her home this fall too, along with her little brother, so happy to jump back into a joy-filled homeschooling experience again. We need to let our young ones be young for just a little while longer...