I have noticed a trend in the last ten years when it comes to female protagonists in books, movies, and TV shows. These women (and girls) are portrayed as strong, outspoken, and fiercely independent. Depending on others is portrayed as weakness.
Much of the push of strong, independent women is due to the groundwork laid by generations past: the courageous women (and men) in the suffrage movement that fought for a woman’s right to vote and those that have demanded legislation for women to be treated as equals when it comes to compensation and benefits from employers.
I am so very thankful to these brave individuals who have enabled women around the world to have a voice. We, as women, are forever indebted to their efforts.
But I fear that we are taking it a bit too far. In fact, I fear that we are encouraging young women to be someone who will forever be hindered because of the notion that she is weak if she can’t do something on her own.
As a mom to a nearly 2-year old daughter, I don’t want my daughter to be independent.
Just to be clear, toddlerhood warrants that we are currently all about independence in our house. “No, I Do it,” is a phrase common in our house these days. This is natural and this is good. But as she grows older, I don’t want her to grow up thinking that she can (and should) do everything on our own. Yes, I want her to be strong and be able to think for herself. I want her to form her own conclusions and have the strength to stand up for what is right.
But I also want her to learn the art of depending on other people.
I believe that God created us to need community. He wants us to depend on each other. He wants us to share in life together. He never intended us to walk through this life alone.
“Two are better than one… If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” -Ecclesiastes 4:9a-10
There are many times in my life where I have needed other people to surround me. Times when I might not have made it through in one piece without a community of people who love me. When I was on bed rest when pregnant with my daughter, neither my baby nor I could physically survive without depending on other people.
It is so hard to be dependent on others, but it is a humbling place where God allows us to witness His ability to use others to meet our needs. And if we surround ourselves with a group of people who share a common goal, most of the time we won’t even need to ask for help because they will anticipate our needs and go above and beyond to meet them (as we should in turn do for them).
After all, I think this is the very reason God created family and, ultimately, the church. We need each other to encourage and uplift us to attain our God-given purposes.
I also believe that God made men and women differently. By denying the inborn characteristics that we are born with as women to fit the mold of what society is telling us we should be is not right, in my opinion.
I want my daughter to be strong and capable…but I also want her to see beauty in her frailties and weaknesses.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” -2 Corinthians 2:9
I want my daughter to think for herself…but I want her to think of others above herself (admittedly, something I myself am still working on).
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” -Phillipians 2:3
I want my daughter to be bold about standing up for what is right and good…but I want her to treat others with kindness, gentleness, and love.
“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.” -1 Corinthians 16:13-14
I don’t want my daughter to be independent. I want her to be entirely dependent on God to fulfill her needs and I want her to find beauty in the community around her.