Let me share with you now some resources that might assist you in Bringing Up Girls. My daughter, Danae, has written two books, Let's Talk! and Let's Walk the Talk! that provide teen girls with "big sister" advice about all the important issues and challenges they face on a daily basis.
Danae remembers what it's like to be a teenager and how hard it can be to live as a Christian in an increasingly secularized world. Her first book, Let's Talk! offers advice to girls about six categories: God, family, friends, guys, self, and eternity. The comments about each topic are firmly grounded in Scripture and communicated in a way that teens can relate to. Let's Walk the Talk! features wise counsel on subjects such as spiritual maturity, financial responsibility, true beauty, modesty, and God's ultimate plan for our lives. I highly recommend these resources for your teenage daughters (and those preparing for the teen years).
Another great tool you might find useful is called Secret Keeper Girl Kit: Eight Great Dates for You and Your Daughter. The subtitle reads, The Power of True Beauty and Modesty. It is intended for girls between eight and twelve years of age, and was written by Dannah Gresh, with special insights from Rebecca St. James.1
I wish this recorded and written program had been available when our daughter was moving through the era immediately prior to puberty. She and her mother would have loved sharing these "great dates" together.
On the CD, Dannah Gresh and others talk to your girls about what they call eight "dates." Each one addresses a different topic in a highly personal and warm manner. There is also a Secret Keeper Girl book that supplements the CD.
The third suggestion should also be helpful. Some years ago I recorded a series called Preparing for Adolescence that parents and daughters or sons could listen to together. Now available on CD, these recordings are designed to help moms and dads introduce the physical and emotional upheaval that will soon occur. They also give parents the ability to stop their CD player and answer questions as they arise.
I actually prepared these recordings for my daughter when she was heading into puberty. I had no notion of selling them commercially. However, the junior high department at our church heard about the recordings and asked if they could use them with parents. Then a publisher got wind of the series and quickly made them available to the public. A book bearing the same name was then published. The CDs and book can still be found in bookstores and libraries, and many thousands of parents have used them.
Ideally, these recordings should be listened to by girls and boys separately (usually fathers with their boys and mothers with their girls) during the period immediately prior to puberty. If parents wait too long to introduce the relevant subjects to their children, they will be embarrassed to listen. I can just hear a fourteen- or fifteen-year-old saying, "Oh, Mom! You've got to be kidding!" But if you talk about these topics prior to the arrival of the happy hormones, it is much more comfortable for both generations and proves to be more effective. Your obligation, one way or the other, is to get the job done. You owe it to your kids to prepare them for what lies in the path immediately ahead.
Finally, I would like to offer an alternative to Girl Scouts of the USA, which I can no longer recommend to parents. That organization has changed radically since 1993, when it began making references to God "optional" and marking the word with an asterisk. Then came mandates against Christmas caroling, praying at meetings, and singing hymns. Now we are seeing a surge toward the left that is deeply disturbing to many Christian parents.
For example, as part of GSUSA's aMAZE program for middle school Scouts, the girls read a quote from Buddha and are encouraged to explore mazes and stone or dirt labyrinths—symbols rooted in pagan mythology and the New Age movement. They are used as meditation tools, along with "transformation circles." Eastern mysticism through Zen gardens and Buddhist writings are part of the curriculum. Moral relativism is evident throughout, which teaches that ethical issues are up to the individual. GSUSA's definition of right and wrong includes this statement: "Whatever is consistent with your character."2
The curriculum has a strong anti-boy tone (boys are mentioned only in negative situations). There is minimal emphasis on mother, father, or family. Girls are not taught pride of country. The United States is depicted as antiquated and incompatible with globalism. One program involves girls in the United Nations Population Fund. Translated, that amounts to a massive effort to limit human procreation by means of abortion.
Many of the female role models lauded by GSUSA are radical feminists, lesbians, existentialists, or communists, including the former chairwoman of the American Communist Party. There is much more to disturb parents, including a consistent infusion of lesbian and homosexual propaganda. In short, the organization has been "captured" by advocates of an extreme leftist ideology that is being force-fed to millions of vulnerable girls. Its board of directors and many troop leaders are intent on converting every girl from the youngest Daisy to a mature Ambassador into an "agent of change," programmed to implement an extreme international agenda. The media has kept this transformation a secret for more than a decade.
There is a far better program available for girls, in my opinion. It is a nonprofit organization called American Heritage Girls, founded in 1995 in West Chester, Ohio, by a group of parents wanting a more wholesome alternative for their daughters. These parents were disillusioned with the increasing secular focus of existing organizations for girls. They wanted a Judeo-Christian focused entity and assumed that they were not alone.3
American Heritage Girls is dedicated to the mission of building women of integrity through service to God, family, community, and country. It offers badge programs, service projects, leadership opportunities, and outdoor experiences to its members. This program of character building has successfully served thousands of girls since its inception and will continue to do so long into the twenty-first century.
AHG troops are composed of groups of girls ages five to eighteen who meet weekly or biweekly to learn new skills, give service, grow in their faith, practice leadership, experience teamwork, build friendships, and strengthen character. The girls mentor one another in a large group setting and then break into age-appropriate units to achieve the unit's goals for each meeting. According to the president of AHG, "This Christ-centered organization is led by dedicated adult volunteers who facilitate the program while recognizing girls' valuable input."
There are more than ten thousand American Heritage Girls who meet across the United States. Each troop reflects the "personality" of its Charter Partner as it utilizes the AHG program to achieve its ministry goals for youth.
This is the oath taken by American Heritage Girls:
I promise to love God,
Cherish my family,
Honor my country,
And serve in my community.
I recommend American Heritage Girls enthusiastically to parents who want their daughters involved in a traditional Christian-based program that will reinforce what they are trying to teach at home. That certainly will not occur at Girl Scouts USA!
You can get more information about American Heritage Girls by contacting their headquarters at http://www.ahgonline.org or at (513) 771-2025.
1.Dannah Gresh, Secret Keeper Girl Kit: The Power of True Beauty and Modesty (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2004).
2.Chelsea Schilling, "Girl Scouts Exposed," WorldNetDaily (May 17, 2009); see http://www.wnd .com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=97977.
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