My daughter is sweet, nice, energetic, compassionate. Her daycare teachers tell me frequently she is nice to everyone and compliment her on her friendliness. I must say that I’ve very proud of this. I want her to grow-up to be a nice girl, I want her to be wholesome. Don’t get me wrong, she’s not perfect, but I try hard to instill in her its important to be nice to everyone.

We had a playdate with an old neighbor, our girls are the same age. They’ve played together since they were less than a year-old. I and my friend talked as the girls played. I was telling her of an incident at daycare a couple of weeks ago. My little girl reported another little girl had been mean to her. And had continued to tell her she had bad breath. I’d given her the advice of telling the other little girl she wasn’t being nice and she didn’t have to play with her if she was going to be mean.

After we talked over my daughter’s situation she told me about her friend’s daughter who was 8 and was having difficulty with a couple of kids in school. Over the weekend, I met with yet another friend and again we got into the social network of little girls. Her daughter is in first grade and had a small concern with her “best friend” the week before at school. My friend told me of a friend of her’s whose daughter is in kindergarten and the girls where having so many issues there was a parents meeting to discuss the kindergarteners behaviors. Really, kindergarten!

My heart sinks realizing that my little girl may run into the “mean girls” much earlier then I remember running into them. Raising girls is difficult. Girls are mean and catty from very young ages. They find things and pick at it. It got me to questioning, how do I raise my daughter to be a nice girl and yet stand up for herself? How do I keep her from being one of those dreaded mean girls? How do I teach her to negotiate those relationships?

The truth is, I can’t keep her from running into such girls. I can prepare for the world. I can teach her through my actions on how to navigate the world. I help her to understand that she is a strong, beautiful girl. Most importantly I want to teach her, even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right (Proverbs 20:11). I want her to know that she’ll be recognized by her own actions. And those actions speak more than words. I further more want to teach her that even though I’m not right beside her, I will always be here for her. Not only, am I always here for her but, most importantly I want her to know that God is always there. When things get tough, I want her to know its OK to come to me and to spend some time on her knees praying. I want to teach her to lean on God when she doesn’t know what to do or where to go.

Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint (Isiah 40:30-31). 

I would really like her to find 2 or 3 really close friends. Friends she could tell anything to. I can imagine her in a tight-knit group of girls, like the penguins above, chatting away and being silly. My hope is that these close penguins (hopefully not real penguins) could then grow-up together and depend on each other. That is my wish for my growing up to fast little girl.