Why I’m Not Raising Nice Girls
If there’s one goal I don’t have for my girls, it’s for them to “be nice”. This may sound odd coming from a Christian mom, but the words “be nice” are rarely uttered in our home.
It’s not that I don’t want well-mannered children. It’s not that I want to raise unkind or “mean girls.” It’s just that I want girls who are raised according to scripture and nowhere do I find that women, young or old, should be nice.
Nice, in its simplest form, means “pleasing, agreeable.” But nice has come to mean far more than that.
Being nice girls means:
- Not saying “No”. I want my girls to know there is a time to say “No.” Whether it’s to overextending themselves or to thwart unwanted advances, “No” is perfectly acceptable language for my daughters.
- Not disagreeing. I’m sorry (actually I’m not; I was just trying to sound nice 🙂 )but I don’t want to raise daughters who are afraid to be the only voice in the room speaking the truth. Nice often means we don’t make waves. I want girls who will always stand up to speak truth when it needs to be spoken no matter how “not nice” they are viewed.
- Not giving an authentic opinion. My husband used to tell me that just because I have an opinion doesn’t mean everyone else wants to hear it. I’ve learned over the years that he’s right. So I want to raise daughters who have discernment about when to speak and when to be silent. But I also want my girls to know they have valuable contributions to make, and to confidently offer them up when it’s appropriate.
Being nice means we strive to please people, which will at some point make us compromise and fail to please God. So being nice is not the goal I have for my girls. Being godly is.
And while I find nowhere in scripture mandating they be nice, I do see throughout the Proverbs, our wisdom manual, other more worthy goals for my daughters. In the Proverbs, I find how to raise God-girls.
- Virtuous. We all know the famous Proverbs 31 woman. The very first thing we are told of her is in verse 10. She is virtuous. This word is often symbolic of purity and righteousness, and I certainly want this for my girls. But it’s actually more accurately translated “strength and power.” So I will also seek to raise my girls to be strong and powerful.
- Capable. The same verse in the NLT says “virtuous and capable.” I think in the church especially we have focused on women being virtuous, but I want both for my daughters. I want them to be strong and capable.
- Industrious and hard-working. (v. 13-18) No lazy girls allowed in our home. We all work. First to serve God, then others–which sometimes includes doing mom’s dishes :-). Hard work for the sake of others creates a spirit of generosity, another godly attribute.
- Generous (v 20). I want daughters who give generously of their resources and their hearts. I love the way this verse shows a woman who extends her hands to the poor and opens her arms to the needy.
- Confident (v 21). My favorite version is the NIV which says, “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” What a beautiful picture. This girl doesn’t waste time or sleep with worry.
- Wise and Kind (v 26). “When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.” When we model it, we are more likely to produce it. After four children, I still need to stay very close to Jesus or a fall down in a big way here!
- Gracious. Proverbs 11:16 says, “A gracious woman gains respect.” Being gracious doesn’t mean we are walked on. It means we can speak up with manners. We can disagree with manners. Gracious girls smile and are joyful, but still do not feel compelled to make everyone “happy.” Gracious women are rare today. I want my daughters to be amongst them.
- Courageous and bold. Proverbs 28:1 says, “the godly are as bold as lions.” I want lioness daughters, daughters who know they stand with what is right and are fearless in defending it.
- Honest. Proverbs 16 tells us the king “loves those who speak honestly.” I don’t want my girls to speak without tact or consideration, but I do want them to speak with authenticity. I want what they say to be real even if it’s not popular or the “Christianese” thing to say.
- Loving. Proverbs 10:12 says, “Hatred stirs up quarrels, but love makes up for all offenses.” I want my girls to not take offense nor give it if it’s in their power. I want them to always seek to fulfill the greatest commandment to love God and love others (Matthew 22:37-40). And I want them to never lose sight of the fact that being nice might make people “happy” for a time, but being loving helps others to witness the very heart of God (1 John 4:16).
So, I’m not raising people-pleasing, nice girls. And I hope you aren’t either. Instead, I’m seeking to raise God-loving, people-serving daughters who know who they are, who they belong to, and who can fearlessly walk in that knowledge.
So mamas, here’s to raising God-girls!