4.4.14

Raising Daughters



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Maybe the good Lord willed that for the first two years or so of life, almost all the needs of our children are general and with the exception of changing diapers, are not distinctly gender-specific. You feed a baby girl the way you feed a baby boy. The pediatrician does not have two separate sets of vaccines stored in pink and blue bins.

Maybe those two years of "generic care" is a grace period, when we can consider how we should raise all our children regardless of gender, how differently we might raise our daughters, and how differently we might raise their brothers.

I believe that all little girls were born to be mothers. Those whose vocation is to enter marriage will give birth to their own children. Those whose vocation is the religious life will have for their children, the many people they will help materially and spiritually. Those whose vocation is single blessedness will have for their children the people that they will meet and who would need their care, attention, and friendship.

I believe, too, that as we form our daughters to seek for themselves what it is that God is specifically calling them to do, we should cover the groundwork and train them to be mothers. God is not leaving us clueless; He gave us our Blessed Mother to be our model mom.

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We remember how Mary and Joseph had to go to Bethlehem for the census, and how Mary had to give birth to Jesus in a manger. We observe how she handled the inconvenience of the long travel and search for a place to stay. She did not fuss, she was selfless, and she focused only on caring for the Infant:

"And she gave birth to her first-born son, and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn." (Luke 2:7)

She swaddled her Baby: she knew that doing so would keep Him warm and comfortable. It was easier to just put a blanket over her Baby. After all, was she tired! But no, she carefully swaddled Him.

When the older Child Jesus was lost and found in the temple, Mary gently reminded Him that He got her and Joseph worried. She kept her cool: she did not make a scene, and she did not over-act :-). She calmly made a point to her Son:

"Son, why did you treat us so? Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously." (Luke 2:48)

As mom of the Holy Family, she dutifully kept house so that Joseph could earn a living as carpenter. I often like to imagine how she must have kept attention to the little details of homemaking, striving to make her family comfortable and well-fed and their house clean and orderly.

Mary was there to the very end. Mothers are that way. She witnessed all the events in the Passion and Death of her Son. I remember a couple of scenes in the movie, The Passion of the Christ. In one scene, Jesus fell as He was carrying the Cross, and a flashback was shown with the Child Jesus taking a fall and His mother promptly helping Him. In another scene, just after the scourging at the pillar, Mary very tearfully but very lovingly wiped away the blood of Jesus from the the floor where He was cruelly punished. Those are very poignant scenes that give us but a glimpse of Mary's maternal heart.

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After Jesus' Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven, she was there, too, with the Apostles. Surely, they looked up to her as their mother, and she loved to them in the way that would have pleased her Son. Before Pentecost, she prayed with them in the upper room:

"... and when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the Son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. All these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary, the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren." (Acts 1:13-14)

Mary could have retired after Jesus ascended into Heaven. After all, she had put in more than a decent share in the work of her Son. She could have stayed in her house and taken it easy. But she stayed on because there is no retirement for a mom.

Hands down, Mary is the best model for raising daughters. Honestly, I am overwhelmed.

But you know what? Today, from where she is in Heaven, she's still there for for us.

This post was originally written for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

2 comments:

  1. Nice one, Marcia. I like the thought of raising children without gender bias. My parents raised us without any stereotypes and my mum in law went even further, teaching my husband and my sister in law the same life skills like cooking and sewing.

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  2. Beautiful! So glad we've "met" now on each other's blogs! Gonna hit bloglovin to follow you right now... :)

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