By John Croyle
In the early days of Big Oak Ranch, we had no clue whom to talk to about supporting us. We knew God was going to provide, but were flying by the proverbial seat of our pants because there was no plan. I was totally ignorant as to what to do, but I did have a willing heart. Looking back, it would have been easier if I had someone to talk to and ask questions about how to get started.
Since starting Big Oak Ranch over 40 years ago, we have had the privilege of sharing with many how we have built this ministry from literally nothing to where we are now. Recently, we had some folks down from Memphis, Tennessee, to investigate the possibilities of starting a home like Big Oak Ranch up there. As we talked, one of them shared with me a story he had read in Danna K. Gresh’s book, And the Bride Wore White.
The author, a mother of two sons and two daughters, shares her insights into how we should raise our daughters and how we should teach our sons to treat their dates and future wives. The illustration talks about how our daughters are like one of three kinds of drinking cups. I hope this simple visual will help you as much as it did me, and that you will share it with your children.
Our daughters are like one of the following:
• A Styrofoam cup that is used and then discarded. It will be put in a dump somewhere and not be able to function again. It will not be able to be used again because someone didn’t take care of it and looked at it as “disposable.” It got crushed, felt worthless, and pretty much lived beneath what it was designed to be.
• A coffee mug that is “run the mill”—there are thousands of mugs like them. The mug feels anything but special simply because its whole life, all it’s ever heard is, “You’re not that special. Who would want you?” What you hear repeatedly, you eventually believe.
• A beautiful teacup from the finest china shop in the world. This cup was painstakingly made with a specific purpose in mind. The china master made this cup to be a beautiful piece that isn’t even put in the dishwasher, but is hand washed and dried every day to maintain its beauty. The cup knows its worth because of the way it is treated every day.
In my mind every little girl fits into the last category—a beautiful teacup made by the master craftsman to be treated, trained, and told daily she is a beautiful piece of priceless china, a one-of-a-kind creation.
How do you treat your little girl? How does she feel about herself? I have always heard that perception is reality. This is especially true with children. A child knows when her parents think of her as a Styrofoam cup. With that thought in mind, what does your daughter perceive she is in your eyes and heart? Does she feel every day that you view her as a priceless piece of china that has been fearfully and wonderfully made by the master craftsman, God himself?
We have had literally hundreds of young girls come to Big Oak Girls’ Ranch feeling like even less than a Styrofoam cup. However, they are now great women, wives, and moms because someone came into their lives and told them something different. Told them they were worth something. Told them they were unique, a one-of-a-kind piece of china. Someone looked at them and saw a priceless creation.