Thunder Thighs

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

(An edited repost from June 2010.)

I was at the park with my boys. Just us, and two teenage girls over by the swings. Young teenagers - maybe still in middle school. Both beautiful, with long hair and big smiles. Both in teeny tiny tank tops and very short shorts.

Suddenly, one of the girls loudly exclaimed, "Eww! I like, totally, have thunder thighs. Look at how they smoosh out when I sit down!"

This girl's thighs were the size of my arms.

I grieved for her.

I resisted the urge to walk over and say, "Girls. These years are but a blip on the radar screen. You are just starting to get beautiful, and your thighs are only going to get bigger, I am sorry to say. Don't worry about them!"

The girls continued to laugh, play with their phones, and float expressions of, "Oh my God!" and "Ewww!" across the playground. I tried to ignore their silly conversation, and just when I'd almost forgotten they were there, another car pulled up. A boy, just about their age, got out. His mother waved goodbye, and pulled away. He walked toward Thunder Thighs, and gave her a hug. They sat on a swing together, held hands, and chatted with the other girl.

I'm sure they didn't notice me - just a Mom With Two Kids. But I noticed them. I thought about that boy. He seemed innocent enough. I wondered if this was one of his first unchaperoned "dates." I wondered if he knew just how shallow those girls sounded before he arrived, and if he was equally insecure. I thought about my own adolescent years, and shook my head. Don't you remember saying or doing things just because you thought you were supposed to say or do them - like, "I'm fat!" or goodness knows what else. Oh, what a difficult time.

I looked at my boys, and for the first time, I thought about them as teenagers. Really thought about it. What kind of character will they have? What am I doing to help them develop that character? I thought about the power that boys and girls have over each other's emotions at that age, and my role in shaping that. Will my boys be the type who only give attention to the girls who wear the tiniest shorts, flip their hair, and say "OMG?" (I'm not foolish enough to think they'll completely ignore those girls!) - or, will they also notice the ones who are a little more thoughtful? Will they be kind and considerate young men? The kind I trust to drop off with a girl, no matter who she is?

Will they feel comfortable talking to Hubby and I about "stuff," and will we have the courage to be straight with them? Will I be able to say certain words that will need to be said?

Oh. . . the worries of the future!

And what to do about it today?

First, I selfishly thanked God for giving me boys and I prayed for my friends who are raising girls. Not that I necessarily have it easier, but . . . there seem to be a lot of bombs thrown at girls in the body-image department; more so than boys. Maybe I won't have to explain to my child why Kim Kardashian is not a good role model, but I certainly don't want to contribute to a culture that idolizes her. I thought about how to avoid that, both as a woman, and a mother of boys.

Which lead to my second thought: reaffirming my intent to raise my boys in a Christian home. I vowed to provide a better example. To avoid excess, materialism, and the culture of celebrity-worship that can be so distracting.

Third, I thought about all the worldly influences on preschoolers' lives. When do they move from liking Dora in white tennis shoes and yellow socks to Miley Cyrus in a push up bra? When do they start thinking skirts need to be shorter and dialogue needs to be edgier? It is just when the hormones kick in, or do we push it on them earlier? I started to get a headache.

Soon, it was time for the young crowd to go. Bikes as transportation confirmed their pre-teen age. Before they rode away, Thunder Thigh's friend put a t-shirt on over her tiny tank top. I wondered if her mother knew about the outfit concealed beneath. I silently wished them, and their parents, good luck.

A few days later, when I started thinking about it all again, I turned to the Bible for help.
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them upon your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." Deuteronomy 6:5-7
"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6
Impress upon your children
Talk with them
Train them

Thank you, God, for reminding me that my job, as Mom of Two Little Boys Who Will Grow Up, includes important character building, even now.

How do you build character in your little ones?

Linking with:
Playdates @ The Wellspring

share this on »

22 Responses to “Thunder Thighs”

  1. As you know we share the same,"thank God we have boys" scenerio. There have been times when I could see my teen being manipulated by a girl and didn't have a clue beings boys and seeing things exactly as presented. Makes me crazy at times, and I 'm with you, it's my desire to make my boys gentlemen....I'm learning right now, once they start 'teen' years a Momma doesn't have the influence as a influence the heck out of them when they are little.

  2. Love this post! It is so true that we live in a sad existence concerning our image as women and boys live in a visual trash can. I pray for my boys all the time We are very intentional in talking to our boys about girls and my 14 year old has read books on marriage and dating. Not that he is there at all it is just really important in my opinion to get them to see the big picture. He has respect for girls because he view them as someones future wife and he thinks how he would want a boy to treat his young wife. As far a raising girls....well I have one so far and I am praying hard;)

  3. We had a horrible experience - I sent an innocent 5 yr old to Kindergarten and he came home trying to "be cool" - totally different kid. We homeschool now. :) He's 10 now almost 11 - and I've had my boy "back" for all those years since we quit public school. I look around at the mall and at the play ground & I see what you see. I see hurting children. we are working hard to raise our boys for Jesus- we are praying over them and making the best decisions we can for them. it's a wicked world we are living in - but PTL - we know who has the victory in the end!!! 

  4. I had daughters but I have three grandsons.  One of the things I see my son-in-law and daughter do is teach them to be knights and to have a good work ethic.  The oldest is 8--a yes ma'am and no sir boy. I think a lot of it is the example that dad sets, too.  It's an added blessing that Shawn owns his own company.  His office door is always open to his children.  

    Such an excellent post--I'm happy you reposted it.  I prayed God would speak to hearts through it.


  5. Applause for you for recognizing your role in shaping your boys. Much is written on how hard it is to raise girls but I think there is equal importance in teaching our boys. Are you familiar with Dannah Gresh? She just released a great book called Keeping the Good in our Boys (or something close to it). I haven't read it but her book for girls, Keeping the Little in Our Girls, was really helpful for me. 

  6. It makes me sad how body image comes into play so early. I daily remind my girls how they are loved and valued and made in the image of God. 

    At the same time, I admit: I fuss over my body shape, my hair. I try to find the right clothes, that are the most flattering. I'm not as overt as the girls on the playground, but if I'm gut-level honest, I struggle with insecurities, too. I'm grateful for the grace of my Heavenly Father, who continues to remind me that I am valued and significant to him. And when I hear that message -- and believe it soul-deep -- I am better able to pass it on to my girls. 

  7. All I can say is that I tried.  The result, at this point, has not been consistently successful spiritually.  My adult kids and their spouses and my g-kids are struggling with following the Lord, b/c it doesn't fit into their work, school, friends, etc.   At this moment in time, all I can do is continue to ask the Lord to break through the barriers that somehow gained the power.  I am blessed when I see others who can walk with Him and can turn their hearts to Him even when overall social connections don't go that direction.  I also repeat to myself many, many times that if He could break into my life [I was 20] and the lives of some of my sisters, etc., all of us having gone through forms of addiction and physical/emotional abuse, He can reach anyone else.  I'm counting on that seed to grow and grow and bring forth healthy fruit.

    I am pleased that you are seeing what is being placed before your eyes and your heart is planning ways to help your children grow stronger and stronger in Him.    

  8. Marlece - I appreciate that advice. I'm not ready for the teen years, but I know they are coming! So glad you stopped by.

  9. HI Tesha - So good to see you here. I agree that it is important to think about these things early and pray, pray, pray. I hope my boys have respect for girls like that one day. 

  10. Hi Kelli - Thanks for stopping by! I, too, am grateful for the reminder that God has the victory in the end. 

  11. Thanks, Pamela. I agree that dad's involvement is key - for boys and girls. I know not all children have that and it breaks my heart. 

  12. Laura - I have not heard of Dannah Gresh but I will definitely check her out. Thanks for the recommendation!

  13. Right there with you - I fuss over myself as well. But you are right that what we should focus on is how we are valued by God for the work he is creating in us. That is a message that makes the outside appearances just fall by the wayside. So glad you pointed that out.

  14. Joanne - Bless you for sharing this here. You remind us that there is only so much we can do as parents. At a certain point, we have to trust our Heavenly Father - and as you pointed out, he is capable of working miracles in the most difficult of lives. Your children and grandkids will be in my prayers. 

  15. I'm to a stage where the little ones I hang out with are grands, so I'm definitely in a supporting role regarding their character development. But I remember the days, and I'd say that consequences are important. Let them know the consequences of choices they make or disobeying, and then enforce them. It works, and helps, at all ages.

    "If you stay up to watch the end of this show, we'll need to skip your bedtime story and go straight to prayers." 

    "I would like to buy you one special treat on this outing. We just started, and we'll see many things today. If that's what you really want, I will buy it, but then we won't shop any more." 

    Stopping by from the linkup at Jennifer Lee's today. So glad I found you.

  16. SouthernGalThoughtsJune 21, 2012 at 7:44 AM

    So much truth written here.  I struggle to make sure I'm teaching my youngest the things that will sustain him when the world is screaming lies at him.  

  17. I have 4 daughters, my oldest is 18 my youngest is 3.  I have had the same thoughts and struggle with the same ideas and probably the same headaches.  :-)  The only thing I can say is that you have to pursue your child and be sold out to completely chasing her.  You can't get distracted by activities or other pursuits, even if it involves the church.  It's a constant balancing act.  One example is that we limit our children's activities to 1 per child, per year.  So if they want volleyball, they play during volleyball season and that's it.  We did this so we would eat supper as a family every night.  We feel this is so important in connecting with our girls.  If you're always gone and running around, you can't connect.  And this is what it's all about.  This is the choice our family has made for us.  Every family is different.  My 18 yr old is a wonderful woman of great character.  She is being courted by a boy (he came and asked my husband, the whole thing) and they are looking at marriage.  She comes to me with her problems and issues and while I know she doesn't tell me everything, she knows she can.  Am I perfect?  NO!  I always say that God's grace covered my parenting and my kids are "good" in spite of me, not because of me.  He is faithful!

  18. What a relevant and important topic for parents. My kids are 13, 9, and 4, and we are just beginning the transition from taking care of them as children to inspiring them to become adults and care for themselves and others. It is a weird place to be and I'm finding my role completely changing these days for the older ones. I am so grateful that my oldest still talks to be about "stuff" and isn't like his peers in so many ways, but there is still time and pressure and the fear of all the things my children will have to encounter down the line. I am grateful that I can cling to Him and offer Christ's example when I'm otherwise so ill-equipped for just how to raise healthy, responsible adults who serve others and shine the light of Christ in our world. 

  19. Cara - You are right: on our own, we are "so ill-equipped" to raise these children. I feel that way often! I appreciate you sharing how the journey is changing as your children get older. So many reasons to lean on Christ.

  20. Amber - I love your advise to "pursue your child" - what a super visual image of how parenting can sometimes feel, and how we just have to keep going. Thank you for that. 

  21. Sheila - I'm so glad you stopped by. Your practical advice is something I will put into practice today. Consequences are important - so is following through. Parenting requires discipline from the adult. We have to follow through! It is the key, I think. Thank you for showing us that.

  22. oh my goodness. yes. i have been so convicted lately by the television my children are watching, how they adore dora and trains and i wonder, what will this lead to? and i cannot think of them with girls like this for it makes me ache and sob and live in fear. so i, too, take it one day at a time, and strive to love them the best i can and pray like mad. love this post, friend.