An Open Letter to Teen Girls (from a Mom of Boys)

7:01 AMHeather

Boys used to be a mystery to me.  It felt as though they spoke a foreign language that no one had taught me how to interpret.  I have a sister only--no brothers.  I was the farthest thing from a tom boy that could exist.  And, as I entered my teen years, I truly was clueless about boys.  I have to admit, there was always a nervousness about being around boys much.  I wasn't sure how to act.

So imagine the irony when God chose to give me two boys.  And, may I say, two fabulous, wonderful boys who amaze me constantly.  Along this journey into "boy world," I've learned a few things.  As a mom of two boys, I have a few things to say to the teen and pre-teen girls out there--and their wonderful mothers as well.  My heart is to offer insight, rather than criticism, so please listen with that in mind.  I ask that you read on with an open mind.  And pass the word along to others who might glean insight, as well.

First of all, I want to address the issue of immodesty.  I'm already stepping on toes.  But, I'm okay with that.  You see, dressing immodestly may be a fashion choice for you.  But, when you choose to look cute by showing too much of yourself, you don't give my boys a choice.  God wired men to be visual creatures.  Really.  He designed them in this wonderful way--their eyes connect to their mind and body in ways girls cannot understand.  So, while you CHOOSE to show too much cleavage or a skirt that barely covers your backside, it might be cute to you.  But, to my boys, it serves as a stumbling block.  It instinctively takes them places where we are trying to train them to resist.  We live in an oversexed culture, that's for sure.  It's a dangerous game we play.  Because it's a slippery slope from dressing provocatively or going to places where the waitresses do or even "harmless" adult entertainment.  Next stop can be an addiction that grips and ruins your life or your marriage.  Trust me on this one.  I know people who've succumbed.   So, please be aware.  When you show too much skin, you are causing a brother to stumble, whether you mean to or not.

P.S.  I have a daughter.  I know the battle of finding age appropriate clothes.  I know how hard it is to find shorts in a size 10 that are not booty shorts or swimsuits or dresses that let them be little girls.  Press on, mamas!  It's a battle worth fighting.  I'll share my successful finds if you share yours.

Next, I want to clarify some things about boys.  Boys are not bullies or mean or jerks.  Surely, people of both genders can ACT that way.  But, we live in a culture where boys are made of snips and snails and puppy dog tails.  And girls are sugar and spice and everything nice.  That makes me angry.  As a mom of two boys, I think my guys have gotten a bad rap before they have even gotten a chance.  When my guys were little, I saw it all the time on playgrounds or at playgroups.  Assumptions were made simply because of the gender of my children.  Now that some time has passed and my guys are older, I've become hyper sensitive to all the male bashing in our culture.  It makes me feel nostalgic for the days when Pa was a strong role model and father for his three girls on Little House on the Prairie. Or when Mr. Walton worked hard to provide for his many children--John Boy and all.  Now, we have movies and television and all sorts of nonsense that perpetuate this myth that boys--and the men they grow up to be--are inherently bad and incompetent.  And, I'm here to tell you that this is simply not true.  Give boys a chance.  They are a wonder that reflect the Father who created them in His image.

And, lastly, I want to ask you this favor.  Please remember that boys are not unemotional creatures.  Before you toy with their emotions or flirt with them or assume they don't care, please remember this fact about them.  They have feelings.  Just like you.  Really!  It's true.  Boys just express them differently, but it doesn't mean they don't have them.  Boys' hearts can be broken.  Boys' feelings can be hurt.  While they may hold it back in front of you--boys can be reduced to tears.  I've found a miraculously incredible thing in my boys.  When I work to communicate on their level and hear them with an open mind and heart, we can connect and relate and enjoy each other in new ways.  

I used to fear how to navigate the boy world.  It felt like God's sense of humor when our second baby was born and we saw it was another boy.  I knew I'd be thrown right into it and have a big learning curve ahead.  I thought I didn't know about boys.  I had no idea how true that is. I didn't know that boys love their moms in ways that cannot be explained.  But, it's unlike any other feeling in the world.  I didn't know that boys could be so wonderful and rough and tumble and gentle and endearing all at the same time.  I didn't know that my heart would be stolen in ways that make my Mama Bear flip into attack mode on a dime.  When my boys made a mistake or acted, well, like a boy...and the mom of girls in the playgroup gave that knowing look that said, "nothing more could be expected from a boy."   And, I'd fight back tears because I wish boys weren't so misunderstood.  The way I feel when our culture paints a bleak and ridiculous picture of men who act like adolescents instead of offering role models of real men who are strong enough to show their tears or love or hurts.  I cheered through the movie Courageous--relieved to see men my guys could look up to on the big screen.  

So, please help my cause.  Dress in a way that honors YOUR body and allows our guys to do the same, rather than being led down some road of temptations.   Respect boys enough to let them respect you for your heart, not your body.  Don't assume all men or boys are jerks.   They have real feelings and emotions just like you.  I promise--if you need a tour guide into this boy world--there are many willing to help you.  Betcha there are a few more boy moms happy to lead you along.  You won't even believe the wonders and friendships and relationships that could await you.  I, for one, have been forever changed by those darling baby boys who are growing into men after God's own heart.   

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