In addition to our firstborn son, my wife and I have not one, not two, but three beautiful little princesses. Needless to say, we consider ourselves quite blessed. Sure, some might disagree with that assessment, depending on their view of society’s very outdated, arcane, medieval, SEXIST policy of parents of girls paying for weddings (yeah I know – CRAZY isn’t it??). Personally, I believe that is one area (maybe the only one) where society needs to step into the 21st century. But I digress…
Having this many princesses around the house is lots of fun, truly. The constant drama ensures that it’s never boring, and I’ve been told that it only gets better as they grow into teenagers. We’ve got two mother-hens and one in the making, so we certainly don’t have to worry about something slipping through the cracks. They apparently rule rival kingdoms, because their lack of solidarity ensures nobody gets away with anything – a definite plus in the policing department!
Stepping on press-on nails, bobby-pins, and hair clips never gets boring. Having to “discuss” what they want to wear each morning is a blast with 5 and 3 year-olds, so I can only imagine how great it’ll be when they get older. But all in all, it’s a lot of fun having three girls and we certainly wouldn’t trade them for anything. They are Daddy’s princesses (OK, and Mommy’s too, but I’m the one writing this so…) now, with their wild imaginations that transport them to various Disney worlds from day to day, depending on the costume they are wearing and the game they are playing.
I am told, however, to be extra careful because, like caterpillars, little princesses can sometimes turn into another creature entirely. Indeed, little princesses have been known to, before their parents’ very horrified eyes, turn into that most dreaded of creatures, the Diva.
What’s the difference, you ask? Allow me to explain. Where princesses imagine riding in a carriage to the ball, divas will accept nothing less than a fully-equipped limo to ride to their high school prom. Where princesses can make-believe their castle anywhere in the house, regardless of size, divas consider their room, however large and nicely furnished, “slumming-it.” Where princesses understand that manual work just comes with the territory (see Snow White and Cinderella for examples, among others), divas expect to be waited on hand and foot, and would just as soon let their rooms get infested with rats as risk breaking a nail to clean them. Princesses may dream about Prince Charming coming along someday to share a life with them, but of-age divas are quickly on the hunt for a man to dominate and squeeze the life out of.
Expect a human acknowledgement or “thank-you” from a diva daughter? Shoot, you’ll be lucky if you get an eye-roll as she looks up from her smart-phone.
Every Daddy loves his princesses, but no Daddy wants to see any of them turn into divas. Besides, I hear divas are MUCH harder to marry off, at least to future son-in-laws worth their salt. And even if you do manage to marry off one of them, she’ll likely be back living in your basement within a year!
So, want to know our plan? It’s not foolproof, but it just might work.
1.) From day 1, raise them up on Biblical principles. Lots of the other points are just extensions of this, but starting with principles from the foundation of God’s Word is the very best way to raise ALL children, girls and boys alike. You just can’t get any more diva-proof than that.
2.) Teach them to put others first, starting with their own siblings. This is hard, really really hard, because it runs against human nature, but once they start putting others first they will find that people tend to respond in like manner, and the world becomes a better place (and everybody sings kum-ba-ya, you get the picture…).
3.) Give them chores around the house beyond just keeping their room clean. Be reasonable and age-appropriate, of course. They don’t need to work like Cinderella did to feel a sense of contribution, but they do need to know how to get their hands dirty.
4.) Withhold not correction… whatever works for your family here, but discipline, especially for rebellion, must be administered firmly, fairly, and consistently. To do otherwise is to fail as a parent. Yes, it’s that big a deal.
5.) Show them love, affirmation, and affection. If they don’t get it at home, they will seek it in places and ways you wouldn’t want to imagine. Dads, don’t let that happen… ever.
6.) Be sure your children play fairly with each other. When you can, play with them and use that time as a way to explain and encourage fair play. There will be a time when they don’t want to play with you, but they will always look back with fondness on those times when you took the time to play with them.
7.) PRAY for them. Pray hard. Pray specific. Pray often.
Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
This isn’t a promise, but it’s definitely a principle that should be every parent’s hope in raising their children. There’s bound to be ups and downs and moments when I want to pull my hair out (or what’s left of it), but in the end, when I give my Princesses away to their Prince Charming (whose dads, incidentally, will either be giving me a few cows or splitting the wedding), I know the ancient, tried and true legacy they received from us, that we received from our parents, is one that they will want to pass to their children and beyond.