Raising God’s Girls In Hollywood

Do you recognize these adorable little faces? You may have seen them in films like Footloose and We Bought a Zoo. What you may not know is that these girls are more than just faces in Hollywood; they are “God Girls,” shining and using their gifts from Christ for Christ!  Rather than living a story of fame, these lovely ladies are reminding Hollywood that this life is not about them.

Look for For Girls Like You Magazine’s feature article with Mary Charles and Maggie Elizabeth Jones in the upcoming June 2012 issue.  Your girls will enjoy meeting them soon!  In the meantime, we are thrilled to introduce you to their dad and biggest champion, Jason Jones!

As a father of little “God Girls” in the spot light, what are the top three things you are doing to make sure that you are, and remain their primary influence?

First, we have an unwavering commitment to FAMILY being #1. No matter what other activities or acting opportunities present themselves, we always evaluate the impact on the family, to ensure that the entire FAMILY comes first before anything else.

Second, we make sure that we set aside time each week for church and other church related activities. Our Church provides a great support vehicle and foundation for our entire family. It helps us stay “on level ground” and reminds us of what our real priorities should be each and every day.

Third, we want to have FUN! We never want to have any of our activities (acting, sports, music) seem too much like “a job”. If my children are not having fun and a great experience, then we certainly have to re-evaluate our priorities. We always ask our children “is this what you really want to do” when looking at a new film or TV role. Their well-being is truly our FIRST PRIORITY. So far, each endeavor has been FUN and a very positive experience.

How do you balance the demands of “acting” with family life? Have you had to redefine your family’s “normal?” If yes, in what ways?

Well I think if you ask any family if their life is “normal” they would say “no!” That being said, there are some unique challenges in the world of entertainment. There are times when the family is not together and we carefully have to manage that. Luckily, we have a great airport near us so whenever we are apart we are truly only a plane ride away. We also leverage technology such as SKYPE to stay in touch. That has really been a neat blessing when the family is separated for any extended period of time. 

A recent article in the Huffington Post, Kids Want Fame More Than Anything, references a 2007 study which found fame to be the #1 value among preteens. Knowing the positives and negatives of fame, what advice do you give to our parents as they are confronted with this reality?

We NEVER talk about fame with our kids. It really almost seems silly to them based on the way they are raised. Instead, we talk a lot more about GIVING to others. Their focus is on getting to meet new people and do some amazing things, not what others think about them. While the red carpet premieres and interviews are fun, the focus is always on the overall project, not on how “famous” they can be.  As long as we keep our focus on what we can GIVE to others we feel that we can steer clear of trappings of “fame.” Our girls have seen firsthand how much fun it is to GIVE of their time, talents, and treasures… and that is where their real reward can be found.

For more information on Jason Jones and the Jones girls, follow  on twitter @jasonjoneslives

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FAME! It can be used for what it can get, or what it can GIVE and it all boils down to how we define sucess and greatness. Whether they are famous or not, God has called each of our girls to greatness!

Share one of your girl’s talents or gifts below and how she uses it for Christ for an opportunity to win a copy of Dr. Tim Kimmel’s “Raising Kids for True Greatness: redefine success for you and your child.”

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4 Ways to Protect and Prepare Your Girls!

I like to think that I’ve done my share of preparation in regards to preserving the innocence of my daughters. I have prayed, read the top books, highlighted the key points, and engaged in personal conversations with experts like best-selling author Dannah Gresh. I even documented those conversations for you here! Not to mention, I started this magazine based on my convictions to protect and preserve the innocence of all of our girls!

So why was I totally unprepared when I found that my eight year old daughter had searched “sexy girl games” in the apps store on her ipod?!

The conversation went something like this:

Me (after a moment of collecting pieces of my shattered heart off of the floor):

Uhhhh Sweetie, what’s this?

Alena:

I was just, I was just…I wasn’t going to download it…I….( mentally debating on if she should play the devastated victim role or deny at all costs)

Me:

What were you looking for? What does sexy mean?

Alena:

It means love and cute…I was just looking for games for cute girls….(at this point devastated victim won and she went into a full fledge meltdown while I helplessly looked at Daddy and screamed HELPPPPP with my eyes!)

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Although discipline was in order because of the deceptiveness and trust issue, ultimately her search for answers opened my eyes to see that my job is not solely protection, but relentless preemptive attacks.

For some reason I thought that my thorough preparation would protect her from the voices of her peers and images in our society at large. However, while I was busy preserving and protecting her innocence, a television commercial, a song on the radio, a stranger’s outfit in Target, or a friend at school sparked her curiosity and exposed her to concepts and misconstrued messages of sex and love.

While I was using vague explanations like “not appropriate for girls your age,” she was searching for real answers and truth on her own.

We cannot protect our children simply by sheltering them, we must prepare them by filling them with God’s truth on life before Satan plants his seeds of deceit.

Here are 4 foundational ways to protect your girls as well as prepare them!

1. Build trust:

Your daughters need to know that they can trust you and that you trust them. The thing that was most devastating for me was not that my daughter was looking for answers, but that she was looking somewhere else. Let your girls know that they can talk to you and get truth, not just vague words to brush over real questions.

2. Become the expert and be the example:

Never look too surprised or shocked by what your little girls say! They don’t need to see you sweat. They need to believe that you know what you are talking about! They also need to SEE that you believe and follow your own advice! Your actions will always speak louder and last longer than your words.

3. Create opportunities for dialogue:

Don’t be afraid to ask your girls what they think about certain concepts and situations. Whether it’s a real life outfit or a made-up friendship, look for opportunities to engage in conversations with them. They may often surprise you with their knowledge and it will give you a chance to correct any false concepts or ideas they may be holding.

4. Trust God:

No matter how hard we try, how many conferences we attend or books we read, we will never cover it all. Satan will always view your daughter’s innocence and purity as a major fortress to attack. On our own, we simply cannot win. Pray over your girls fervently and seek God’s wisdom for every decision you make concerning them!


A new friend answers our prayer!

Meet For Girls Like You’s newest friend, 3 year old Abigail!

Take a moment and look at Abigail. She’s just a little girl who enjoys playing with dolls, reading stories, doing flips and stomping in puddles of water. She dreams about spinning in circles while wearing a big bright yellow poufy dress with her favorite red and white polka dot rain boots! Imagine a princess, wearing her favorite crown, her mom’s old slip, one high heeled shoe, and a hot pink boa tossed around her neck; as she gallops to a table full of bears and a teapot filled to the brim with imaginary water….

That’s who Abigail is, a little girl who enjoys doing what little girls do. Unfortunately, this is not the life that Abigail lives.

Abigail is just one of the many children around the world whose unimaginable uncertainties are simply considered a normal way of life. On a daily basis, children like Abigail and just like your daughters and mine, live without a safe place to rest, without clean water, proper clothing and a nutritious meal is nowhere to be found.

As a parent of girls Abigail’s age, I place myself in the shoes of her mother. How would I look into those sweet eyes and explain that tonight we will sleep on the very ground we are standing on? What words would I use at an attempt to comfort and quiet the rumbling of my baby girl’s tummy?

The thought alone brings tears to my eyes and an ache in the pit of my own stomach. I cannot imagine having to watch my daughters struggle day to day knowing that tomorrow will not be any better.

Abigail is not just a picture, she is someone’s daughter.

She is also an answer to our prayer. God sent us Abigail and we are thrilled to support and to share God’s love with this precious girl and her family.

For Girls Like You Magazine is humbled by the opportunity to support, pray for and befriend Abigail through the Cien Fuegos HOPE Center in the Dominican Republic.

We just want you to know that funds from each subscription purchased go towards supporting Abigail and the many children being served through Cien Fuegos HOPE Center.

If you and your family are interested in sponsoring a child or getting involved please visit: Cien Fuegos HOPE Center for more information.


Moms Like Us

At “For Girls Like You,” we love to introduce and surround our girls with girls just like them. Girls that love having fun, love learning new things, and meeting new people, while living a life that shines for Christ! Each issue features girls just like yours, along with articles and topics that keep their attention while making a positive impact in their young hearts and minds! The idea is basic. No one likes to feel alone and our goal is to create safe environments filled with all the things they love, including new friends!

Since moms are just grown up little girls, we want you to know that you are not alone either! Isn’t it fun when you meet someone in line at a grocery store or over hear a conversation at a playground with other ladies who speak your “mommy language?”

Well picture yourself at a park, your girls are playing and you happen to hear two moms chatting about raising kids, encouraging Godly characteristics and discussing how to handle tough topics like loneliness and bullying…now just as our conversation is getting good, I turn and say:

“Hi ladies, this is Thomasina Johnson, a children’s author and a homeschooling mom of 7! Her book, “Mama, When Will I Be Popular” was written to encourage kids who want to “fit in”–A mom and daughter talk, providing wisdom and hopefully a different outlook to the troubles of this little one’s life.

“I was just telling Thomasina:

Our kids face many challenges that we do not always know how to handle. Can you speak to the following challenges and how parents may best understand and support their young children during these times?

Yes, I’m so glad you asked!

Bullying

Bullying is such a multi-faceted topic and I am actually able to relate to both sides. I understand what it is like to be frustrated and embarrassed because your child is the bully and I know how hurtful it is as a result of your child being bullied. Parents are not always aware of the reason as to why their child is acting out. We have to look at the bullies from a personal side, knowing that their behavior may be one of a person who has been through trauma in their own life. They may need guidance and someone to look past the bully exterior to find the broken person behind the mask. In regards to the child being bullied, I believe that our children need to have a strong sense of self-worth. So strong, that no amount of teasing and bullying could cause them to lose hope. We should encourage our children to pray for the bully!

Loneliness

People are made to be around people, yet many are lonely with a swarm of people around them. It is important for our children to know that only God can FILL them up. We need to teach them the presence of God at a young age! In doing so we are insuring that they know they are “never alone and can never be forsaken” (Hebrews 13:5).

Not Fitting In

In my book I try to convey that we are never really going to fit in. This is a major issue with children who seek comfort in friendship above comfort in Christ. Convey to your children that they are a “unique and peculiar people” (1 Peter 2:9-10). This understanding took a load off of me when I gave my life to Christ! I had to come to the realization that my life was created to please Christ, and fitting in doesn’t always line up with that.

Your book, “Mama, When Will I Be Popular” focuses primarily on building strong character traits in young children. What are the three main character traits you look to build in your own children?

Integrity, wisdom and compassion, are BIG in my house. I have key scriptures that I share with my children:

Integrity – Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord (Proverbs 12:22)

Wisdom – Fools hate correction (Proverbs 15:5)

Compassion – Be kind to one another in brotherly love, honoring one another above yourselves (Romans 12:10)

What motivates you to help with building confidence and character in other children?

My childhood and the children around me who are craving guidance are what motivate me on a daily basis. It scares me to think of the reality that children face when left to their own way. Our children are our future, so I want to do my part to be a Godly influence in hopes that I can lessen the effects of a fragile and unstable generation.

Wow, that was great! Thank you Thomasina for sharing your insight and chatting with us! To chat more with Thomasina or to purchase her book for your girls, visit http://www.booksbythomasina.com

Now, will you introduce us to your friends? Who are some moms “like us” that you enjoy chatting with?

Leave a comment with a link to your favorite blogs!


Juicy Fruit

Instilled in my mind and in my actions are the desire and the will to teach my family the things of God. There is no doubt that if you were to come into my home after a routine family dinner or during a sporadic Saturday morning breakfast, you would hear me reiterate facts about God and see my determination to make sure that my children are ingesting every morsel.  My will to do this is like an engine that drives me.  It is as important to me as anything else in life.  My father and mother taught me from a young age the importance of impressing the Word of God on my family (Deuteronomy 6: 4-8).  It isn’t so much what they said as it was what they did. As often as they could my parents would sit down with my twin brother, three sisters and I, and worship God through song, pray over and with us, and dig into the Bible.  They helped us to apply scripture to our young lives.  This was mostly done at the dinner table directly following my first and second portion of whatever great meal my mother would whip up.  The only slight disappointment was the fact that my father was pretty strict around dinner, and though I often asked for a third portion, that request for gluttony was rarely honored.   I have zero doubt now, as a father of 4 girls and 10 or so years removed from my youth, that the Word of God is “alive and active” (Hebrews 4:12, NIV). It is simply seen in the fruit that was produced through my parent’s actions and attitudes.

I didn’t write the last paragraph to brag about my parents or myself.  I was simply pointing our hearts and minds toward fruit.  I often speak to my children about fruit. I say to my girls, “tell me about fruit.”  “What do you know about it?” Here are some of their answers:

“Fruit is juicy, Daddy!”

“Fruit smells good!”

“Fruit tastes good, Daddy”

“Fruit sure is sweet!”

In talking about fruit the only place you have to visit in the Bible is Galatians 5:

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.

I feel an overwhelming sense of conviction as I write.  I only have to look back as far as my last dinnertime devotional to see that my own fruit is often spoiled.  How ironic is that?  My lack of patience with my children was not very “juicy.”  My internal response to not having the perfect dinner in front of me did not “smell very good.”  And my gentleness, or lack there of, in how I responded to my wife’s question was not very “sweet.”  Even as Christians our fruit often leaves a lot to be desired. 

My prayer for you and I is simple this morning. I pray that we would “Walk by the Spirit,”(Galatians 5:16, NIV) and in so bear fruit that is refreshing, tasty, and addictive!   The only way our children, neighbors, co-workers and the world will be attracted to the Jesus we serve is through the fruit in our lives. 

I encourage you to be that fruit for your children; to encourage them in their walk with the Lord. Remember, it’s not just what we say, but what we do.  Our fruit, sweet or sour, will leave a lasting impression.

To get your girls thinking about and digging for fruit, download our new “Sprinkles Challenge” at www.forgirlslikeyou.com!


Give-A-Way

If you are anything like me, there is no trace of “The Holiday Season” left to be found in your home. By now, even your children’s new toys are blending right in with last year’s supply. The only thing that seems to remain is a few stubborn pieces of that stringy icicle décor that your kids insist on keeping up. All other decorations have made their way back into a box, into the attic or out the door! Are you with me!?

Now can I ask you an honest question? Did the spirit of giving seem to sneak out of the door with the trash bags of crumbled wrapping paper and plastic encasings?

I will be the first to admit that I am guilty.

Leading up to the holidays, my brain was constantly churning up new ideas and activities to teach my girls the importance of giving. From baking cookies for our new neighbors, making a thankful calendar or sending a special gift to our favorite ministries, I was on a constant mission to be sure my kids understood that Christmas is not about “getting.” I wanted them to understand that anything they opened on Christmas morning was an expression of how much Jesus loves them and not an entitlement. Now that the season is over and the true meaning of Christmas has been engrained, I have to ask myself, “What lesson am I teaching my girls about appreciating their everyday lives?” And ultimately, “Am I teaching them to have the heart of Christ all year long?”

The Bible teaches us, amongst MANY other WONDERFUL THINGS, that Christ was compassionate, selfless, and generous- Caring for the weak, the sick and the poor. If I truly want to teach my girls to be “Christ-like” then I need to engrain these aspects of His character all year long.

One of my prayers for myself and for my girls comes from the Hillsong United Song “Hosanna”:

Show me how to love like You have loved me

Break my heart for what breaks Yours”

Will you join me in this prayer for our girls? Pray with your girls and discuss ways they can get involved with helping others. Whether its counting pennies, helping a sibling, or greeting visitors at your church- let’s show our girls that they are not too young to make a difference daily for The Kingdom.

Here are a few ideas to help jumpstart your process of year round giving!

Find opportunities to serve in your community:

http://www.serve.gov

Help bring an end to slavery-The A21 Campaign and 21 ways to help:

www.theA21campaign.com

Sponsor a Child in need with Word Vision:

www.worldvision.org

Get involved and support a “kid-friendly” ministry like CBH Ministries “…because Kids Need Christ”:

www.cbhministries.org

I am also excited to tell you that our For Girls Like You Magazine Spring issue will focus on Godly characteristics and ways our girls can “show Jesus” with their actions and decisions. We want to highlight the ways your girls SHOW JESUS all year long!

Leave your comments below of how your girls (name and age) are involved or plan to get involved in helping those in need and we will celebrate them in this issue!

Also, share this post and we will randomly select 1 of your comments to win a FREE copy of our Winter Issue for your girl! Winner will be announced one Monday January 30th, 2012!

Looking forward to reading what awesome things your girls are doing to make a difference!


LEGO Friends- Are we missing the point?


Do you see anything wrong with this picture?

If you are unfamiliar, it is a photo of the new LEGO’s “girlified” building set. Unlike the previous sets of castles, rocket ships and race cars, this Café, with its flowers, bright lights and a white picket fence, is clearly designed with another species in mind—GIRLS!

The LEGO Friends line is composed of 5 girl figurines. (Additional details can be found here.) They appear to be appropriately dressed, lacking mini-skirts and tattoos. They are also marketed with a story of friendship and family, with the hope of encouraging healthy forms of role play and learning amongst girls age 5-8. I am hoping it stays this way!

“What’s the problem” you ask?

Well, If you Google “LEGO Friends” you will inevitably come across many interest groups who see something terribly wrong with this picture, and the marketing and message behind it. You will most likely come face-to-face with a petition currently signed by over 29,000 angered women, men and children.

According to those offended, the problem lies in the fact that the LEGO Friends line features new shades of block colors such as pink, purple and pastel green, and includes building sets such as a dream house, a veterinarian clinic, a tree house and a cafe. To sum it up, many groups are accusing LEGO of stereo-typing and gender biased marketing, giving girls [and boys] the idea that they are supposed to play a certain way and with certain items.

Still don’t see a problem?

Me neither.

It appears to me that many have overlooked a key point. There are innate and natural differences between genders, and it has nothing to do with color preferences. These differences are not created by marketers, but by the Maker Himself. In essence LEGO is not responsible for the differences between boys and girls. If they can be accused of anything, it is simply responding (I’m not sure if even knowingly) to God’s design and plan for both boys and girls.

As Christian parents we need to be very aware that other agendas can easily deteriorate our Christ Centered world view. Though I am all for gender equality in the sense that men and women have equal rights (which is in line with the Word of God), the Bible does not allow for, or even promote “sameness” between male and female. In fact, it is quite the opposite. All throughout the Bible we can see a theme and even direction given in how men and women are and should be different, which promotes the natural order in creation.

As a mother of girls, I am teaching my daughters to chase after God’s heart and His will for their lives. If it leads them to a rocket ship, they better buckle up and enjoy the ride! If they detest the color pink, I won’t force the issue. My goal is not to place labels, limits or false identities on them. However, it is to know the truth and to teach my girls the truth, so that we can walk in the freedom that God gives us when we know Him and His Word.

“He created them male and female, and He blessed them and named them.” Genesis 5:2 (NASB)

Please share your thoughts, “yay” or “nay” to the pink LEGOs?! Do you see this as a big deal?


An imperfect mother’s gracious list of “I Will’s…”

I recently read this tweet and immediately recognized it as pure genius!

“I was going to be a perfect mother . . . then I had children.”

If you are a mother then I’m sure you’re able to relate to the truth behind this humorous yet powerful statement! Now that I have 4 lively children the notion of perfection is laughable. I’m convinced that God’s design for parenting includes a built-in “humility instrument” named son or daughter. They often bring out our weaknesses and lack of faith, ultimately leading to a posture of prayer.

Pre kids I had a list of “I will never’s.” The never’s have gradually become understandable exceptions. 

Case and point:

“I will never let my kids play outside all day in their pj’s”

Now I smile because I am the mother next door I never thought I’d be.

“I will never be a “home maker” who does all of the dirty work. I’m getting a maid!”

Maid? Who needs one? Now peeling potatoes, mopping the floor and folding laundry all by myself is a daily challenge and I feel productive! Though I still wouldn’t mind the maid. 🙂

I will never let my house become dirty and look like “so and so’s.”

Isn’t dirty such a relative word?

My children will never talk to me like that.

I definitely demand respect from my children, but a healthy debate with my seven-year old is sometimes fun and a welcomed challenge!

The realities of motherhood often reduce a multitude of parenting rules down to the bare essentials in areas that are more preference than standard. I have a few “vows” that have managed to cross over into life with kids, and I asked you to join me in putting our stakes in the ground and to submit the “parenting vows” that you have managed to hold on to as well! Keep in mind, this is not an exhaustive list of rules or the “I Will Never’s,” but a more gracious list of the “I Will’s.”

Here’s what you had to say. Enjoy!

As a parent,

I WILL give my kids the good morning hug – EVERY MORNING!!!

I WILL pray with the kids before they walk out of the door for school. Even if I’m so irritated with their behavior that I want to pull my hair out. Maybe I should say ESPECIALLY when I’m so irritated.

I WILL ALWAYS dance with my children, no matter how loud they scream, beg and plead for me to stop!!

I WILL randomly enter their classrooms whether necessary or not.

I WILL never let the baby wear high waters in public, unless they actually look like capris!

I WILL ALWAYS let my daughter know she is valued and tell her I love her, no matter what.

I WILL make sure the kids go to the bathroom before leaving the house, even if they say they don’t have to go.

I WILL do the special (embarrassing) dance that is called the “birthday dance!” I will do it anywhere on a particular child’s birthday. I would do it when they were younger and I took cupcakes to school, and even now that we’ve clearly entered the tween phase, I still do it.

I WILL be honest with my children. Maybe not about how messed up I was before I had them because we all know our lives didn’t begin until they burst onto the scene! 😉 But I want to tell them things like, “That’s not the right top for you,” or “You really need to work on breath support before you try for the F#,” and anything else I could say to them before a “Simon Cowell” says it and crushes their spirit on national TV!

I WILL ALWAYS know the names of my daughter’s 3 best friends even if it means learning them every 3 days!

I WILL continue to decide my children’s outfits based on my body temperature at the moment.

There you have it and it’s not too late to add yours! Leave your “I WILLS” in the comment section below! There is comfort in getting them out there and you may even find a few to add to your stash.

I have, and now my poor kids don’t stand a chance! Thanks to your encouragement I will forever be the “dancing, hugging, truth-telling, praying momma, wearing a tank top in January as I enter their classroom and make them use the potty!”


A Dad’s Choice

I’m pushing my grocery cart through the Walmart parking lot, struggling to keep it moving in a straight line. Initially I’m annoyed. I’m thinking I happened upon the broken wheel cart that always seems to find me. Shots of pure joy start rushing through my head seconds later as I realize that all of the pressure I’m feeling is the weight of my four little girls situated all over the cart, inside and out. My five-year old won the fight with the two-year-old twins, so she is in the front. Her legs are dangling and kicking me with each swing. The twins are in the main compartment, alternating positions between sitting and standing, though I beg them with each stride to sit on their bottoms. My oldest, seven, is standing on the front bumper facing me, vacillating her head to see what could be behind her as we draw closer to the sliding glass doors.

The girls are full of anticipation and excitement, knowing that inside are all kinds of things to heighten their senses. The first thing they hear is the bell of the jovial Salvation Army volunteer. She is cheerfully singing, “We wish you a Merry Christmas,” beckoning them to join her. At first sight are “Barbies,” and “Bratz” conveniently lining the entry, waiting for a Mom or a Dad to give into child pressure. As we walk the isles looking for the shoe rack that we set out for, my girls cannot help but grab and pull every object within reach. I almost lose a twin as she refuses to let go of an ironing board. In the middle of this madness is my five-year old asking for a timeline and location for lunch, hoping she’ll hear the magic words; “McDonalds” or “Chick-Fil-A.”

From the moment I started breakfast until now, my senses are also heightened. My blood pressure rises and I experience anxiety, a bit of depression, and worry about the day. You see, my wife had left for a much-deserved day out with “the girls,” leaving me to decide what to do with the next 10 hours until I tuck them in.

Option 1: I send them upstairs to play “school” and go up every once in a while to appease and break up the fights that ensue. With this option I ease my conscience by eating lunch and dinner with them and giving them a minute of my time each time guilt sets in.

Option 2: I become intentional. I plan my day. Instead of determining that they are an inconvenience that gives me an excuse to languish, I consider them accessories that enhance the experience.

This day, I’m proud to say, I choose Option 2. Frustrating seconds become teachable moments. Wasted hours become an opportunity to bond with my daughters and subtly invade their time and space. They learn what Jesus looks like through my patience, discipline, sacrifice, and joy. I learn the essence of true love, which starts with my surrender and ends with ecstasy.

At midnight my wife walks in and asks “How was the day?” I smile and say, “It was good.” My heart is warm, and my daughter’s hearts are tender.

Dads (and Moms), I challenge you to take time to get to know your daughters over this break. They long to be known by us!


3 Tips to Strengthen Your Daughter’s Ability to Standout

The other day my four-year old, Kaity, randomly came to me and asked that I take her earrings out. When I asked her why, she responded with, “I don’t want them anymore. I just want the holes.” With a house full of girls, our fashion requests range from wearing skinny jeans with a tucked in shirt to wearing lime green tutus with red tights and purple boots! So a simple request to remove her earrings was easily granted!

About two days later when I picked Kaity up from school, she was dying for me to meet her new friend, Sophie. She went on and on about the various conversations and activities that she and Sophie shared that day. She was thrilled with her new friendship and I was excited for her! Later on that evening, while sitting at the dinner table Kaity said, “Sophie and I are twins. She has a pink coat and I have a pink coat. She has purple boots and I have purple boots. She doesn’t have any earrings just the holes, and I don’t have earrings just the holes.”

What I had just heard my four-year old express, very innocently, was that she desired to change something about herself in order “fit in” with her new friend, and it felt good.

Does this scene sound familiar?

She’s only four! Scary right?

The reality is at one point or another we all have or will experience this same pressure. Not just with our kids but in our own lives. We all like to fit it and feel accepted. It’s how we are wired as people. It hurts to be left out and can be lonely in life when we perceive ourselves as being different. However Romans 12:2, tells us that being different is exactly what Christ has called us to.

Empty ear lobes seem to be the very beginning for my Kaity, but surely not the end. Who our children choose as friends will inevitably impact, reinforce, change or challenge their value systems. As parents our job is to empower them to stand out by giving them something and Someone to stand for.

In lieu of this, and my recent earring-less situation; here are a few steps you can take towards helping your girls resist the urge to be like everyone else:

1.  Don’t judge her friends or make her feel bad for wanting to be friends with certain people. Telling her who she can and can’t be friends with, will likely cause resentment. Instead be intentional about getting to know them and their parents. Set up play dates, ask questions and show your daughter that you are interested in helping her cultivate true friendships.

2.  Help her to develop her identity in Christ. Show her in the scriptures what God has to say about who she is and why He created her. Having and knowing purpose helps to develop confidence and sustains character. Here are a few scriptures to start with (Also there is a special “Sprinkles Challenge” in our current issue using these scriptures)!

Psalm 17:8, Exodus 4:1, Matthew 10:30-31, Ephesians 2:10

3.   Broaden your daughter’s perspective and encourage her to have a wide variety of friends. Go as far as challenging her to befriend the new kid or the kid that plays alone at recess. Often we have an idea of who we want our kids to be friends with; the smart kids, the athletic kids, etc. Challenge her to broaden her circle of friends by setting the example. When you attend a school function, don’t venture off into your private mommy click, but find the new mom, the quiet mom, or the mom you you’ve never met!

One of my favorite quotes is from the book “Raising Kids For True Greatness” by Dr. Tim Kimmell. It says:

“God has not called us to raise safe kids; He’s called us to raise strong ones. He hasn’t called us to raise popular kids; He’s called us to raise spiritually potent ones.”

Also be sure to check out For Girls Like You Magazine. Our current issue is focused on self-image. Each article, activity and photo in this issue is dedicated to helping our girls discover who they are, embrace their differences and see themselves through God’s eyes!

Question:

Think about your daughter’s life, her friendships and her daily environment. Ask God to show you areas where she may be experiencing pressure to “fit in.” What practical things can you and will you do to help stand?