How To Make A Lady Out Of A Girl
by Pastor Jack Hyles
(Chapter 20 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, How To Rear Children)
The women's liberation notwithstanding most men still want someone ladylike and feminine for a wife. To be sure, all good Christian men want submissive, feminine, ladylike, and godly wives. Yet, we live in a society which wants to homogenize the sexes. The boys wear make-up and the girls wear blue jeans. The boys wear flowered shirts while the girls wear work shirts. The fad is for the boys to be feminine and the girls to be masculine. Consequently, if parents rear a girl to be ladylike, they will be swimming upstream, going against the grain, and climbing uphill, but it can be done. If it is done, however, it will be on purpose and some of the following suggestions must be used in order to make a lady out of a girl.
1. Dress her like a girl. Let her have long hair. Let her wear lace and ribbons. Do not let her wear that which pertaineth to a man. Deuteronomy 22:5 says, "The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God." The parent who wants to make a young lady of a daughter should see to it that she does not wear revealing clothes, but that she dresses modestly. I Timothy 2:9 and 10 says, "In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety: not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works."
This must be started early in the life of a girl. If she never wears pants for the first time, she will always wear skirts. If she never wears mini-skirts for the first time, she will always wear skirts of a modest length. In these days of hot pants, mini-skirts, and pant suits, may God give us some old-fashioned mothers and dads who well rear some sweet, feminine ladies for our boys and dress them accordingly.
2. Teach her strict obedience. Other chapters stress the fact that obedience is the most necessary ingredient to be required from the child. This is especially true in the life of a girl, for she must be obedient all of her life. The boy who is obedient to his mother and father will someday become the head of the home; not so for the girl. Whereas the boy is being trained to be a leader, the girl is being trained to be a follower. Hence, obedience is far more important to her, for she must someday transfer it from her parents to her husband.
This means that she should never be allowed to argue at all. She should become submissive and obedient. She must obey immediately, without question, and without argument. The parents who require this have done a big favor for their future son-in-law.
3. She should not be allowed to play alone with boys. The parents should see to it that she plays with other girls. This is important for many reasons. She should play only with toys that are uniquely for girls. This, by all means, should include dolls, doll clothes, housecleaning equipment, dishes, pots and pans, etc. She should participate in sports enough to become coordinated but she should not excel in sports. If later she marries a man who is very athletic, she could become more proficient in some particular sport that he enjoys, but if she becomes an expert in a sport that is usually associated with men and boys, it could prove embarrassing to her future husband, and for that matter, it could entice her to become more masculine than she ought to be.
4. Teach her how to be graceful in sitting, walking, etc. Every mother who has a daughter should be careful to show her how to sit like a lady, walk like a lady, and exhibit propriety and grace in her manners. (Note the chapter on MANNERS.)
5. Teach her to be an intelligent listener and an articulate conversationalist. She should read a variety of good books and magazines and have a wide variety of knowledge. It should be obvious to any male with whom she is conversing that she is an intelligent listener and that she can understand and respond to his conversation. She should never seem to know as much as he does (even though she may actually know more) but enough to talk intelligently about his interests and to make him feel that his conversation is falling on receptive ears and an understanding mind. This means that she should learn all she can about everything, especially things that interest men. For example, she should know football, but she should not play it. There is nothing a man wants any more than to be understood by an intelligent listener.
The wise lady will never "take over" the conversation. She will add just enough to make a valuable contribution and to show her intelligence on the subject, but she will always make her man feel that he is the more knowledgeable. Of course, as a girl like chooses a man, she will want to choose the kind that is at least her equal, the kind that she will not have to dominate, and the kind whose mind and conversation will always intrigue her. This means that the wise mother will teach her girl not to be a wallflower and not to attempt to get by on beauty alone. She will teach her to be the kind of young lady who has a beautiful spirit and a beautiful soul, one who can communicate, one who is understanding, and one who is quietly articulate in conversation.
Though she should not be a football fanatic she should know enough about football to enjoy watching the game with her boyfriend, fiancée, or husband, if he so chooses. It should be obvious to him that she is enjoying the game and that she is knowledgeable about it, but that he can teach her even more.
6. Teach her to make her dad feel like a hero. A young lady that can treat her dad properly is more likely to treat her husband properly. If she makes her dad feel like a man when he is in her presence, she will not doubt make her husband feel like a man when he is in her presence. If the daughter is careful to refill Dad's glass at the table, see to it that he gets the best chair, listen to him intelligently when he talks, participate intelligently, yet meekly in the conversion, she will someday transfer this to her husband and her husband will rise up and call her "blessed."
7. Teach her to have the proper heroines. The mother should be very careful to see to it that the daughter does not idolize Hollywood starlets, female athletes, etc., but rather, feminine, yet successful women like the Bible characters Hannah and Elisabeth, and characters in history like Susannah Wesley and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Also point out feminine ladies whose path is crossed by the daughter and lead her to emulate them. It is very important that the young lady, even the girl, look up and idolize the right kind of people.
8. Teach her not to be too forward to boys. A young lady should not initiate a correspondence. If she cars for a boy she may respond to him with courtesy and feminine reserve so as to let him know she like him, but she should not be the aggressor, neither should her respond except within the bounds of propriety and right. It certainly is not proper for a young lady to call a young man on the telephone for a social talk, If there is obvious business, it may be done with reluctance, but it should never be done when the call is strictly for social purposes.
9. Do not show off her talent to others. As is mentioned elsewhere in this book it is far better for a parent to compliment character than talent. Many children have been ruined because their parents were too proud of them and their performances. This not only hurts the child but it disgusts other adults. In such cases the child receives far too much attention and then wants it for the rest of her life. Hence, she becomes maladjusted. Let her gain her own attention by her performance. Let her attract her own audience by her own ability and opportunities, not by the insistence of a mother or father who is overly proud of a daughter.
10. Let her do things that enable her to be a necessary help to another who is in the limelight. This is very important for a young lady. That is why learning to accompany a soloist is good training for a girl. Learning to take dictation is also good training. Both of these things train her to be a necessary helper to someone who is in the limelight. The Bible teaches that a woman is made not for the limelight but to complement and supplement. Proverbs 32:23 says, "Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land."
The girl should be taught that her lot in life is to be obedient and helpful to her husband. Hence, if as a girl she can perform supplemental duties that are vital, she will be better equipped to be a well-adjusted lady. It is more important that a young lady be an accompanist on a piano than a concert pianist. Parents who train their daughter in this manner will someday be called, "blessed," by their son-in-law.
11. Teach her to pull for her dad. The wise mother will teach the girl to make a hero of her father and always pull for him. She should pull for him in business and do all she can to help. She should pull for him in any athletic contest and do all she can to cheer him to victory. In everything he does she should stand on the sidelines and root for her dad. She is being taught to root for the biggest man in her life and to cheer and spur him on to bigger heights. When she is married she will transfer this to her husband and will be a great encouragement to him.
The mother must teach the daughter that when the father is a success the daughter is also a success. She is a very vital part in his success, and as a member of the team she can share the victory and the spoils. When this attitude is properly developed she will feel the same way when she is married. When the husband wins a victory it will be a team victory rather than a victory just for him.
12. Teach her to plan for a profession but to hope that it will not be needed. Mothers and fathers should teach their daughters to train for some kind of profession that is always in demand. There is always the possibility that the daughter will never marry or that she will become a widow with children to rear and will not remarry. Because of this she should plan to pursue some profession that will enable her to support herself and her children in any eventuality. She should be taught that if possible, she should not follow this profession when married. This gives her a dependence, if the opportunity arises to be dependent, but an independence if needed. There are many professions that a young lady could pursue such as that of a school teacher, beautician, secretary, nurse, etc.
13. Teach her the sanctity of the body. Teach her that boys should keep their hands off and that her body should be clean in every way. She should care for her body. She should be well groomed and physically clean. Then she should also be moral and virtuous. Talk with her about situations which arise in the lives of most young ladies. Teach her how to handle each situation. Explain to her that that is the reason she should not be in a car alone with a boy. Teach her what to do if improper advances are made. Let her be conscious of the fact that her body is a very sacred thing and should always be treated as the temple of the Holy Spirit.
14. Teach her to do feminine chores. As is mentioned elsewhere it is better for a girl to do the dishes than the yard, to wash the pots and pans than the car, to clean the bedroom rather than the garage. She should do the duties that she will do when she is married and a successful mother and wife.
Much stress should be placed on the importance of her working hard. It is not feminine to be lazy. In fact, it is quite feminine to work hard. It is not working hard that makes one unfeminine; it is the doing of masculine tasks. Wise is that mother who teaches her daughter that good hard work is feminine and that the work a woman should do should be that of feminine chores.
15. Let her be around feminine women. Teach her to associate with ladies who are feminine. Point them out to her when she is a little girl and tell her they are the ones she should copy and emulate. Let these ladies be those who dress like ladies, talk like ladies, walk with feminine grace, sit with feminine charm. Let these be ladies who are good mothers and who have poise, dedication, chastity, consecration, and spirituality.
16. Let her baby-sit. It should be remembered that someday she will no doubt be a mother. She can prepare herself for this and train for it by caring for little ones while she is a teenager. When a girl gets around thirteen, she should becomes acquainted with taking care of little babies and small children. Her motherly instinct will be developed and nourished. This is very important in preparing her to be a successful and happy mother.
17. Let her care for younger girls in the family. Let her dress them, do their hair, wash their faces, etc. Even a girl seven or eight can care for a little sister. She should be encouraged to do so. This will teach her to fulfill responsibilities, to carry the load in the family circle, to work hard, and to prepare herself for motherhood.
18. Allow her to do no loud shouting or hollering. In fact, such should not be a part of anyone's household. The business of rearing children can be transacted without shouting or fussing. Especially should this be true in a girl, for the parent is to try in every way to make her quiet, meek, and feminine.
19. With the passing of the years, let her shop more for herself, and if she has younger sisters, let her aid them in doing their shopping. This will teach her to care for her own person and also for the needs of others.
The most noble goal that parents can set for their daughters is to help them become Christians. The second most noble goal is to lead them to be ladies, for one of the great needs of our generation is Christian ladies. May God use this chapter to make it so.
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