05 October 2009

Who is Influencing Our Children?

Heidi-Mari and Danika both started ballet at the Colleen William’s Ballet School at a very early age.

Heidi-Mari started when she was 5years old, once a week and the last two years, twice a week. We saw her love for ballet increase over the past few years, as well as an improvement in her self discipline and posture. Ballet is her whole life. She will dance through her chores, practice some bar exercises while she’s making salad and try a new dance routine whenever she has a free moment.

Needless to say, little Danika is literally dancing in her sister’s footsteps. Colleen only takes little girls after they turn 4years, but Danika started her ballet classes 3 months before her 4th birthday. You see, Danika grew up in front of Colleen. At the end of every quarter, Colleen invites the parents to watch the progress of the ballerinas and every time our whole family goes to watch Heidi-Mari. Danika was six weeks old when she attended the first parent’s open day. Thus Colleen knew little Danika, and I think Colleen too, couldn’t wait to see Danika start ballet. Three months before her 4th birthday, we dressed her in a ballet dress and after one of Heidi-Mari’s classes she walked up to Colleen and asked her if she could please start ballet classes. You could literally see how Colleen’s face softened and her heart crumbled with the sincere request from the little girl. Without hesitation she said yes and Danika started her ballet classes the next week.

During last week’s parents' open day, I was amazed to see the level at which these little girls perform their ballet.

Three weeks ago, the Durbanville Primary School asked Colleen if one or two of her ballet classes would perform an item in their annual concert. Heidi-Mari’s class was one of the classes that Colleen chose. I love to make ballet costumes and this costume was very easy.

The week of the concert was typical Cape Winter weather, with rain and a stormy, ice cold wind. We wouldn’t be able to attend the concert (under normal circumstances, it is already a challenge to attend a concert with little ones) even if we wanted to.

But we did manage to see the concert dance, when Colleen let the girls perform the item at the parents' open day.

Colleen Williams is one of the rare women I want to have an influence on my daughters. She is steady, strong in character and has a unique, positive influence on the girls.
She has a way of introducing ballet to little girls that makes them just fall in love with ballet.

In every ballet class the girls enter a fantasy world, being a little princess or a tin soldier, a jack in the box or a straight colorful pencil, an animal or a flower. And through their imaginations, Colleen introduces the fine art of ballet, good posture and self discipline.

She has the gentlest way of talking to and teaching these little girls. Even when correcting them, they don’t even realize they are being corrected.

But I’m especially thankful for the beautiful, feminine example Colleen is to Heidi-Mari, who is entering the season of beautiful girlhood transforming into beautiful womanhood. Colleen is an example of a true lady, someone with strong character. She is always the same, a lady with integrity. She always reminds the girls, when something is worth doing, it is worth doing well. She expects punctuality for classes and values regular attendance of classes. It may sound strange to highlight these traits and you might think (as I do) it is kind of expected and obvious. But believe me, being around the girls and mothers in the ballet school, it is scary to notice, how the girls and their mothers, don’t value these character traits anymore. Mothers don’t model it to their daughters. The mothers don’t pay attention; they don’t want to sacrifice time and effort and always choose the easiest way out.

With our boys it is even more difficult to find people with upright character and integrity to influence them as real men of God. The world of children is dominated by feminism. The other day we heard how impressed a mother was that her boy of eight is now receiving rugby coaching from a lady. Where are the men?? We need real men to speak manhood into the lives of our boys! When our sons are exposed to the influence of women, 24 hours a day, we promote ungodly feminism in our sons! And we have to be aware of this from a very early age.

Between the age of 18 months and 3 years little boys need the company of male figures – their dads and brothers, if they have brothers - so they can start to associate themselves with men and know they are different from women. It is during this age that dad has to take on more responsibilities and spend more time with his sons. In our home it is normally at that age that a new baby arrives and dad just has to take over more care of the second youngest.

At the age of about 13 years, there is another distinct shift of authority over the young man. During that age, our sons need to see their mother as a woman who needs love and respect – the wife of his father. He needs to have respect for a woman so he can love, respect and take care of his own wife one day. It is easier for the young man to make this mind shift, when his dad takes over the authority over his son and his mother takes the position of Dad’s wife. We have experienced it numerous times with CJ (who is now 15years old). When I try to exercise authority or control over CJ (unfortunately it is more difficult for me to make the mind shift than for CJ) I can immediately see a change in his respect for me as a woman. When I stand back and let Christo handle times of discipline or dispute, my son keeps his soft attitude towards me and I assist in the culturing of the right attitude towards his future wife. Thus I allow him to associate with the real man in his life.

Then we have to seek strong men, other than dad, who will have positions of authority, teaching and influence on our sons’ lives. In today’s (feminist dominated) world, especially in teaching positions, we need to make sure, our sons (of all ages) are exposed to real men. Men with integrity and strong character. No wimps! Men who have a solid conviction of what is right, men who are not afraid to make a decision and take responsibility for their decisions, men who don’t mind working hard and getting their hands get dirty, men who stand strong against temptations like lust, pornography and the love of money, men of courage, who will sacrifice for their loved ones.

Praise the Lord for such strong men in CJ and Josua’s lives, through the horse riding school. These men have a much bigger influence on my boys than they ever know and we are so thankful for their presence in their lives. The horse riding school is owned by a hard working vet with integrity and strong character. Then there is one special family who helps sponsor Silverball’s lease, who are always ready to take CJ along to events and who model generosity – a family who cares and whose decisions aren’t defined by what they can get out of something, before doing good.

Character and integrity aren't very high on the priority list in today’s culture and I think parents often don’t evaluate the character and integrity of the people that have an influence on their children’s lives. Maybe people lack these traits because they weren't modeled to them when they were younger and they have become a forgotten virtues. They belongs to the ancient past, when things were a lot slower. In today’s culture it is the survival of the fittest that counts. The one with the most toys wins!

Christo and I would rather let our children go without certain extramural activities and the skills they would learn, than expose them to people with weak character and low integrity. The same applies for the kind of friends our children are choosing. It may sound harsh and short sighted, but Christo and I always have to remind ourselves: God keeps us, parents, responsible for the bringing up of our children. We have to make sure we expose them to the right people.

“Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits.’”
1 Co 15:33

1 comment:

Sonja said...

Linnie,dit is goed gese en uiters nodig om gese te word! Vandag se ouers word meestal so rond gejaag deur hulle lewenstyl dat hulle nie meer kans kry om helder te dink en die Here n kans te gee om hulle te lei in hierdie baie belangrike waardes nie. Daarom waardeer ek ook my blog want dit gee my die kans om uit n ander hoek na my eie lewe te kyk en meer daaroor te dink en met mense soos jy te kom praat en te hoor hoe dink jy en dit bring n eenheid, die eenheid wat ons nodig het as kinders van God wat Hom verwag!

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