Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Day with Normal Teenage Girls

Whenever people who do not know our family hear that we have a teenage daughter, invariably the eyeballs roll. Perhaps an elbow nudge and a chuckle and a "Oh, I feel so sorry for you" will accompany the first reaction.

What is it that people are assuming? Attitude. Sass. An obsession with boys, or clothes, or makeup, or shopping, or being on the phone all the time, or behaving like Hanna Montana, lies, sneaking...

I've seen it all. On TV.

But for some reason, I wasn't like that (although I was a good bit more boy crazy than my daughters seem to be) and neither are my girls.

And I think they are normal. Let me explain. I contend that the above list, which no adult really likes, is not a normal way for young teenage girls to act. This is the "Lord of the Flies" meets "Mean Girls" meets...something socialized. But I don't think it's normal.

Somebody out there wants young teenage girls to become consumers and to want stuff and to become sexualized...but I contend that it's not normal to human development.

The testimony of history would point to a greater degree of innocence in young teens than they generally get credit for these days. I'm thinking of the books By the Shores of Silver Lake, Little Town on the Prarie, Little Women, and numerous other "classics" that illustrate a different vision of what used to be known as "girlhood" than what is common today.

Just this past weekend, my girls had a friend for a sleepover. They did sleepoverish things, stayed up too late, made some bead crafts, played board games, knitted, played hide and seek, and sardines, and watched a movie. I baked cookies, we sat down for lunch and supper together where everyone was delightfully polite, and ended the day at Vespers for prayers.

Not once did I hear mention of boys, shopping, fashion, kissing, makeup, or anything like that. The time was a peaceful picture of innocence. And it made me think: This is normal and healthy for young teenage girls. This is the way it should be.

I'm glad I home school my girls.


elizabeth said...

really enjoyed this post. how wonderful it is; thank God for such innocence...

eeyore979 said...

I agree Alana. I have said to my co-workers that I never remember being like the young girls of today. It is really a fast food society. All of a sudden the character Verruca Salt comes to mind. I am grateful that my mom taught me well, that it is far better to have a strong sense of self worth than to be worldly.

Xenia Kathryn said...

Wonderful post, Alana! Kudos for reminding us what NORMAL really is! Today's standard seems to be the expected "norm", and as a mom to two young girls, I'm just not willing to accept that. Thanks for validating such a conviction... I was beginning to think I was crazy. Lord have mercy.

amberpeace said...

I always like to think about what it was like before adolecence was considered something - where you went from being a little kid to an adult all of a sudden. My grandmother was married at 16, my great-grandmother at 14. Both were capable housewives and mothers (well if you minus the bipolar in my grandmother). My 16 and 15 year old sisters? They can't handle the concept of eating food you don't like and that driving costs money.

Theodora said...

Great call, Alana!

And I think it goes even further than teenager-hood:

"Suffering" is normal. "Sturm und drang" is not. Thanks for the reminder.