Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Books To Read With Your Girls

Books were my very first love. As a young girl, my mom gave me Little House on the Prairie, Little Women, Caddie Woodlawn, and Elsie Dinsmore which led me to love literature and the ideas the authors took the time to embed in their works. I still read compulsively, but the ideas my mom taught me through the books she gave me laid the groundwork for the worldview I embraced. 

In the Age of Technology many things have been lost like reading together as a family. This is something I want to keep alive. Even now I read with my husband and hope to share Narnia and Middle Earth with my children. There were so many books we read together as a family, and here are three of them  I hope will inspire conversations in your home.  They are filled with the stories of real women who had wisdom, godliness, and strength and a biblical understanding of femininity. 

1) Beautiful Girlhood
  In 1922 Mabel Hale wrote thirty three lessons ranging from word choices and honesty to cultivating a pure heart and consecrated life. This woman has compiled a guideline for living that is both charming and filled with truth. The book starts at the beginning of a girl’s awakening comparing her to a rosebud blossoming and  encourage girls not to blossom too quickly. As the book progresses character development is encouraged at all stages of blooming. Adolescence, romance, Christianity, life work, purpose, and their progress through womanhood and motherhood are explained and the struggles at each stage are discussed.

     My mom read this book to me when I was younger, my best friend and I read it together when we wanted to hold each other accountable, and now my sisters are listening and talking about it. Mrs Hale helps to give each reader a sense of true beauty in proper care, virtue, and purpose. She encourages care for others and the proper nurturing of every relationship. She carefully differentiates between character and attributes that have come to pass as character like cutting remarks passing as frankness and sincerity. 

2) Daughters of Destiny
     I’ve had so many adventures with this book. When I was eleven I remember crawling up in a tree to read about my favorite women, those I wanted to be like, and those who I knew would be my best friends.  

   This book has the biographies of seventy five other women who lived well, whose lives honored God and who we should try to emulate. While Lady Jane is the woman I would most like to know and befriend, there are wives, mothers, princesses, queens, peasants, writers, and first ladies who go above and beyond what anyone would expect of them. My other favorites are Catherine Von Bora, Edith of Scotland, Queen Victoria, Mrs Merrill, and Mrs Parker. The last two were Pioneer women who fought Indians for their families and forged through the wilderness to keep them alive. This book does not finish a story, but encourages the reader to live lives that are honoring to God, faithful in all things, and true to the purpose God has for them. Every story encouraged me to look deeper into the lives of the women who lived them and sparked part of my love of history and biography.  

     It reminds us that our lives are stories as well and will be told someday before God.

3) Created For Work
Bob Schultz, the author, understands the purpose of God’s creation. He taught faithfulness through carpentry, excellence through winterizing, endurance through logging, and watchfulness through his sheepdog. While it is written for young men, it applies to every one. The application is in the heart and this man turns our hearts towards God and his goodness. 

I still remember my dad reading the last chapter around the same time of the last Presidential election. The final thought was that we are responsible for the work that is given to us and God will take care of the rest. It is difficult to trust Him, but part of the work we are given is to be faithful to the task at hand and not be anxious about those things God has other people handling. 

These three books communicate simply what it is to be a woman through timeless principles. In the words of Mrs Hale, “We are all provided with means by which we may become acquainted with those who have moved earth’s masses most, whose lives have influenced most people for good, knowing the very motives and desires of their hearts, and learning exactly what their opinions were or are.  The medium for all this wonderful knowledge is the printed page.”


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