Raising Girls

John CroyleWhat does your daughter need from you?

by John Croyle


We just received copies of my recently released book, Raising A Princess, and I want to share a few thoughts with you.

The basic concept and outline for this book was the result of a placard over the doorway leading to the girls’ rooms in one of our homes here at Big Oak Girls’ Ranch. It reads, “Princess Avenue, Daughters of the King.” Just think for a minute: Every one of our girls living in the Nonnie Brewer home enters the hallway leading to her bedroom with that image in her heart and mind.

Now let’s talk on a personal level. What image do you want to put into the heart and mind of your baby girl or your teenager who is well on her way into adult life? How do we “grow” our daughters into the women they are intended to be?

Proverbs 31 defines godly womanhood. But how do we equip our daughters to become the kind of woman who is described in this chapter—a woman full of self-confidence and wisdom? I don’t claim to have all of the answers when it comes to raising daughters, but I do know that a woman like this doesn’t appear out of nowhere. Somebody taught her to rise before dawn to provide for her household. Somebody gave her the moral compass to reach out her hand to the needy. Perhaps most importantly, somebody gave her a sufficiently strong sense of self worth that made it possible for her to go out and make a huge impact on the world around her.

Our specific approach to raising girls, taken from Proverbs 31, is spelled out in the book through the acronym P.R.I.N.C.E.S.S.:

Praiseworthiness—A princess understands she is worthy of praise simply because she is made in the image of God.

Righteousness—She lives according to God’s normal, not the world’s normal.

Initiative—A princess makes good things happen.

Nurture—God built into girls and women an instinct to nurture that boys and men simply don’t have in the same way.

Character—A girl of character knows what her deepest desires are and chooses accordingly, ignoring all the short-term and temporary desires and pleasures that might throw her off the trail of her deepest joy.

Empowerment—Your princess needs to understand life isn’t just something that happens to her. She has the power to choose, the power to make a difference not only in her own life, but also in the lives of others.

Servant-Heartedness—A princess finds purpose not in being served, but in serving others.

Stability—As stability is provided for daughters, they will grow into the kind of people who help create stability for others. Stability isn’t so much a virtue as the necessary condition for the other seven virtues to grow.

I don’t care how grown-up your daughter seems. She needs your help navigating the world she lives in. Your daughter isn’t going to grow into a princess without your involvement.

She doesn’t know she’s praiseworthy unless you tell her.

She doesn’t know how to live righteously unless you model it for her.

She doesn’t know how to show initiative unless you take the initiative.

She can’t nurture unless you’ve nurtured her.

She won’t grow in character unless you help her see what’s truly important.

She won’t be empowered unless you entrust her with power.

She won’t have a servant’s heart unless you serve her.

She won’t enjoy the benefits of stability unless you give her a stable environment to grow in.

It’s mostly a matter of paying attention. Sometimes parenting feels like driving a car with no brakes and no steering wheel. I get that. Your kids keep getting closer to adulthood and the technology keeps changing and their friends keep getting bolder and it feels like the cow is out of the barn already and you’ll never get it back in again.

I want to give you some reassurance. It’s not too late. You still have a choice about how you’re going to raise your daughter, every minute of every day. I like to say that when it comes to your identity, God chooses the noun, and you choose the adjective. God has made you a parent (noun). You choose what kind of parent you’re going to be (adjective). An attentive parent? A loving parent? An angry parent? A checked-out parent? That’s your choice.

Maybe you think you’ve blown it with your kids. Emotional absence, excessive criticism, anger, or divorce have wounded your children too deeply for any hope of recovery, you say. I’m going to tell you what I tell kids at the Ranch when they’ve messed up: God doesn’t consult your past in order to determine your future.

And I do know this: If God has given you a daughter, he has called you to give her the virtues of a princess. If you are answering that call, you’re going to see fruit not only in your daughter’s life, but also in your own.

No matter where your daughter is on the path toward princesshood—and even if she’s off the path—you have a choice, every minute of every day. Are you going to answer the call?

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