The next attribute I want to discuss in the series “Lessons For Our Daughters” is confidence. We all know what that looks like. We have all seen the girl stride onto the scene, head held high and at peace that she is competent to take on the task. She is so sure of who she is that others place their trust in her with ease. Who wouldn’t want that for their daughter?
Looking at the woman of Proverbs 31, she is full of confidence. She is careful to be diligent in tending to her household. She carefully selects wool and flax, makes linen garment to sell and sees that her trade is profitable. She makes fine clothing for her family and sees that they are warm. She provides food for her family and servants. This is a woman who works very hard.
My favorite passage in this chapter is, “She can laugh at the days to come.” What gives her the ability to take on the future with laughter? Confidence. She knows that regardless of what lies ahead, she has prepared her household well.
Our daughters need to be left with that same sense. I want Little-Flower to have the confidence to look ahead in her life and know she can handle whatever comes her way.
That’s not to say that it will be easy. The lines of this chapter state the Proverbs 31 woman:
- Works with eager hands (Vs. 13)
- Gets up while it is still night (Vs. 15)
- Sets about her work vigorously (Vs. 17)
- Her lamp does not go out at night (Vs. 18)
In other words, she works very, very hard and is rewarded with the confidence of knowing her work is good. Our daughters need to know that hard work is fulfilling in the confidence it brings.
So, what are we to do? We need to provide these four strategies:
- Encourage – This is an obvious first step. We need to encourage them, but it needs to be used judiciously. Encouragement at every step, no matter how good of a job they are doing, will lose its effectiveness. We are in a culture of participation trophies –everyone is rewarded regardless of their achievement. We can’t reward our daughters with that type of support. Make the encouragement genuine so she can see areas where she is excelling.
- Failure –Allowing our daughters to fail might seem counterintuitive. It is actually good for them to struggle. Growing up, one thing I was terrible at was interpreting symbolism. I’d take five algebra classes as opposed to English Literature. I hated it! My mom was never one to step in and save us. I struggled. I did poorly on tests specific to a poem sometimes. Every now and then I’d actually see what my teacher was talking about and I would feel so good at overcoming the obstacle. Letting our daughters struggle and fail gives them both a sense of their strengths and weakness, and the feeling of overcoming a struggle. Both are very helpful in confidence building.
- Decisions –We need to give our daughters the ability to make decisions. Obviously, they have to be age appropriate and one in which you can live with the outcomes. Right now a big thing in our household is letting Little-Flower dress herself. We have had our fair share of outfit fails. I have realized it goes best if I set out three outfits for her to choose from, but if I don’t have time I give her specific instructions as to what to pick out – “long pants and a short sleeved shirt.” Choices allow our daughters to forge their own path to a degree and gives them confidence in knowing they are capable.
- Mirroring – Lastly, our daughters need to see us self-assured in what we are doing. They need to have models to aspire to become. Our confidence will inspire them to strive, work, and try their best. Our daughters are smart enough to see right through our work in helping them grow confidence if we are not confident in ourselves.
Looking at the Proverbs 31 woman, we see confidence in the way she carries herself and how she handles her affairs. We see a husband that has full confidence in her. Lastly, we see how hard she works to obtain that confidence.
As a mother, one of my biggest hopes is for Little-Flower to become confident. It is one area that I focus my efforts because the benefits will carry her far in life. Confidence bleeds into every area of our lives. Seeing her striding into a room with her head held high will bring me great joy. I bet you’ll be joyous watching your daughter do the same!