Raising My Daughter in a Broken World

When I first set out six­teen or so years ago pub­lish­ing con­tent online, I did so as a naïve child, using what lit­tle of a home­page I could build to unite my chat room friends, to social­ize with a few local friends via guest­books, and to share a lit­tle bit about my interests.

The skills I picked up would soon be put to use in force when I became a Chris­t­ian in the fall of 2001. I wast­ed no time in putting togeth­er web­site after web­site to spread the gospel of the con­ser­v­a­tive Bap­tist church of which I had become a member.

What began as large­ly sta­t­ic web­sites would blos­som in time to blogs, mes­sage boards, and more, small­er projects than I care to try to count.

Much of what I wrote about was very abstract; I dealt with doc­trine and the­ol­o­gy, and I treat­ed the world as if it were black and white — this is good, that is bad.

There was nev­er a weight to my life, and I remained com­fort­able judg­ing the world from behind my screen, dis­con­nect­ed from it all.

Flash foward. 

Near­ly five years ago, my daugh­ter was born, and though I’ve pub­lished on aver­age of about fif­teen to twen­ty posts per year since then, most of those posts come from the first year or two.

They were, despite no longer being writ­ten “in ser­vice to the King,” very much ide­al­is­tic, deal­ing with the truth­ful­ness of the Bible, the fail­ings of Chris­tian­i­ty, and so on.

As the years passed, increas­ing­ly few­er of my friends seemed con­cerned about ide­olo­gies. Gone were the debates I had grown accus­tomed to — did Christ die for all or only the elect? when should a per­son be bap­tized? how should a church be gov­erned? etc. — hav­ing been replaced by folks with eyes turned sec­u­lar­ly, toward the world around them.

Naïve me was not pre­pared for that world. A world where racism is very much alive. Where black peo­ple can be mur­dered by those sworn to serve and pro­tect. Where rape vic­tims watch as their assaulters go free.

What was once a world I could hand-wave away with some pass­ing ref­er­ence to the fall of mankind, con­tent in the hope that was offered in Jesus Christ, had become a world in which very real peo­ple were griev­ous­ly attack­ing each oth­er, often for no good rea­son at all.

What was once a world I had absolute­ly no wor­ries toward, being a “child of the King,” has become a world in which my own child must live.

She’s four years old, but folks — includ­ing mem­bers of her own fam­i­ly — are already push­ing her into a sex­u­al iden­ti­ty and con­cepts like boyfriend/girlfriend when she’s still not even con­sis­tent­ly hold­ing a pen­cil properly.

She’s four year old, but she’s around peo­ple who will tell lit­tle boys “not to be a girl” because they are afraid to do some­thing; is my daugh­ter some­thing less because she is a girl? That’s the mes­sage that gives to lit­tle boys, and though it may not affect them much now, it’s part of a cul­ture which allows chil­dren to grow up think­ing “mas­culin­i­ty” is good and that “macho” things are strong and inter­est­ing while “fem­i­nin­i­ty” is weak­ness and vapid­i­ty and “basic.”

She’s four years old, and she is my bea­con of a hope in a world that seems to be crum­bling around me. I admit, it pret­ty much has been for a good long while, but social media made it all “real,” it yanked me away from the abstract and opened my eyes to a world in which injus­tice was busi­ness as usual.

I’m grate­ful that I don’t real­ly have to explain Fer­gu­son or Char­lotte or Don­ald Trump to her. Not yet anyway.

I have a win­dow — a very small, ever-shrink­ing win­dow — in which I can ensure that the human­is­tic val­ues that our world so des­per­ate­ly needs are instilled into her.

She’s kind. She’s sen­si­tive. She loves bugs! She looks for­ward to vot­ing with me every chance I have to go vote. And she’s bash­ful, nev­er fear­ful, of oth­er people.

Not bad so far, though I can always be bet­ter. I’d love to hear how you’re prepar­ing your chil­dren for a future in a poten­tial­ly very ugly world. (And if you’re Amer­i­can, I hope that part of how you’re prepar­ing the way for your chil­dren is by vot­ing for Hillary Clin­ton in a few weeks!) Please take a moment to share your meth­ods and ideas below.

While my atten­tion has very much been toward her, I still share my thoughts on cur­rent events — and even still some more abstract top­ics — on Face­book, where I can dump some words and hit pub­lish quick­ly, I’ve not yet ful­ly aban­doned this site.

There’s more to come, I assure you. Good things, I hope.





Join the Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Use your Gravatar-enabled email address while commenting to automatically enhance your comment with some of Gravatar's open profile data.

Comments must be made in accordance with the comment policy. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam; learn how your comment data is processed.

You may use Markdown to format your comments; additionally, these HTML tags and attributes may be used: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Rick Beckman