Monday, November 3, 2008

Thoughts on Older Daughters

Only when Meredith graduated from her homeschooled education, and we began fielding the many inquiries from others as to what her plans were regarding college, did we begin to articulate our plan for Meredith's post high school years. As parents who firmly believe in higher education, we purposed to make available to Meredith a multitude of advanced learning opportunities through the finest training establishments.

Since Meredith's most sought after career goal is that of becoming a wife and mother of excellence, we concluded that the most advantageous form of higher education would be in an intense apprenticeship program where all the many aspects of home management could best be explored. When we considered where that training might take place, we could think of no better facility than our own home - where a young woman desiring to cultivate home management skills would be most greatly appreciated!

Because of that, Meredith's days are spent in a very deliberate, thought out, purposeful manner where the many aspects of home management are covered in depth. As a wife and mom in training, Meredith has full responsibility of homeschooling the younger boys, overseeing the kitchen including the preparation of all meals, overseeing all household chores, including the weekly "big" housecleaning, and she is my right arm in running our businesses.

Not long ago, a woman my age asked Meredith what she did as a graduated, at-home daughter. When Meredith finished detailing her daily activities, the woman looked at me and said, "So, what do you do all day?!" A fair question and one that deserves close inspection as we forge a new path in this modern day of the "Return of the Daughters". What does the full time, stay-at-home mother do when she has, residing with her, a homemaker in training? How does she continue to fill her day with productivity and usefulness?

During a season in which we had moved to a remote town and were living in a rented, small trailer, I found myself in such a state. With a 14 year old daughter who was very capable of running a household, and all our city-life busyness replaced with the isolation that country living demands, I no longer was scurrying around each day trying to get my long "to do" list accomplished by the close of the day. At first, I didn't know what to do with the extra minutes in my day although I tried to fill them by "over cleaning" - washing things more often than needed, organizing to the point of insanity, and the like. Realizing that I had entered a new and unknown season in my life as a homemaker, I began asking God for wisdom and direction on how to to fill my days purposefully as I turned over much-needed training opportunities through household responsibilities to my older children. God so graciously gave me meaningful ways to fill my extra minutes.

Whether one has many little children still underfoot or is facing an almost empty nest, a woman with an at-home older daughter taking over many of the household responsibilities, can explore opportunities with eternal significance to fill the extra minutes she finds in her day. What a wonderful time to share life experiences with younger mothers, through mentoring relationships. In this great age of cyberspace, one doesn't even need to leave her home to share a word of encouragement with those scattered across the country. As others are in busier seasons of motherhood, why not coordinate an on line ladies Bible study where the participants can respond via email in between wiping noses and flipping loads of laundry from the washer to the dryer? Of course, a season with extra minutes is an excellent opportunity to spend more time reading our finest home management manual, the Bible. And what a fantastic time to post a few verses around the bathroom mirror to commit to memory. It is a great benefit to an at-home daughter in training, as well as the entire family, if a mom with extra minutes in her day chooses to use them drawing nearer to God.

My season of extra minutes has come and gone but I enjoyed it immensely. I still have two precious friends, as dear as sisters, that God gave me during my "extra minute season". I have wonderful memories of Bible studies and the ladies I met. I continue to be strengthened by the verses I learned and the lessons God taught me through more concentrated study of His Word. If you have an at-home daughter, don't fear your replacement and not allow your daughter to wholeheartedly take over many of your responsibilities during her season of training. Don't worry how you'll spend your extra minutes. Instead, enjoy a rich time with the Lord as you watch your precious daughter develop into a beautiful homemaker right before your eyes.

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