I want your daughter to have some vanity. Please. You really do too.
For you who have sons, the same.
I received a text from one of the moms from my church over the anxiety of two teen girls taking pictures of her adorable son. She felt impending fear. My answer is if her son is raised with some vanity, such girls will not become the definer of his identity.
Vanity sounds like this is a trait we don’t want to pass on to our teens. A natural part of adolescent development is Personal Fable or a belief held by many adolescents telling them that they are special and unique, so much so that none of life’s difficulties or problems will affect them regardless of their behavior. Teens don’t need any more encouragement of how special they are!
Yes, they do actually. Vanity is not hubris. I’m talking about your teen knowing deep to his/her toes that he/she is specially created, specially wanted, and is God’s child so he/she will make decisions for her life protecting this vanity that is his/her birthright.
Let me explain further my advice to that mom of that cute teen son. If he knows his identity is God’s child and that worthiness is his birthright, every girl in the world can chase after him and he won’t be swayed by them. His identity is not in how many girls he can get to look his way. His identity is assuredly in Christ.
And won’t he make a great match when he gets older?!
Also consider this wow advice from brilliant Bible teacher Jen Wilkins:
Here’s the problem with shotgun jokes and applications posted on the fridge: to anyone paying attention, they announce that you fully expect your daughter to have poor judgment. Be assured that your daughter is paying attention. And don’t be shocked if she meets your expectation. You might want to worry less about terrorizing or retro-fitting prospective suitors and worry more about preparing your daughter to choose wisely. And that means building a wall.
Instead of intimidating all your daughter’s potential suitors, raise a daughter who intimidates them just fine on her own. Because you know what’s intimidating? Strength and dignity. Deep faith. Self-assuredness. Wisdom. Kindness. Humility. Industriousness. Those are the bricks that build the wall that withstands the advances of Slouchy-Pants, whether you ever show up with your Winchester locked and loaded or not. The unsuitable suitor finds nothing more terrifying than a woman who knows her worth to God and to her family. –Jen Wilkins
That is teaching her some vanity! So much so that bad matches are terrified of her. Which means a good match will absolutely see her.
Isn’t that your prayer? Now?
So now raise your teen with this vanity. Drill into him/her every way possible his/her identity in Christ. Notice these good and beautiful traits and build those up as his/her identity.
When Slouchy-Pants starts texting or when a teen girl is so forward with your son, you can be less afraid because your beautiful beloved will show no interest. That this bad match will not form his/her identity because he/she already knows his/her identity—and knows how beautifully strong he/she is.
Can you imagine the joy of parenting a teen who knows his/her identity in Christ?
This starts with you. How are you living out your identity in Christ? How are you passing this on?
If this is a struggle for you, we’ve got lots of painful hard truth for you here at Bravester. We are encouraging and cheering you on. Because we also want a world full of vain teens who won’t settle for less and contort themselves into unhealthy relationships that will shape their future. I have a lot of opinion about that too!
(photo credit: J.D. Mason, Unsplash.com)