The other day, as I was reading Is There a Meaning in This Text? I found a passage that I knew my daughter would like. I emailed it to her, and we had a little exchange about it. This book has been fun for me in that my daughter has studied literary theory already, and she's familiar with some of the things I'm reading. The love of books; the love of study; it's always been something that connects my daughter and me.
I remember a conversation I had with her when she was eight years old. It was a mother-daughter date night out. First stop, the public library. After that, a nearby restaurant. Her comment to me that night was, "I need books like a lion needs meat."
Yes, I knew that. I had known it since she was eight months old, and she would sit patiently through chubby board book after chubby board book. I thought this was normal behaviour for a baby. Imagine my surprise when neither of my boys would do that.
Books and learning have been her passion for a long time.
Yes, I have tried to teach other other things that I love doing. Sewing, crocheting, knitting, cooking; all of those things I knew to be enjoyable as well as useful. She didn't enjoy them. As for crafts? Well, let's just say that when she went away to university, she had a closet full of beads, bobbles, and trinkets that were well-intended gifts that were never used. When it came to a choice between taking a toilet paper roll and some cotton balls and applying white glue as opposed to reading a book, there was no contest. And all of this has made for a young woman with a clear goal of what she wants to do: she wants to be a professor.
My daughter will be twenty-four in July. I was twenty-four when I gave birth to her. Her life at twenty-four is vastly different than mine was. And I'm not saying different in a way that means her life is somehow wrong, or that her life is in limbo until she gets married. It's just different, and that's fine. I have a daughter, not a clone. There will, Lord willing, come a day when she becomes a mother. It's something she does look forward to. I will be there to help out.
My goal for my daughter is to live a life serving the Lord whatever she does. And if someone wants to tell me that she's not serving the Lord unless she's married and has children, I'm afraid I'm going to stop listening after a while, because I just don't believe it. When we take that approach, do we realize how many women we exclude?
My desire for every woman, young or old, married or not, working or not, is to love the Lord with all their hearts, to love their neighbours as themselves (and that means their husbands and children, their nearest neighbours) and to seek God daily in the word, in prayer, and in worship. That is the foundation of what I want to teach as an older woman and as a mother. The details may look different from year to year, but the ultimate foundation remains the same.