Monday David wrote a blog about Rites of Passage and our sons. If you’d like to read it you can find it here. Generally speaking more has been written about rites of passages for sons. In hindsight I wished I would have done a better job with my daughters and their rites of passage. It was not as popular for girls when they were coming of age and I just wish I would been a little more intentional. Here are six things a rite of passage will do for your daughter.
1) It officially welcomes them into the world of women. We have a chance to celebrate and welcome our daughters into a wonderful sisterhood of women i.e. mothers, sisters, grandmothers, aunties, nieces, daughters and friends. There is nothing quite like being with a group of women that we trust, respect and that inspire us to be better then we were before. We encourage each other, divide what is hard and share all that is good among us!!
2) It signals a change in the way we treat our daughters. There is a new and wonderful expectation as our daughters become women. They now have adult bodies, with adult abilities and adult drives. We do not stop parenting, but we do stop managing every part of their lives and allow natural consequences to do more of the teaching. We do more coaching then training. We build a relationship that is safe and open especially in places where we disagree or mistakes have been made. We want them to know we are on their side, we are for them and we love them no matter what.
3) It signals a change in the way our daughters treat us. We coach them to move into the adult world where people are honest and talk about hard things rather than going underground. We ask our daughters to own their part during disagreements and/or mistakes. We hope we are invited into the problem solving, but we are careful not to manipulate to get them to do what we want. It is a time to make sure our girls know we believe they are beautiful, smart and that God has a plan for their lives.
4) It ushers in a season for them to begin meeting with a mentor. This has been an important part of our parenting and it is especially important during this time in a girls life. She needs to know there are other women she can trust and confide in to help her solve problems, process big decisions or talk to her parents about hard things. We coach and pray with our girls through this relationship and what it looks like to be mentored.
5) It creates a natural turning point in the conversation about her sexuality. We want our girls to not just tolerate but be excited about being a girl. We have used “Preparing for Adolescence” by Dobson. Recently, we previewed “Passport to Purity” by Family Life and really liked it too. We want our girls to know this is the beginning of a wonderful and ongoing conversation and unwrapping about how their body works and God’s intention for their sexuality. We want them to know God’s design is about much more than just wait until marriage. I do the teaching and then David is available if the girls have questions about boys and what they think about girls.
6) Lastly, this becomes a defining moment for the girls and their relationship with their Heavenly Father. We talk about when they accepted Jesus and how their journey is going. We talk about what is hard, what they would like to do better and how we can be praying for them. We talk about how all of the above works together on this journey and what parts of this journey we can improve on. This is my favorite part of the rite of passage.
With two of my daughters recently
If you’re looking for a resource there is a book called “Raising a Modern Day Princess” that is a good template for rites of passage. With my girls this process started when they started their periods. I took them out with a small group of women that they knew and loved. We shared sometimes embarrassing, sometimes funny stories about our journeys of coming of age. Then I would take them to buy new underwear. Before this we’d already worked through the puberty book I mentioned above in #5 so they’d know what was going to happen and be fully prepared.
During our daughters senior year of high school David takes the girls out for a nice dinner and presents them with a ring. The ring is to remind them they are attached to a Dad and a family that loves and values them. He also asks for permission to help them protect their heart and what that looks like especially if they are going away to college. I also read about a family that asked 4-6 women to spend one day during their daughter’s senior year of high school. It was an opportunity for those women to share life experiences in a one on one setting. At the end of the year, they held a dinner to thank these women for their time and to give their daughter an opportunity to share what she had learned.
Lastly, during the week of their wedding, we have one last rite of passage. David has set it up. It’s one last opportunity for several key people in their life to speak truth to them. David talks about what a privilege and blessing it has been to parent them and how our role will change now to consultant. We want them to know our heart is to try really hard not to interfere with their family unless we are invited into conversations. We promise to support, love and journey with them. We want them to know we believe in them and God’s plan for them.
If you have daughters, what have you done with them? Did you do any Rites of Passage? If so I’d love to hear your stories.