Thursday, October 22, 2009

Girlfriend wars?

On the way to our homeschool co-op, I heard a snippet of a radio program.. "the difficulties of friendships between women.. Oh, so difficult.."

I thought, "This is odd. Why should people who are Christians have difficulty with friends?"

So, I dismissed the thought. As far as I knew, this was just a little something in some circles.

So, I'm at the co-op, and I meet up with a friend and we start chatting.

"My daughter is fighting with a girl, what should I do about it?"

I remembered the radio program, and said in my heart, "Thanks Lord, for the heads up."

The whole thing got me thinking. Why do Christian girls need to fight? What's the big deal anyway?

Younger girls seem to fight over:

boys--one boy likes a girl one day and then likes a different girl the next..

friends--one girl is close to a friend one day and then a different friend the next..

stuff--one girl has more stuff, friends, popularity etc. and the other girls are jealous.

And it seems like the older girls seem to have more grown up versions of what happens when they are teens, except it involves cup size and waistline, opportunities and retirement plans, and granite countertops and vaulted ceilings.

You THINK we would grow out of this as we get older.

I think it was in the THIRD grade that I realized the "popularity" concept. There wasn't just kids at school, there were "popular" kids that everyone wanted to be around. Suddenly everyone who wasn't "in" felt "out". And then there were groups of "in" kids and "out" kids..

And as soon as there's something intangible that everyone wants, then there's desperate grasping for it. All of these young people seem to forget decency, order and normal ways to make friends. They forget that every person has value. They forget that just because more than one person wants something, it does not mean that they should want it also.

The Bible says: where do wars and fightings come from among you? from your lusts. (my paraphrase James)

A lust is simply wanting something that you can't have. We think of lust like sexual lust, which may or may not be a part of the third grade mentality. The lust that most women have involves something less tangible than a sexual thing. And these young girls learn it well.. lusting to be popular.. lusting to have nice clothes... lusting for approval from their peers..

And it's this third grade mentality lust that causes kids to do dumb things like:

hang out with kids who do not like them, in order to gail their approval,

wear immodest clothing

try dumb things like drinking and drugs

and participate in pre-marital sex

In the older woman, the third grade mentality takes on new forms, but they are just variations of the teenage problems.

If our kids are fighting with other kids, we may want to ask the question: what do you want that they have? or what do you have that they want? Can you share it? Can you share your friends?

And if it's a boy. What are you doing with boys at this age anyway?

You know, I've never laid down laws for my children about dating. We have just talked about it since they were young.

We've talked about marriage, not dating.

Don't date (courtship) until you are ready for marriage.

For my boys, I have said, "Are you ready to support a wife?" The answer is "no" (I think they were 12 when I asked them) "Good. Then don't think about girls until you are.."

For my daughter, it is a little bit different.

So, I asked her, "Let's say someone came to us and said, I'd like to date your daughter.."

She said, "that's fine. But they are going to have to wait until I'm 23 or so."

Let's see. She's 15, and that's probably a good place to be when you are 15. She is a pretty gal, and as sweet as the day is long. Thankfully, she's oblivious to the second glances she gets from the godly young men in her path. And our boys? I think one of them makes it his goal to be as rude as possible to girls, just to avoid the issue. The younger boys? Not sure yet. I can say this. I doubt girls are fighting over them at the moment.

Parents! Resist the urge to give in to their lusts! Don't let them play the popularity wars. What a blessed, uncluttered life you will both have!

And ask yourself, as a parent, do I have a lifestyle of lusting over what I can't have? Am I modeling this third grade mentality or can I be content with what friendships and things that I have? Can I be content when all the "cool people" are doing something and I'm sitting at home picking my nose? or trying to reach out to the unloved?


kristilea said...

Friendships can be great, and they can be devastating. I think it's all about teaching your children how to be close to the right people, and be kind, but not yoked with the wrong people. And by right, I mean those who hold our own values and characteristics. Friends that will bring you up, and not drag you down. Friends that will put your feelings in front of their own. I think a lot of people, women especially have forgotten what it means to be a true friend. I recently brought an issue to a Christian friend who attends our church, and was SHOCKED at her grade school-unchristian like response. I thought those things were over with when you got out of school...boy was I wrong! I'm still in shock over it. It's so sad. I'm just glad I don't still have that gradeschool mentality and the Lord is helping me through this.

I just hope I can teach my children how to make the right choices in their friends as they grow. The old saying "you are who you're with" is so true.

Organizing Mommy said...

Kristilea, I thought there might be a few adults out there could relate to the third grade mentality, even in their own current circumstances. It's sad, isn't it? Where is Christ in this?

Mrs. Parunak said...

Great thoughts! That whole idea about lust is a wonderful one to teach our children even when they're fighting amongst themselves.

Kathryn said...

Learning to negotiate a number of different folks who relate/respond to others in different ways is part of growing up. It is good when children can have such a loving, healthy family to support them.

Growing up i heard the "don't date until you are ready to marry" admonition. Let me present the other side of the coin, however.

I didn't date in HS. I moved away from my parents' home 2 weeks after i turned 18. Our home had not been healthy, did not teach me what an adult needs to know (i'm still trying to learn some of it) & i didn't know anything about boundaries.

While my family certainly was not perfect, having it there would have given me some protection/boundaries in the dating arena.

To be 18, on my own, (desperately wanting to be married & have a loving family), & totally clueless about the opposite sex (i had only sisters) & no idea about healthy boundaries, is a recipe for disaster.

I don't expect any of your kids will have such challenges. From all you have written you have done a lot toward raising healthy children who are loved & will know their own value. They won't likely have to try & figure it out on their own 'cause they'll already know.

There are some reasons to date before being ready to marry. To learn about other folks is one of them.

Herding Grasshoppers said...

I think with boys, (I have three), we deal with different issues. Like, LOTS of competition!

All parents have our work cut out for us in teaching our kids how to BE friends and how to CHOOSE friends.

Organizing Mommy said...


Thanks for giving me the benefit of the doubt! No, I do not have it all together in these issues. I am hoping to guide our children through these issues rather than letting them fend for themselves. But I'm sure that the "fun" will start soon enough!

We talk about stuff often--especially with my daughter. I appreciate your perspective!

Organizing Mommy said...

Julie: Competitive is part of being a boy, isn't it?
They tend not to get overly emotional about friendships, which is very convenient, in my mind.