Another Is Waiting

I’m standing in the cold mountain stream that runs in front of our farm.

The water is freezing, but I’ve got my muck boots on so my feet are cold, but dry. (cold feet, warm heart, or something like that)

I’m here to harvest sand for my chickens….

My chickens use the sand to help them digest their food (grit) and also for dust baths.

And sure, I know….I could go and just BUY a bag of sand.

But why would I? I’d miss out on all this wet, cold fun.

All of a sudden I notice beautiful small rocks in the water. I start filling my coat pockets with their loveliness.

One is layered quartz.

Another has flecks of shiny silver and gold.

I found one so green I wondered if it could be a semi-precious stone.

I was scooping up one that had a peace sign of marble swirled in it (very cool!) when a tween-ager wanders up. She had her rain boots on (said boots are photo-bombing that photo if you look closely) and came into the water to help me.  I see an opportunity. “Look at all these rocks, each one unique and different. What if this stream had only rocks that were exactly alike? Boring! I wouldn’t be filling my pockets with them. I wouldn’t be taking each special one inside to put them on my kitchen window sill to join their brethren. I wouldn’t be admiring each one daily.”

She saw right through me. “It’s not that easy,” she sighed. Then she mumbled, “I wish I had grown up when you did.”

Me too; things seemed easier then. I don’t know if it really was or not, but it sure seemed that way to me. Or maybe I was more insulated from the crap-ola in the world. It’s easy to be more insulated when the internet wasn’t invented yet and all we had were 3 VHF television stations and 3 UHF ones.

I thought about the time this tween overheard a group of girls talking about cutting themselves in the bathroom. This was when she was in 6th grade in a small, rural school. Not in the big city, but in the big country. Cutting. Themselves. Girls.

I thought, too, of my daughter’s friend whose mom told her to “try to be prettier.” My heart hurt.

These days our young girls want chicken legs.

They aspire to have “thigh gaps” (being so skinny that the legs above the knees don’t touch each other) and protruding collar and hip bones.

What do you want to be? Skinny and hot. No wonder so many girls have eating disorders and inferiority complexes. This is not healthy: not emotionally, mentally, nor physically healthy.

I’ve come to believe that we are sleeping on the job of raising our children. Somewhere along the line we gave control of our kids over to people and industries that don’t care about them or their development. We mindlessly accept whatever the media and fashion industries put out there. I realized it years ago when I went to buy a bathing suit for my young daughter. Padded tops, skimpy bottoms. For. A. Child.

It’s hard for females to make peace with their bodies. Even skinny, beautiful models struggle with this. Did you see the TED talk that model did? So how do we help our girls develop self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-worth when they are continually bombarded with messages and images telling them that they are “less than”?

Speak up, stand up, and have the courage to be the woman you want your daughter (or niece, granddaughter, sister, friend) to grow up to be. “Healthy and whole” must become the new “skinny and hot.” But how???

First step, we have to wake up.

We must mindfully create ways to mitigate the damage done by culture and society to the developing minds and bodies of our girls. We’ve got to both invent and be the solution. That means we must be aware and vigilant. Not only of the culture around us, but of ourselves too.

I wonder, how much do we talk about our own negative body-image issues in front of our daughters? How much do we obsess about our own looks? Do we let a “Hollywood” mentality creep into our own psyches? Are we in awe of the star who has a baby and is back down to a size 2 in 30 days? Do we praise our girls for their appearance more than anything else? Do we buy them the padded bras and thongs when they are 12? Can we learn to say “nope” to them?

Can we find and engage them in activities that empower them?

This is yet another reason why the Farmgirl movement that MaryJane started is hugely important for not only us, but for our girls.  Explore the Farmgirl Sisterhood if you haven’t already….here is the link to the section for Young Cultivators. It’s for young’uns 8-13 years old and is a great way to get them excited about  Farmgirl/Farmboy wholesome stuff. We need more of that.

Now, your turn to talk. Why do you think the Farmgirl movement is so important TODAY MORE THAN EVER? And what ideas do you have for helping our girls (and ourselves) find happiness with themselves?

Until next time, Friends, savor the flavor of life!

Lots of love, The City Farmgirl, Rebekah

One of my favorite bands, the Avett Brothers, sums it up pretty good in their new song, “Another is Waiting.”

  1. loreta says:

    Rebekah, I’m so glad to see that you as a mother of a young girl are concerned about seeing how the media is portraying what a woman should be to be attractive. I sure wish the clothing was more modest. Keep up the good work. I love your blogs.

  2. Connie says:

    Rebekah, I would love to see this re-printed in every Woman’s magazine published. You covered it all! Even X-Factor Judge, Demi Lovato told a young girl, on the live audtions she did not look like a pop star, but she sang great! I couldn’t believe what I just heard her say to that 14 year old girl! We need more shows like "The Voice " Since they cannot see you, you are judged on your voice and not what you look like! I will not watch the X-factor ever again! Parents today have a tougher job for sure! than when I was growing up or my daughter! Parents are the most important voices a child can hear! A good thing parents can do is voice their opinion to the networks, write to the editor of Seventeen magazine, ask for the store managers where you buy your children’s clothes. Get their attention by taking back, what they want most, your money!
    When I joined Mary Jane’s Farm Sisterhood,and saw the section for "Young Cultivators" I thought Oh how wonderful!!!

  3. Shery says:

    The best counselor that will show us how to find self worth has a name. Dr. Jesus. Doctor of Divinity. He tells us we are worthwhile and lovely and because He says so, We Are. The counsel of men is shallow and fickle…as much so as the fashion runways. Without the Lord in our lives, any answers are short-lived. His answers see us through – from the trials of teen-hood alllll the way to cane-hood. What America’s teens need is Christ in their lives and in their home life. They are daughters of the Most High and if they knew that, they would not have to struggle with who they are or why they are here or how to please others. We don’t have to please others. We are to please Him, and then everything else falls into order…and out and back in. That is why it is so important to make a life choice for God…He will see us through it all.

  4. Nicole White says:

    I’m not an Ashton Kutcher fan, but what he says here is echoing your words. Thought you’d like it. "the sexiest thing in the entire world is being really smart"

  5. Jan says:

    I am so glad that you addressed our obsession with being thin…Painfully thin…What is it about us that makes us think that everyone judges us by our clothing size? Maybe it has to do with control. We have such complicated lives that dealing with our own bodies is our only chance at control-or lack of control…
    I have a close friend that dictates what she eats or not on any particular day on her scale weight in the morning. Her age? 93…Some habits die hard..

  6. Adrienne says:

    What would help immensely would be mentors for young girls who could show them possibilities based on their unique skillset. If your daughter/sister/niece has an affinity for science, technology, engineering and/or math (STEM), encourage her to pursue her craft. Cooking, animal husbandry, creating and building something she enjoys are all part of raising and nurturing a girl who will become a successful and happy woman who is secure in her own mind and body. Sometimes, just listening will help her purge those depressing and dangerous thoughts we all have. Teaching an alternative to cutting, bingeing and purging, anorexia, and self-deprecation is key. Every woman should KNOW she is appreciated and cherished. There should be no doubt where unhappiness can creep into her quiet thoughts.

    These are just some suggestions to try.

  7. JeanineB. says:

    Have you noticed some store magazines and the way they dress little girls now or how skinny they look? Unbelievable. I have stopped shopping at the stores where I think the ads were inappropriate. It is bad enough the way they portray the women,(who looks like these models in your area?), but I am not going to support stores that are trying the same stuff with little girls. You know there are a lot of stores out there and a lot of products you can choose from. Buy the ones you don’t find offensive. Same thing goes for t.v., movies and radio-you can switch or you can turn them off. I don’t even watch t.v. anymore!
    I have to say that I agree with you on MaryJane!!!! It is so much better to be a Farmgirl, to learn things about organic gardening/eating, being healthy and feeling good about yourself. MaryJane introduces you to all these wonderful women and it is so refreshing. Safe for you to share with your Grandmother or your child.
    I have some Mennonite & Amish friends and although they work really hard, they have so much peace and happiness in their hearts. I see the same in their daughters. I don’t see that in a lot of other families. Lots of the Good Lord, wholesome values and less pressure to be some thing that only exists in the minds of the very weak. I think it is possible to move away from these trends but we have to put our money and attitudes where our mouth is. We have to say NO MORE and we have to do it together. I’m with you, Rebekah.

  8. Joan says:

    THANK YOU for saying IT so eloquent!!!! If only we could get more families back to the farmway. And it would be so wonderful if a teens magazine, well for that matter all publishings would pick up your beautiful writing. So very true it is. God Bless

  9. carol branum says:

    hi,maybe you should consider homeschooling….start sewing your daughter dresses,start a new trend???I wish I was skinny too,but this is awful for little girls. carol

  10. Cindy Bee says:

    Well Rebekah, let me just say….First of all….look at what started this conversation. YOU SPENDING TIME with your child doing something OUTSIDE. If families would be families, whether on the farm or in town, and do things together, instead of planting kids in front of tv’s and phones, it would be a good start. Look around. Ask around. How many parents did something with their child away from all of the media – outside for example – for any length of time in the last week. Conversations start with families when the media is turned off.

    I spent the last two days with my niece and we crafted, baked, went for ice cream, and TALKED!

    Cindy Bee

  11. sue says:

    Amen to that sister not only does this apply to our children but to the food we eat and the way we use our world.Here’s to less media and corporation and more local farms and kids just being kids (hopefully on a farm)

  12. Carol in NC says:

    Horses are famous for helping girls navigate the waters of adolescence. They are calm and steady friends who are good listeners, have lots of hair to brush and comb, and don’t talk back. Put that girl on the back of a dead-broke old guy and set her free! But you know all that, lol.

    A friend wrote this precious story for her girls and pulls it out from time to time when she feels like they (or herself) are getting "beat with the ugly stick" as she calls it.

  13. Diane Van Horn says:

    When my daughter was young she wanted short hair and to wear baggy t-shirts and shorts. She was very athletic and always playing with the boys. I got so much flack for it! I was told by my friends to make her grow her hair and wear pretty clothes. Even her Dad, who I was divorced from told me I was making her into a boy. Truth is, I wanted my daughter to be who she wanted to be and try everything that she was interested in. She even met her BFF in a girls bathroom when her BFF came up and told her this is a girl’s bathroom! She thought my daughter was a boy! They became fast friends and are still close today. The thing is this, I wanted my daughter to be more than her looks. I wanted her to be fearless and have strength and talents. My beautiful daughter has grown up to be a wonderful person. She races motorcycles and even re-stored a vintage Mustang car all by herself. She is artistic. kind and down to earth. Did I mention she is also beautiful? She isn’t a stick, she has curves but doesn’t wear skimpy clothes to show the world. She married her Husband after he returned from two tours in Iraq and have been married for over seven years now. She is a licensed cosmetologist and veterinary technician who paints pet portraits in her spare time. I am so proud of the woman she has become. I am so glad that I stood my ground against the media, culture and friends and let her be who she wanted to be. One of my favorite quotes…"Beauty fades, dumb is forever.

  14. Amanda says:

    You totally hit the nail on the head! I’m a mother of two young girls. And according to the BMI chart, my girls are overweight. They are both athletes and farmgirls, so they have muscles. But somehow that doesn’t seem to factor into the charts. They know how to eat healthy and have wonderful rolemodels (MaryJane!)to look up too. And, I’m trying to raise them to know what real beauty is. Because do the heifers really care if we’re wearing mascara or not? But, you know this doesn’t affect just kids. I’m short and skinny and have to shop in the teenager section! Not fun at my age!

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