Mom taught us all she knew about managing a home, but aware of her own limitations, she also positioned us to learn from others. Where she saw gaps in her own gifting or skills, she sought out other women to help fill them in for us.
For example, Mom can sew a button, but she can’t make a dress or even an apron. So she asked a gifted lady in the church to give Nicole and me sewing lessons. She also enrolled us in several domestic classes offered through the county. These were fun memories! We especially loved the cooking classes where we collected recipes that are still family favorites (Minestrone Soup by a real Italian! Mmmmm…..).
Some of the classes also revealed ways in which I was not gifted. I’m thinking of the bow-making class here. A very nice lady did her best to teach us how to make beautiful bows to place on wrapped packages, but somehow mine never turned out! To this day, I have my sisters tie all the bows on my Christmas gifts (or put them in those handy gift bags with tissue paper!) and they teasingly ask, “weren’t you the one who took the bow-making class?”
But some of the homemaking lessons did stick (unlike my bows!)—in particular, I found a love of cooking through the classes that we took. I’m no gourmet, but was inspired by the skilled women I learned from.
The point is that by enlisting the help of others in your daughter’s homemaking training you can shore up areas where you are weak and help her see where she might need help as well. But more positively, training from others can reveal strengths you didn’t know she had, and most of all you can make a lot of fun memories!
So, after monitoring our daughter’s hearts and prioritizing time in the home, we need to train them in all the nitty-gritty daily tasks of homemaking.
I’ll offer one or two simple suggestions from what my mom did with my two sisters and me (since I don’t have girls of my own!). I’m sure there are many more creative ideas out there, but I hope these will get you started….
First, Mom brought us into her day and taught us along the way. There are so many things we do as moms, probably without even thinking about it, that need to be learned: the cooking, laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping, caring for the children and the like. Mom took the time necessary to train us how to do each one of these tasks. She showed us how to separate the darks from the lights and remove stains from the clothes, how to put a meal together so everything is ready at the same time, and how to care for our little brother. She encouraged us be in the kitchen trying new recipes. She involved us (ok, required is probably more the idea here!) in cleaning the house. We all scrubbed the floors together and had our area of the bathroom to clean.
When I was older, my mom even had me practice managing the home on my own. For a few weeks I was in charge of the meal planning and the cooking and the shopping and the laundry. It’s one thing to know how to complete these tasks and quite another to keep them all going at the same time!
Now I know what you may be thinking (at least it’s what I’m thinking as I imagine my boys helping me around the house!): It’s easier to do it myself! Not only easier, it’s more effective and takes far less time! This may be the case, but can I encourage you to take the time and make the sacrifices necessary to train your daughter? It may be more work in the short term but it is an investment well worth making.
More thoughts tomorrow….
Chrystal, a friend from church, sent me today’s Friday Funny. She received an email from a co-worker with this picture and a note:
“So there I was . . . just relaxing in front of the T.V. when the kids yelled, ‘Hey Mom, come see the kittens.’ Better stock up on lots of tomato juice. ”
See you Monday unless Janelle goes into labor this weekend.
Nicole for the girls
How do we train daughters to be future homemakers? Let’s get practical. For starters, I’d like to suggest that we train them to love the home by having them spend time in the home. Sounds pretty obvious, right? It may be, but in the culture we live in, this doesn’t happen without being intentional. There are so many wonderful opportunities for young women just outside their doorstep. Without intentional planning they can easily fill up their calendar with outside activities and have very little time left over to spend with family and develop skills in the home.
As my sisters and I were growing up, my mom kept a close watch on our activities outside the home. Now don’t misunderstand—we did plenty of stuff outside the home! We went to school, worked jobs, hung out with friends, served in the church and community. We were busy girls and Mom was a busy chauffer! But she was careful not to allow these good activities to take up all of our time. She made sure the home was not only a priority in our hearts but in practice as well.
For starters, family nights once a week were a non-negotiable. Faithful attendance at family dinner was a priority as well. We also had regular chores and responsibilities, time with Dad and Mom and our siblings, times of homemaking training, and other important activities such as reading or learning a craft or skill. Mom even helped us carve out time for simply being at home—no agenda necessary, just being there. There were also seasons when we would work part time, take a lighter load at school, pull back from various activities to focus our attention more exclusively on home pursuits. Looking back, these times are some of my most precious memories as a young woman.
The world that is opening up to a young woman is full of exciting opportunities and adventures—many of them very good. But homemaking isn’t always exciting, and it’s almost always in secret. If a young woman hasn’t learned to labor faithfully, behind the scenes, day in and day out, marriage and motherhood is going to be a rude awakening.
If Mom said it once, she said it a thousand times: You can’t learn to love the home if you’re not in the home, and you’re not going to automatically love the home as a wife and mother if you don’t start with the home and family God has given you now.
Thanks Mom, for home time. I love it more than ever now!
I’m interrupting the homemaking series with a baby watch update….
Another visit to the doctor yesterday. I’m now 3 to 4 centimeters and in the words of my doc, “girlie’s head is very, very low”. She thinks things will go fast when the time comes. But who knows, these things never go the way you expect. I haven’t packed a bag or anything. I just told Mike if I’m in too much pain to think, make sure to grab my fan and my camera. What more could I need? I would do the epidural at home too if it was possible, but I guess that needs to be left to the pros. Prayers for no c-section this time around would be much appreciated! We will begin posting as soon as anything happens (day or night).
As we talk about training future homemakers, I must clarify that this isn’t all we are training our daughters to do. There are many vital aspects of our daughters’ education and character development that are important for their future. But we’re focusing exclusively on homemaking this week for two reasons: 1. It should be a priority in every daughter’s training (because it is a biblical priority) and 2. Sadly, it is an oft-neglected priority in the church today. Oh, and I almost forgot a third reason we picked this topic to discuss—because so many of you humble moms asked us to!
These thoughts from Tedd and Margy Tripp put the importance of our homemaking training in perspective:
“Life is a classroom. It truly is. Teaching and learning are in process twenty-four hours a day. Here’s the danger! In the absence of biblical formative instruction, secular formative instructors take over. Our hearts are easily captivated by the hollow and deceptive philosophies of a godless culture (Col.2:8). The majority culture interprets life through unregenerate eyes and promotes its conclusions through various means, from advertising to education. It is like the air you breathe; you breathe it in without noticing it! So do our children! The formative instruction of our secular culture is a frightening reality. How can parents compete with the world for the minds and hearts of their children?” (Instructing a Child’s Heart)
What an urgent question! How can we as mothers compete for the minds and hearts of our daughters with a world that shows (as one author put it) “a disdain of domesticity and a contempt for housewives”?
The answer: We must pay close attention to what captures our daughter’s heart. For, as it says in Proverbs 4:23, “from [the heart] flow the springs of life.”
We must ask “What is my daughter most excited about? What captures her imagination? What are her desires and dreams for her future? Is she more eager to be with friends than to be with family? Would she rather pursue activities outside of the home rather than endeavors in the home? Who does she admire more—faithful homemakers or worldly women?”
As moms it is our job to carefully monitor our daughters’ hearts. If we sense their enthusiasm for family and home waning, we must skillfully reorient their affections back toward family and home.
There were certain seasons I observed this happening with each of my daughters during the teen years. So we talked about it. In fact we had many conversations about this topic. Long conversations.
I asked my daughters questions (like those listed above) about their hearts. Then we looked at what Scripture had to say about the importance of the home. (Books and resources were very helpful here.). Then there were more loving yet probing questions about what they learned from Scripture and how it applied to their own hearts.
Over time, with much talking, I saw each of my daughter’s heart for the home and desire to be with our family grow and flourish. But it took more than just talking. Tomorrow we’ll consider some practical steps to train our daughters to be homemakers.
As I promised yesterday, we’re going to talk about how to train our daughters to be homemakers. So many of you asked this question during our Homemaking series, but we ran out of time to talk about it before vacation. We girls have stuff to share on this topic, but as usual, the wisdom is all Mom’s.
Like any aspect of parenting, effective training begins with our example. If we truly prize our role in the home and serve with faithfulness and joy, our daughters cannot fail to notice. Our grandmother Margaret’s example of love for her home was a primary influence in Mom’s life, and we’re so grateful she passed that legacy to us.
On the other hand, our lack of love for the home will also leave an impression. Children are perceptive; they can tell when something is important to us or not. We can’t tell them to make the home a priority if we haven’t first done so ourselves.
Example is essential, but not everything. We also must train our daughters for the most important career of their lifetime. This training begins in earnest in the tween/teen years. So all you mothers of toddlers, you can breathe a sigh of relief. No need to add a homemaking track to your already busy days. Right now it’s all about obedience. As you train your daughter to obey, you are laying a foundation for homemaking training in later years.
But it’s never too early to encourage domestic pursuits…and no doubt, you’ve already noticed your daughter imitate you as you clean or cook or
talk on the phone. Encourage her! Buy her a kitchen set! Assign her chores!
A brief aside: don’t try this with sons. Homemaking is what John Angell James calls “a woman’s mission.” Sons have a different career to prepare for. Sure, I make Jack do chores around the house and I’ll teach him to cook Ramen noodles and make his bed. But I want him to learn to kill a lion or a bear. I want to help my husband prepare him to some day provide for and lead a family. He wasn’t created to be a corner pillar (Ps. 144:12) so I’m not trying to fashion him into one. That honor is reserved for my little girl.
Finally, consider, what are your hopes and dreams for your daughter? What do you want her to be when she grows up? If our daughters’ success in the world’s eyes is more important to us than their success in the home, we will fail to impart a biblical perspective. But if we long for our daughters to glorify God as homemakers, then by His grace they’ll catch that vision too.
My toddler Tori is a happy and fearless sixteen month old. She has a grin as wide as her face and a reckless determination to get her way. I wonder what she’ll be like at sixteen years old. The very thought is an inducement to prayer!
This morning Steve read me a prayer from Psalm 144:12 that I plan to make my own for Tori (and Jack, of course): “May our sons in their youth be like plants full grown, our daughters like corner pillars cut for a structure of a palace.”
What a beautiful prayer to shape our hopes and dreams for our daughters—that they may be like “corner pillars cut for a structure of a palace.” It’s a striking image of a woman’s role as fleshed out in Proverbs 31 and Titus 2. This verse pictures young women “both occupying a secure position in the building and at the same time giving stability to the building in which they are themselves secure—the position of the wife and mother in a well-ordered society” (The New Bible Commentary). Or, more simply, as “the supports and the ornaments of domestic life” (John Pye Smith).
My prayer for Tori is first and foremost that God would save her sinful soul. But I also pray that, whether single or married, He would help me fashion her as a “support and ornament of domestic life.” That by the age of sixteen she would be a holy, humble, happy, home-loving girl.
Not only is this my prayer, but it will also be the focus of my training. And that’s the subject of our posts this week (at your request). How do we train our daughters to be competent homemakers, to give stability to the family in which they themselves are stable?
More thoughts to come….
Just one lollipop wasn’t enough…
I had such fun taking pics of the fam on the vacation that I thought I’d finish out the week by sharing a few more of them with you…