In the world of snapchat, instagram, facebook, and twitter, how do we raise girls who know their worth? Thousands of pictures scroll before their eyes daily. How can we instill in them the barometer of what is a good picture to post and what is not?
First we have our conscience. Deep down, moms know what is right and what is not. But it’s easy for those lines to become fuzzy and blurred. The stronger the personality of your teen, the easier it is to allow guardrails that somehow have gaps.
Our family used to live in Lake Arrowhead, California on a high mountain. In the wintertime, the road to the top become dangerously obscured by fog. In most areas, the guardrails protected drivers from being unable to see and plunging off the steep cliff. One night while following each other home, my husband and I got trapped in such thick fog we could not see the center line of the road. There were many places along the way where the guardrail gapped — offering no protection. One wrong turn on a slick of ice could send us plunging to our death.
Terrified, I had only two guides: I followed the dimly lit white line on my right, and followed my husband who traveled ahead of me.
In the fog, we can’t see but a few feet in front of us. We have to trust the tail lights; we have to trust the white line on the darkened road. But one thing’s for sure: it’s not good for there to be gaps in the guardrails. This was one of the reasons we moved off that mountain — knowing our kids would become teenagers and would have to drive up and down that dangerous road concerned us.
We live in Texas now and some nights fill with fog of a different kind. Sometimes there are gaps in the guardrails or fuzzy lines and as parents we realize, this is not good for us or our children.
I’ve been guilty of leaving gaps in the guardrails and allowing fuzzy lines.
So what is the will of God when it comes to boundaries with our kids?
The will of God is that we clearly mark the road out for them, putting protection on both sides.
“Train your child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).
Sometimes this means hard lines and clear boundaries. With the advent of social media, they often don’t know the impact of their pictures published on the internet.
But we do. I do. It can be a tough pill to swallow — as they say, a picture speaks a thousand words.
Pictures say a lot about us. They are not who we are — but they can tell others what we value. Since what we focus on gets bigger, when we post, we can teach our kids to ask themselves, “What’s the focus here?” A good way to help them see the focus is to have them ask their parents or grandparents, “What do you think about me posting this picture? What do you see?”
The truth is, teens ask their friends. But in our experience, Dads are the best source. Dads look through the lens of guidance. Dads are the ones we follow when the road gets foggy. Dad’s aren’t afraid to post guardrails, and warn our children about the dangers in the gaps.
My husband looks through the male lens of leadership. That’s what Dads do: their hearts are made to provide protection, security, and safety for their families.
So when a picture speaks a thousand words, I say, when in doubt, ask Dad. He will lead and guide our kids in the right way. Good dads will give us their honest opinion, reinforce the guardrails, and guide us to safety.
This is the will of God : that a man covers his family. And there’s protection under cover.
Recently I had an opportunity to talk about the impact of pictures on my life, and turn my story into a message for good. So when Eloquent Magazine asked to put me on the cover, I said yes. Life comes full circle. You can check it out here.
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
At the age of 18, I was recovering from an eating disorder, cutting, and suicide when I read Jennifer Strickland’s book Girl Perfect and it changed my life. At the age of 33, as I travel the world reaching youth for the gospel, this is the only book I recommend to girls who are struggling. The Lord has truly anointed Jennifer’s words through her story, not only to address the struggles of today’s generation of girls, but also to walk them through the healing necessary for victory.
Jennifer is a captivating speaker. She keeps the listener hanging in wonder of what’s coming next! Her presentation is not only absorbing, it reveals the truth of God’s power to heal a wounded spirit.
Barbara Brown, Former Stonecroft Ministries Regional Representative, San Diego, CA
“The ‘P’ word [perfection] may be the heaviest burden women bear. All the misguided things we do to attain it can keep us away from what we need most – the unconditional love of God the Father. The Girl Perfect Study Guide gives you a map to the wholeness you were created for.”
Nancy Ortberg, author and former teaching pastor at Willow Creek Community Church
“The Girl Perfect Study Guide shatters the lies girls and women believe and points to the ultimate truth, which really does set us free. I am confident that this study will help thousands discover a beauty, purpose, and worth that truly lasts. Thank you Jen for exposing the ‘perfect life’ and inviting girls to experience God’s ‘perfect love.'”
Allie Marie Smith
Allie Marie Smith, Founder of Wonderfully Made
One of the best testaments to what Jennifer is doing for the young girls and women of today is a comment from my eleven-year-old granddaughter: “Grammy, I want to read this book and hear her again. She’s good and I learned a lot.” This is exactly what I experienced from a grown-up perspective when I was introduced to Jennifer Strickland’s amazing story. Read it and see if you don’t get the real story from an icon model and a powerful speaker of truth.”