Guard Her Heart, Fathers

As each of my three sons has passed through middle school, I have noticed something. Well I’ve noticed a lot of things, but the thing I feel compelled to write about today is middle school girls. I know I’ve been on a middle school soapbox lately, but honestly, these are truly the wonder years, and a lot happens during these years that set the stage for the next five to ten.

I went shopping with my now sixteen-year-old daughter yesterday and the subject of middle school girls came up. She made the statement, “They will look back on how they are acting now in a couple of years, and wish they hadn’t acted that way.”

What way was she talking about, exactly? Well, it’s actually the subject of this blog piece. It’s a plea, really, to all parents of middle school girls.

Middle school girls are out of control. It’s not anything too terribly new, but it is true. Both middle school girls and boys have to learn what to do with their new raging hormones. Mostly boys have to learn to channel their aggression. Testosterone is a hugely distracting hormone. Until it comes under control, middle school boys will likely see a dip in grades, and less control of their emotions and mouths.

Estrogen and progesterone are a different matter altogether. Mood swings can be dizzying. A once easy, sweet girl will become catty and unpredictable. Girls have a difficult time believing they can make it through middle school without validation from a male. Left unchecked, these little girls will literally chase after boys like hyenas taking down an antelope.

They move in packs. No less than three in a pack, but there’s usually more. It’s typically only one girl who wants to go in for the kill, but she has her pack there to help her take down her victim. I suppose that’s taking the hyena analogy a bit far. I know it’s not flattering to compare young girls to hyenas, but from my vantage point, the situations are similar.

I think most parents would be shocked to see this phenomenon take place. I would venture to say that most parents wouldn’t condone their little girl texting a boy fifty times or more in one day. It happens.

They become pretty adept at stalking boys, too. I’ve watched it happen. The boy being stalked is standing there, minding his own business, maybe talking to a friend or two about Saturday’s game, or who’s going to be the first round draft pick, or how long it’s been since they’ve changed socks or washed their gym clothes.

Then here comes the pack of girls. They stop short of coming right up to the boy. They stand off a few feet in a group and act like they are doing something else; that there was some urgent business in that particular spot just then. And then they turn up the volume. Something funny just got REAL funny. And then they all steal a look at their intended victim. Does he see them there? Well, he does now.

So he says something smart like, “Hey, could you be any louder?”

And they go in for the kill. One in the pack will defend them with a smart comeback, but the leader, the one who has her eyes on the prize just stands there looking cute and hoping he will notice. He notices. He’s thirteen. He notices.

I’ve watched this very thing happen again and again. With each son, I’ve watched it happen. And each time, I say to myself, “If my daughter ever behaves like this, I will strangle her.”

It comes down to a need for validation. Young, maturing girls need for someone to tell them they matter, that they are worthy of admiration. I’m not so old that I don’t remember having those feelings myself at that age. I can remember drawing pictures of weddings, and thinking that no one would ever ask me to marry them. I probably even stalked a few boys myself.

So what’s missing in these young girl’s lives that they feel they need to be so aggressive towards young boys just to grab a little attention? That is the question. The answer is this. Here is some truth. If young girls do not get appropriate validation from their father, or a father figure, they will find it somewhere else.

Admittedly, some dads have a hard time during this developmental stage. While it may not really be appropriate for a thirteen-year-old daughter to snuggle up in their father’s lap like they did when they were three, six, or nine, there still needs to be acceptable physical contact and validation from that father. It is the dad’s role to justify their daughters at this stage of life. Being the apple of daddy’s eye is never more important than it is now

If daddy doesn’t hold his daughter’s heart, then she will give it away to someone else, (Or several someones in succession) and do you really want to trust it to a teen boy? In case you are wondering, the answer is no. As a mother of three boys, I can tell you. No. A young teen boy has no idea what to do with a girl’s heart. He shouldn’t know yet. It’s not time for him to know.

If a girl’s heart is safely tucked away in the care of her father, then she is free to grow up at a pace that will protect her heart and her emotions. If her daddy holds her heart, it will not be broken by the careless acts of a young boy. If daddy holds her heart, then she is free to chase someone else; she is free to chase after Jesus.

We need to teach our young girls that the race they are running isn’t to the next cute boy. Those boys aren’t going anywhere. We need to show our girls that if they run the race marked out for them, the one God has chosen, their goal will be Jesus. And at the appointed time, there will be a young man there who is also running his race. And since his goal was also Jesus, then oh what a happy day that will be!

Then, and only then, will it be okay for daddy to relinquish his daughter’s heart to the one who will handle it with care. To the one who will guard it at all costs, just like he did.

My daughter turns sixteen today. She has never had a boyfriend. She has not had her first kiss yet. She is too busy running her race. If you ask her, she might tell you there’s been a distraction or two along the way, but she knows the one that will get her heart from her dad one day is too busy running his race, too. At the appointed time, he’ll be waiting there for her…and won’t that be grand?

So what do you think?

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