To call our daughters to embrace their sisters around the world requires we cast a vision for how to use our privilege to benefit others. In far too many places of the world, gender inequity keeps girls uneducated, improperly fed or wedded and parenting at young ages. The ripple effect is complicated.
As an example, highly patriarchal societies that value boys over girls, result in females receiving leftover food, devoid of milk, meat and other essential nutrients. Remove balanced nutrition from an entire segment of society (i.e., girls) and the result is lower IQs, less productivity and a collective decrease in intelligence of their country.
The way our girls are raised, planning their birthday parties and dreaming of a future that includes a family, but not to the exclusion of college and career, is so markedly different! You have to know your birth date to plan a party after all. You have to see women treated with value and respect or working outside of the home to imagine such a thing. Girl power is an incredibly Americentric aspiration in light of the reality of our global sisters.
What will wreck our daughters? Will it be food scarcity? Child brides? Perhaps it will be needless deaths from poor maternal health care or lack of immunizations or malaria mosquito nets. Maybe it will be girls’ education or the barrier of school supply fees. Will it be orphans? Secure housing? Displaced persons and refugees? Domestic violence and child abuse? Ecology and conservation? What aspect of Jesus’ heart will break hers as she learns to collaborate with Him to bring His kingdom to earth as it is in heaven?
What I know is this: Every great story involves an unlikely hero who discovers their strength and glory and finally lives into who they were created to be. God has been telling the same story since the beginning of time. And we are the unlikely men and women, girls and boys who were created for a glory many of us never discover. We are asking our daughters to live out who they were made to be by recognizing that they are a part of something bigger.
We’re not telling them they are the center of the plot (although that is what most teenagers think). We’re not pumping them full of self-empowering ideas of changing the world for the sake of fame and fortune (the direction of many youth enterprises, which lack humility). And we’re certainly not saying it is our job as Americans to go save those girls in other countries (unlike far too many missions trips would have her believe).
We are raising our girls to humbly embrace their role in the greater family of God, to consider the ways in which they can share their portion and offer themselves alongside of what God is already doing around the world. There are strong and visionary women in every culture who could effectively lead their generation and their country in ways more reflective of God’s kingdom. The question is what do they need from us and how might we assist them?
Excerpted from the book A Voice Becoming: A Yearlong Mother-Daughter Journey Into Passionate, Purposed Living by Beth Bruno. Copyright (c) Beth Bruno by Faithwords. Reprinted with permission of Hachette Book Group, New York, NY. All rights reserved.