How to Raise a Confident Daughter

Raise a Confident Daughter

The school bus lumbered down the road that morning, carrying the few dozen of us to our prospective schools. My friend sat beside me, chattering away. At one point she flipped her white-blond hair over her shoulder and said, “We could have a special club, just for girls with blonde hair! Except, well, yours is more of a dirty blond, not perfect blonde, like mine.”

At nine years old I knew what she was doing, offering me an insult to make herself feel better. It stung a bit.  But there was a voice that spoke much louder in my life than hers. A voice that echoed in my memories, even years later on a school bus.

 —

I don’t know why my dad brushed my hair that morning. Usually it was Mama who sat me down, pulled the tangles out and braided it. But that particular morning it was Papa who sat behind me. He talked quietly about this and that while he worked, then stopped. “Wait right here,” he told me, “don’t move an inch.”

In a few minutes he was back with a camera. He snapped a photograph of the way the sun broke through the window and warmed the back of my head. “Your hair is beautiful, Tashie-girl,” he told me, “it looks just like spun gold in the sunlight.”

—-

As the school bus meandered down East Hill, I just shrugged at my friend’s comment, “My dad says my hair is the color of spun gold.” The girl with the white-blond hair didn’t have an answer to that and I don’t think we ever discussed hair color again.

I still have the picture, you know.  And I have other photographs from other days.

I really did have dirty blond hair. It wasn’t spectacular. It wasn’t extra special. But Papa didn’t lie to me either, because the golden rays of sunlight really did make my drab dirty-blond hair look like glittering spun gold.

And I was extra special to him. Spectacular, even. I was his. And he established the authority to speak into my life by laying down a foundation of confidence.  I didn’t have to wonder who I was. I knew.

When high school came and went, I faced the same questions that every teenage girl does. I grew awkward and frumpy.  My hair frizzed and darkened. It wasn’t even dirty blond any more and it wasn’t really brown either. It just was.

I came to the harsh realization that I was never going to be one of the “pretty girls” who made all the guys take a second look. I was just regular old me. Kinda short. Kinda round.

But I never looked into the mirror without hearing my parent’s voices.

Your eyes are so blue, Tashie-girl. They glitter when you smile.
Your hair is getting curly! All those ringlets.
Your Mama is so beautiful and you’re going to look just like her.
Your laugh can light up a room. 

 

They didn’t just rain praises down on me, they looked at me realistically. They only spoke truth. They corrected me when I was wrong, disciplined me when I was defiant, and encouraged me to acknowledge my own sinfulness and need for a Savior.

But they also made their opinions about my worth known. Not just about my looks, but about my abilities, my talents, my intelligence.  And when I stepped out into the world, I wasn’t a whirlwind of self-depreciation. I was confident.

Parents, when your children are young your words speak the loudest.

What are you going to tell them? What kind of foundation are you laying?

Speak truth and make sure you’re speaking all of the truth. Don’t ignore their weaknesses or overlook where they need correction, but grab onto their strengths and carefully, brick-by-brick, lay a foundation for them.

When they face life, when the kids at school pick on them, when they’re interviewing for a job, when they face suffering and loss– when the enemy feeds them lies, whispering that they are worthless and unwanted— it just might be that the words and actions you’ve laid into their lives will give them the knowledge they need to overcome.

 

 

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12 thoughts on “How to Raise a Confident Daughter

  1. Wow… now I feel all teary. I need to pray for the Lord to bring back better memories than the ones that instantly come to mind when I read this post…
    I think it’s hard for some parents to compliment their children because they’re afraid it’ll make them “big-headed”, or because they feel like its subtly complimenting themselves. I don’t know…
    Thank you for this. It encourages me to keep “lavishing the love” on my kiddos.

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    • It’s true, Jessiqua, and there is probably a fine line– but I think the key is found in always speaking truth. I definitely felt like my parents were able to show me that I was valuable and had great worth, but based it on the fact that I was created by God for God, not that I was something great in myself. Does that make sense?

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      • That makes sense, and I completely agree. I thought the whole post was awesome. And the clarification was even better.
        When I mentioned memories, I was talking about my own childhood memories. My parents were REALLY good about not calling me names and stuff, but when it came to good things to say about me, I remember a lot of silence. (some nice things too, but mostly silence)
        Silence is very easily misunderstood….
        Nowadays things are better. My parents have changed a lot over the years, and they’re much more verbally affirming now that I’m an adult. (they’re better with my siblings too) But somehow there’s still a hole there from my childhood?
        Weirdness.
        Another one of those things to forgive and learn from. 🙂

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    • Very well put– “Silence is often misunderstood”… especially during the years when our understanding of the world around us is developing.

      And yay! for more heads of spun gold… 🙂

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  2. thank you for todays post….everything you said was so encouraging to speak with my children…..how Blessed you are to have parents that have a relationship with our LORD and raised you in a GOD Loving household……Thanks again for writing it…..Michele

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  3. Love your writing Tasha, and especially loved this post. Talk about a walk down memory lane…”east hill road”, and I remember you always calling your dad pappa and your family calling you Tashie. I had so many fun “play times” with you at ABI. 🙂 I too had a wonderful earthly father who instilled in me so much confidence and love. I feel so blessed, fortunate and grateful. Hugs! xoxo!

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