This week I’m excited to feature a guest post from Lucy Rycroft – fellow mum of four, blogger at The Hope-Filled Family and author of Redeeming Advent and most recently a children’s book called Deborah and Jael. Lucy shares her thoughts on the importance of introducing our children to strong female role models, and why we have so much to learn from the lives and stories of women in the Bible in particular. This post contains affiliate links.
The importance of strong female role models for our daughters is, I would suggest, pretty commonplace. But how about for our sons?
As a mum of three boys and a girl, I can tell you that I’m every bit as passionate about my sons having female role models as my daughter – perhaps more so.
Because it’s not enough for our girls to be raised as strong human beings, confident of their own abilities. Our boys, too, need to be raised as strong and confident – so confident in their own abilities that they are able to encourage the women around them to shine, too.
I want my sons to know that being a stay-at-home Dad is not a failed life, just as being a stay-at-home Mum isn’t.
I want them to know that an equal marriage sometimes means stepping aside for your spouse to fulfil their dreams.
And I want them to know that a healthy workplace has the best people in each role, regardless of gender, and you make it work for them around their family commitments.
How do we do this?
One of the best ways we can instil values in our children is through the books we read to them, so I’m delighted with the number of female-oriented children’s books which have been published in the last few years.
Our family loves the Little People, Big Dreams series, HerStory and Fantastically Great Women who Changed the World, to name but a few. Maybe you own these titles too. These books tell of women who battled adversity to achieve great things, and they are totally inspiring for any young person.
The Bible tells of many wonderfully strong women too, and if we’re committed to raising our kids to know and love God, then it’s vital that we include these women’s stories in our children’s repertoire.
My book Deborah and Jael was written because I didn’t see many Christian children’s books about the women of the Bible. I wanted my kids to grow up knowing their stories alongside those of Noah, David and Daniel.
And I wanted other families to enjoy them too, because there are some things I think we can all learn specifically from Biblical women:
The women we read about in the Bible weren’t perfect. But they practised obedience in stepping into the calling God had given them – a call to be the first woman, mother and grandmother (Eve), a call to stay loyal to her mother-in-law (Ruth), a call to carry the Son of God himself (Mary).
These women weren’t just ‘brave’ or ‘empowered’, or any of the words we might use to describe feminists – they were obedient. Many were probably scared witless, but they loved their Lord and followed His call, even when it was hard.
This isn’t a very popular word, really, is it? Especially with us women, for whom the term might be associated with an unequal or abusive marriage.
However, the Bible teaches that God is totally loving, reliable and steadfast. We can trust Him with everything we are. There is no fear in submitting our lives to Him.
The women of the Bible won battles (Deborah), saved an entire race (Esther), ran their own business (Lydia) – but they did these things under the headship of God. Sharing their stories with our children teaches us all that the best way to live is in submission to God, rather than for our own ambition or fame.
While it is great to point our kids towards inspirational stories of female role models, there is also a danger to them. Because these women have made the history books for their incredible achievements, it is easy to assume that this is what gives them value as human beings.
Ultimately, though, these women were great because they were created and loved by God. And they were no greater than our children are – because they, too, were created and are loved by God!
Presenting our children with Biblical female role models helps them (and us!) to remember that our true identity comes from what Christ achieved for us on the cross. And we all have an important role to play in God’s Kingdom, which is not based on how we perform, but in who God has created us to be.
It is my hope that when my children, and others around the world, read stories like Deborah and Jael, they will be inspired to know that God has a great plan for their lives, too – irrespective of gender – and that He will equip them for this. We don’t need to rely on our own talents (or lack of) – God will give us everything we need, when we need it.
God is a God of equality, and the more we plumb the depths of these rich stories from Scripture, the more we will discover excellent role models for our children.