Tuesday, May 08, 2007

On the Occasion of a Birthday

Anastasia, my oldest, is 17 today. And on the occasion of her birthday I want to make some random recommendations on raising teenage girls. In no particular order and with a minimum of effort- here it is:

Do's

Give your daughters a taste for elegance, modesty and propriety by emphasizing paperdolls of 18th century young ladies, movies like Emma and Sense and Sensibility, Little Women, teas, luncheons.

Teach them to make good friends; friends who are of good character, unselfish, good Catholics who are neither dreary nor dull. They need friends that have the liveliness and wholesomeness of Anne of Green Gables.

Encourage dancing to teach deportment and confidence and coordination, especially ballet, ethnic dancing, folk and square dancing and even swing dancing. Sports and physical fitness are to be encouraged because of the virtues they teach.

Make sure they learn to work extremely hard and to serve others as a matter of habit. Taking care of younger brothers and sisters, sick relatives, cooking, painting , sewing, wallpapering and gardening. Make prolife work a priority.

Encourage obedience to proper, right ordered authority- not rebellion- in attitude, clothing styles, hair and makeup styles.

Make sure they are familiar with the lives of the saints, foreign languages, musicals, operas, ballets, Shakespeare, other cultures, history, mythology, interesting current events, the seven wonders of the world, and jokes, riddles and brain teasers.

Don'ts

Entertaining any parenting advice from Greg Popzcak or from books authored by him

Video games, myspace, the Mall, Victoria Secret, teen magazines, make up (except for special occasions), fertility awareness or NFP, dating, romance novels, Church youth groups, Lifeteen, co-ed retreats, rebellion, profanity, crudity, vulgarity, lives of celebrities, presuming that marriage will be their path to the exclusion of a religious vocation, selfishness, vanity, "independence", freedom, too much spending money, privacy, a disrespectful attitude, gossip, bullying, making excuses or ignoring character flaws and failures. [Remember the scene in Emma when Mr. Knightley takes her to task for her unkindness] Idleness, boredom, laziness and lack of interest in those around her.

And finally, before Mass say three Hail Marys for your teenage girl's purity.

19 comments:

chrisr53969 said...

Very good advice for mothers (and grandmothers, like me! I am emailing this post to my son.
I do have a question, though. You do not advise any books written by Greg Popzcak. I used to listen to the radio program he had with his wife (Heart, Mind, and Strengh, I believe) when our Catholic radio station was run By Ave Maria Radio and not Relevent Radio. Just wondering why we should avoid his books.
I enjoy your blog very much. Keep writing!

Petrus said...

"privacy" - that's my favorite!!!

M. Alexander said...

Hi Chris,
I've written to steer clear of G. Popczak because he has endorsed the idea of teaching teenage girls NFP, charting and having their teenage brothers chart their cycles as well. The whole notion is so appalling that I don't trust anything he writes.

He is also an advocate of the very problematic "attachment parenting".

Thanks for writing. It's nice to know someone besides my family is reading this!
Mary

NCTradCatholic said...

Priceless! Thank you very much.

Edward said...

First of all, Mary, please give my compliments to your daughter.
Happy Birthday, Anastasia.
A lovely name. Of Greek origen, meaning (as I know you are well aware) roughly 'against death', or 'not dying'.
Today is also the old feast of the Apparition of St. Michael. A great day on which to be born!

Now then.
On to this:
"Video games, myspace, the Mall, Victoria Secret, teen magazines, make up (except for special occasions), fertility awareness or NFP, dating, romance novels, Church youth groups, Lifeteen, co-ed retreats, rebellion, profanity, crudity, vulgarity, lives of celebrities, presuming that marriage will be their path to the exclusion of a religious vocation, selfishness, vanity, "independence", freedom, too much spending money, privacy, a disrespectful attitude, gossip, bullying, making excuses or ignoring character flaws and failures. [Remember the scene in Emma when Mr. Knightley takes her to task for her unkindness] Idleness, boredom, laziness and lack of interest in those around her."

I'm afraid I get a D-, possibly an F.
1) SOME video games are quite cute and entertaining. I enjoy watching the girls play "Harvest Moon", in which they have to save money, work the farm, pick a good husband, etc. It's fun.
2) Myspace has enabled them to find old friends whom we thought we should never see nor hear from again.
3) Everything else is common Christian sense, and I will make an exception in the reading department to the Harry Potter series, which, since there are two Catholic parties of thought on this subject, I would fall into the more tolerant group, as I see nothing truly evil in them. Mere pagan fantasy, really; like the Arabian Nights, which I thoroughly enjoyed as a boy! Or "Howl's Moving Castle".
There IS some good stuff out there.
We must not fall into the trap of seeing an enemy behind every bush.

But I suppose only time will tell, huh? I make be making some pretty big mistakes.
Oh well, I can always take comfort in Brideshead Revisted, and the truths it explored.

M. Alexander said...

I enjoy watching the girls play "Harvest Moon", in which they have to save money, work the farm, pick a good husband, etc. It's fun.

That's hysterical!

And doesn't sound at all like Grand Theft Auto.

Sanctus Belle said...

I especially agree with not letting teens girls (and BOYS) date. This is how we put it to our girls: "Dating is for finding a husband. If you are not ready for marriage, you are not ready to date. Dating before being ready for marriage is an occasion to the sin of impurity" Now at school, some of thier friends are boys and occasionally we allow a mixed group of boys and girls to see a movie, or go to school sporting events. We pick up, we drop off - no monkey business.

This seems to have worked out well. You wouldn't believe the gaping stares we get from other parents (yes Catholic ones especially) who can't for the life of them understand why we don't let our children date. Our society is totally wrong about dating.

M. Alexander said...

Sanctus Belle- I couldn't agree more. I like the concept of courting much better.

Edward said...

There was a great lady by the name of Elizabeth Elliot: a conservative "old school" Evangelical who introduced me to the concept of courting when she discussed it on her radio show which I used to hear on our big local Protestant station where I live.

She made the more sense than any one I have ever heard on the subject. All about how "individuals" don't marry, but rather families merge to build up the Church and society.
Her thinking was quite Catholic in many respects.
May God bless and reward her.
And if you see or hear anything of her producing, check it out.
Good stuff!

M. Alexander said...

I LOVE Elisabeth Elliot!!!!!!!

Edward said...

Good! Well then you know all about her.
I wonder, did she write anything on the subject? Did she write at all? Does she yet live? Does she still have a radio show? Am I asking too many questions? Does she have a web site?

M. Alexander said...

http://www.elisabethelliot.org/ramblings.html

She lives and what a good reminder to read some of her books. It has been years. Friends of mine gave her the Catholic Cathecism and we were hoping for her conversion- but it seems not yet has it happened.

Madeline said...

As I was driving in to work, this morning, a talk show host wastalking about a statistic he learned that 20% of children, today, have televisions in their rooms. I'd add these to the list:

1. Their own television
2. Their own computers, with internet access

Edward said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for the web site for E.Elliot!
Now I can FINALLY introduce my dear wife to her 'ramblings' instead of merely passing on what I remember hearing.
I've told her that listening to Mrs. Elliot is like getting advice from a wise and dear old friend of the family.
She too will be pleased and I know she will be grateful.

You know, that reminds me.
I'm going to have to show her how to get on this blog and then she can mess around with you as well.
I just KNOW you two would get along famously! And I'm sure she would like to interact directly, rather than following the copies and weekly reports I make to her about my cyberspace wonderings.
She already adores your place here.

Thanks again so much.

Edward said...

And what significance do you attach to this 'data'?
My two eldest have a television in their room. How else could they enjoy their vicious, incredibly violent and pornography-riddled Japanese video games apart from and without disturbing the quietude of our "domestic church"?:P

Just kidding.

They do have a television, however; which they use solely for watching the perfectly innocent and charming "Harvest Moon" and "Kirby" games.
They cannot even pick-up any channels on it. More like a monitor, really.

And I DO limit the amount of time they may spend on these games.
NO MORE than 3 hours a day.

NOW I dare you to call me irresponsible. Huh!

Yep, I'm in control where my daughters are concerned.
My dear wife says so as well.
She has often said that "I have them right where they want me."

Yep, I'm the boss.

M. Alexander said...

That's the problem with girls. They wrap their fathers' around their little finger pretty much at birth.

Why not get your wife a nice Elisabeth Elliot book for Mother's Day Edward?

Petrus said...

A book, Mary? You're suggesting that he get his wife a book?? I hope that's in addition to a very nice piece of jewelry :-)

Just keeping it real :)

Edward said...

A book?!
Jewelry?!
No, I know how to take care of Mrs. Edward.

And yes, I mean...Chocolate!

It's funny because just last evening we were talking and she says to me, "You know, I don't really like most of those bloggers."
"Why?"
"Well, they're very zealous and devoted I'm sure, but most just are'nt down-to-earth. Too idealistic."
"Mary Alexander can be idealistic, and you like her site," I responded.

She then remimnded me of your "This could be dangerous" posting: about the 'pre-fab' Pilsbury cookie dough.
"Now THAT'S what I'm talking about," she said; "THERE'S a woman who's practical!"

I swear I will NEVER understand a woman's thought processes.

Jamie Carin and Claudio Romano said...

hee hee I most appreciate the mention of Anne of Green Gables!!