My childhood - Growing up (Part 2)
On Tuesday I wrote a blog about being married to an unbelieving husband - this is the story that got me to that point. A few weeks ago I started to tell you a story of a young girl growing up in a small rural community in Australia, a girl with quite a different life to those around her — yes, this is my story.
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What was life like for all those other girls who didn’t have to wear a hat to Sundays, who could go to the movies, have boyfriends, wear the latest fashions. As this little girl entered her teens it became quite apparent that her life and those around hers were very different. She didn’t want to be different any more. She didn’t want to stand out at school as the only one who wasn’t allow to attend the school ball or wear trendy clothes. She didn’t want to have to tell her friends that she couldn't go out on Sundays. This was when the struggle really began.
For girls who grow up in strict conservative Christian home, shielded from all the evils of the world, it comes as a big shock to discover that they are ill-equipped to cope with the temptations of the world as they have never needed to face them. This can start with simple choices — novels. As a young girl, only nice Christian books were about, however access to school libraries allowed this teenager to suddenly discover the world of literature – good and bad. She consumed raunchy romance novels, one after the other — anything that had been forbidden was read, she would read late into the night, long after her parents were asleep so they never had a clue. She became good at hiding the evidence. Of course she knew this was wrong, she had been taught the Word of God her entire life, but the temptation was there and for once she was going to be like her friends.
Freedom wasn’t that far away. Near the end of her schooling (and after watching her cousins go off and do their own thing) she finally could break free — she still attended Sunday meeting, wore her hat and did everything that a good daughter would do, but behind the scene things were changing. Independences. She started to buy make-up, jazz up her wardrobe, go to a hairdresser for the first time (nothing too radical or noticeable) and even went out late at night with her friends. Believe me, this was nothing wild, but it did ‘break the rules”, the ones that this young lady had been living for so long and no longer wanted to be bound by.
She got a job, loved her job — now she had an income and could make choices, her choices, not those of her parents, her grandparents. She could have a boyfriend, she could watch TV, go to the movies and she did. Did she make wise choices, no because she wasn’t thinking about anything wise or Godly, just being able to fly free. Not every child brought up like her goes a little wild, but some of us do — perhaps we are more rebellious, not willing to just accept, I am not sure why. She fell in love with a non-Christian, completely unlike her family. And, yes, she ran away and married. Still married and no, he is still un-believing. Life has its ups and downs, but as an adult with children of her own, the teaching of the scriptures never really disappeared – they came back strong and determined. Her journey has taught her about faith, trust and love.
All I can say to any parent who was brought up in a secular environment but wanting to create a conservative strict Christian environment, wanting to shield their girls from the evils of the world — please remember to find balance. Do not ban everything, but teach your girls to make wise choices. They may not at first make choices that you agree with but they will in time. If they do pick up a book that is not Christian, remember they need to find out why it isn’t suitable. When I read of mothers creating reading lists for their young adults I get very worried it can have quite the opposite effect - you may think you have a "good daughter" but in fact you may have one that is very restless but good at hiding her true feelings. Bring them up with the scriptures but if they do want to “fly” for a bit, help them to cope with the world and not to completely isolate them from it — and most importantly how to become independent but remain a Christian.
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