This post hopefully will be a blessing and an encouragement to each of you who work with teenage or pre-teen girls, or ever struggled with self-confidence issues growing up (or when you are 33 like me).
Shape is a fitness/healthy living magazine which I love to peruse. I also like to still read according to Scripture – taking every thought captive to the Word of God. (Col 3.1-4)
The Precious Center for Teen Leadership was opened recently in New York as a free camp (backed by Fresh Air) to teach young girls confidence and leadership in how to pursue their dreams.
Shape was invited in to teach the girls healthy living tips, confidence tips, healthy eating tips, workouts they could do, etc.
On the front level, I am all for what they do at this camp. They teach girls about being confident, speaking right, being an inspiration, knowing how to read and write and better their education, enriching their lives, learning how to be healthy, and even how to make a healthy pizza and what to do about acne. These are all good things.
Here is what I struggle with programs like these (not saying that this Fresh Air camp does these, because I have no experience, just some programs that are out there may teach these things):
1. Teaching women to be leaders. I’m so glad I had men of God instill leadership traits in me when I was growing up. I also wish though that people would have taught me that it is ok to be a wife and a mother and I don’t have to have a career to be successful. I don’t know if I’ve heard that taught at self-confidence booster seminars for teen girls. Even outside the church, mothers need to be seen as vital important parts of society – which they are. Don’t most award winners and football players thank their mammas?
2. Fitness and diet. I don’t like the idea of teaching young teenage girls that you have to be thin. Taking my own life for example, I was heavy all the way through high school. My Mom constantly told me I would be happier if I lost weight, that didn’t help. These girls do not need to learn at such an early age that being thin should make you confident. I do believe we should teach children (and their parents) about healthy living and healthy food choices, but not that what size they are determines how successful you. They get enough of that from their parents, television, and other magazines.
How about we do this? Teach the young women in our sphere of influence that they are created precious and perfect and in God’s image, created to be woman, and we are of equal worth with men in the sight of God. (Genesis 1.26-31).
How about we teach moms and daughters (and families) to eat healthy and get exercise and stay fit as a family?
How about we teach teen girls that being a mother and a wife is just as important in our society as being a CEO or the best hairstylist in the county. How about we teach them that if they don’t get married when they are 18-25, it is ok, and that doesn’t mean they are second rate?
How about we love these girls with the love of Christ no matter their size? How about they hear words of affirmation and encouragement and love instead of wanting them to change or be thinner or prettier or more stylish? (Eph 4.29)
This would definitely help our teenage girls. Show them to treasure Christ above being confident, healthy, or skinny, or successful. Teach them that Christ loves them and died for them to show His glory through them?
I like that.