Today's post is more geared for young ladies 13-19. But if you are an older woman with some thoughts, please jump in! These thoughts were compiled over many years of reading books, studying people (one of my favorite things to do as an author!), and gleaning from others.
I am young enough that I still recall all the confusion I and others went through as young teenagers. I think most girls are confused at some point. Just where exactly do those boys fit in the big picture?
Here is the main thought:
They are our brothers in Christ. Yep. That is what Christian boys are.
So what exactly does that mean? I think it has several meanings, but it can be easy to fall into the ditch on either side of the road. There really are two extremes. One is that boys are to be ignored; the other, that they are to be toyed with.
Neither is correct.
Boys are not to be shunned or manipulated.
The one is actually not more modest/godly. It actually portrays a haughty demeanor that shows you are thinking of boys too much and in the wrong way. If you only view men as an object of possibility/marriage, you aren't actually viewing them as the Bible portrays - our brothers in Christ. Some feel that girls are never to talk to boys, but that idea is not found in Scripture. It creates an environment of looking at men simply as objects. It's awkward, it's selfish, it creates girls who don't know how to communicate in real-life situations with boys, and it definitely isn't following the Biblical pattern of edifying and strengthening our brothers in Christ.
The other definitely isn't right either! Oftentimes, insecure girls try to manipulate boys to get their emotional needs met. Flirting is wrong for the same reasons shunning boys is wrong. It all boils down to self, not treating boys as our brothers in Christ, and is distracting to young men who are earnestly endeavoring to serve the Lord.
So here are a few thoughts!
- Bear in mind that boys are your brothers in Christ. Encourage them in the Lord, not distract them from serving Him by being flirty or manipulating.
- Have fun. It's okay to be friends with boys and participate in safe, uplifting activities with them. Games, appropriate sports, hiking, family times... Enjoy being friends with boys and girls in every-day situations.
- Don't participate in social media manipulation/flirting. We've all seen the posts. The manipulative ones that are somehow supposed to get boys to comment with how beautiful they think you are, whether or not they would date you, and express their "deepest" feelings. It may seem like fun, but when everything gets boiled down, it's about girls trying to lure boys into saying things they have no right to say to anyone but the woman they will one day marry. And, if I may let you in on a little secret, boys don't respect such posts. They may participate in them, but they don't respect them.
|Sophy Hutton of Cranford is a great example of a young lady|
who communicated modestly and well with men!
- Be the type of girl that boys can respect. How you dress, the way you walk, your social media posts, the way you communicate your feelings, how you joke, what you talk about, and just about everything about you lets boys know whether or not you are a girl to be respected. Some men like flighty, giggly girls. But the type of boy you want to marry will want a thoughtful, levelheaded, and mature young lady. Start young!
- Have intellectual conversations with guys! Your time spent with young men really should be about more than hanging out and having a good time. It definitely should be about more than trying to get their attention (in a wrong way)! Edify and encourage your brothers in Christ by having serious conversations about the Lord, the Bible, or things that are meaningful. Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters. And, if a guy doesn't appreciate it, he's not a guy you want to be hanging out with in the first place.
- I couldn't agree more! Silly girls generally lead to silly wives. (And you want to be the type of girl who will grow into the type of lady a man like Knightley would want, right?) You can have fun and be lighthearted with your dealings with boys without losing your feminine graciousness, dignity, and intelligence. Never lay aside your maturity or intelligence to attract a boy who wants a good time, not the woman of honor you are growing up to be.
A few examples...
Think of Sophy Hutton or Mary Smith from Cranford. They were sensible, sweet, and mature young women who had intelligence and a sense of fun/adventure about them. What about Elinor from Sense and Sensibility? The Bible doesn't give all the details, but Ruth and Esther seem to have been women that attracted respect from men wherever they went. What about the March sisters in Little Women or Polly from An Old-Fashioned Girl? All of those young ladies have stood the test of time because of their womanly dignity, grace, and simple kindness. They had great interactions with and had friends among young men, but they weren't characterized by flirting or flightiness.
(Yeah, so go watch Cranford or Little Women right about now! Consider it a character building exercise....)
Questions, thoughts, or comments? Any favorite book or movie characters who represent what we've talked about? Please share!
Note: Obviously, I have not been talking about how you interact with a young man once you are in a relationship. That is a whole different ballgame. :)