The Timeless Qualities of a Virtuous Young Woman
- By: Hallee
I did not grow up in a single town. My father was in the United States Army all of my life. He retired when I was 26 years old. As such, I lived in a couple of countries, several states, several cities, and went to several schools. Most of us in high school were “army brats” and we scattered once graduation was over. Some joined the Army, some went to college, some went to their parents’ hometown. In the twenty-odd years since graduating high school, I’ve kept in constant contact with one friend and sporadic contact with another friend.
Social networking has been wonderful in bringing us all “back together”. I have loved getting reacquainted with so many high school friends, and have really enjoyed seeing the people they’ve turned out to be. So many are devoted, faithful Christian men and women and have really become a source of great encouragement and friendship to me. Because of the way so many of us were raised, without modern technology, we likely would never have been in contact ever again.
My older brother and I went to the same high school. He graduated a year before me and we had a lot of the same friends in school. Since he was my first “Facebook friend,” as soon as he friended me, I was flooded with friend requests from high school. To be honest, for several days, I was intimidated by it and embarrassed by it.
In continuing our discussion of Vicki Courtney’s 5 Conversations You Must Have with Your Daughter, we reach the final Chapter 19, “The Timeless Qualities of a Virtuous Young Woman.”
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I realize that regrets aren’t useful, helpful, and in some cases can be construed as sinful, but I still find myself feeling a twinge of “I wish” when I think about my last two years of high school. I wasn’t a great kid then, and I well know it now. I was very selfish, very self motivating, and tried to ignore the fact that I was just a teenager as much as possible. Because of my job, I was exposed to a lot of military men, and that’s who I dated instead of boys my age. My weekends were spent with that circle of friends rather than any circle of friends from school or church. I worked every Saturday and Sunday, and I was so disinterested in my parents’ church that I don’t remember attending but a small handful of services, and remember absolutely nothing about the youth group.
I was a bad person. I maintained my good grades, which was sheer luck or God’s grace if He bothered with me at the time, but all in all, there was nothing redeeming about me. By the time I put my life on the right track, I was already married to my ex-husband and the damage had been done. There was no way to get those years back. There is no way to go back to high school and do it all “right”.
Virtue is defined as moral excellence; goodness; righteousness. I don’t know how people remember me (and I can assure you that “virtuous” doesn’t come close to what might be), but I remember myself and I know who I was. Virtue was nothing I longed for, nor was it in any way achieved. When I look at my school friends from high school, especially those first few days on Facebook, I would see a classmate and typically have some very strong memory or impression of that person. I can’t help but cringe at what some of the impressions or memories of me may be.
I’ve been pretty open with my 14-year-old daughter, Kaylee, about those kinds of feelings. I don’t want her to think back to when she was 17-years-old and regret not having dinner with her family, not wanting to spend time with her brothers, not having friends who were good people. She and I have had a few conversations about it, but she doesn’t have the perspective of looking back like I do and there’s only so much I can say or convey – the rest is going to be up to her and the decisions that she makes.
As a 39-year-old woman, I am so much more aware of the importance of a good reputation. My reputation now is part of my witness to God’s amazing grace and His love for us. Living a virtuous life is something to which I aspire and something for which I pray my children will embrace. I pray regularly for my daughter, that she will make being virtuous a goal in her entire life – not just in her teen years.
As this book ends and we look back at the previous eighteen chapters, the thing that stands out the most is that we as parents shouldn’t be afraid to encourage our daughters to go against the societal grain. It’s up to us to be strict with dress, friends, entertainment, social functions. We need to monitor activities and electronic communications, build defenses in against the deluge of marketing that they’re going to face daily – things that our parents didn’t necessarily have to deal with. We can’t let them make their own decisions about matters that will ultimately affect virtue. And we need not be afraid to say no, over and over again. Even if they fight us about it now, they will thank us for it in the future.
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