My dear mini-women — Hannah here. I’m going to say something a little weird, but hear me out.
I wish I’d seen more bullying in high school. You know, like the bullying from the movies where they shove a kid at a locker, or yell some cuss word at him. That kind of bullying would have made it way easier for me to do the right thing! It’s so OBVIOUSLY wrong that it would have been no trouble at all to speak up and ask people to behave better than that.
But the right thing to do? It’s not always that clear and in-your-face. No, it’s a bit more hidden at times. Like when you and your friends want to have a movie night but no one wants to invite that one girl because she’s annoying and loud. And the right thing to do is invite her, but you don’t really want to speak up because…well – this girl IS annoying!
Or when your parents tell you that they don’t want you talking to a certain boy anymore but he’s so cute when he laughs at your jokes and nobody else in your life laughs at your jokes, so you REALLY want to see him again.
Or when your little sister wants to play with you, but all you want to do is watch TV because you are just exhausted.
The right thing? It’s often the harder thing.
Do you girls watch the Olympics? I do. My favorite is gymnastics. I watch those girls (and guys!) accomplish amazing things, I stare at their muscles flex and I google things like, ‘Can I become a gymnast even though I should have started at age 3 and I cannot currently do a pull-up?’ (The answer is no by the way). But the reason these athletes are so amazing is because they do HARD things. They train for hours. They stretch every day. They watch every piece of food that passes their lips. They say no to plans and go to bed at 9pm (hey, that’s one thing we have in common!) because they need enough sleep to recover. In order for them to become the BEST they can be, they live a life of difficult choices, and as you can see when they’re out on the balance beam, it seems to be paying off in the long run!
Now, we can’t all be Olympic athletes, but I use them as an example because it seems like we often look at the right thing to do, and whine to God. “It’s too hard! I can’t do that! I don’t want to invite the loud girl to movie night, I don’t want to stop texting that boy because then I’ll just sit around alone, and I don’t want to play with my little sister- she’s too wild and I’m tired!” Whine whine whine.
Jesus is already VERY aware that the right thing to do can be very hard. The night He was to be crucified, even knowing it was the most important act that had ever been done, and ever would be done, He cried out to His Father, asking if there was any other way to do this; Jesus was terrified.
I went all extreme on you just now, didn’t I girls? One minute we’re chatting about the loud annoying girl, and the next I’m hitting you out of nowhere with the Crucifixion.
But see, I think that was Paul’s whole point with his verse that we’re talking about here.
Whatever is right, think on those things.
drawing by V ERONICA
It can be so easy to do the wrong thing. Ignore that girl, keep texting that boy, tell your little sister to go away, if you’re an Olympian – eat a whole pizza for dinner.
Paul knows that, and so he’s asking us to THINK and remember when people throughout history did the right thing. And how it worked out well for them.
You ask that girl to the movie night, and maybe she will be annoying. She’ll also always remember that someone cared about her.
You stop texting that boy, and he’ll either be a gentleman and wait for you, or you’ll figure out that he wasn’t that into you in the first place, and you honored your parents by listening to them.
You play with your little sister even when you’re tired? She is going to talk you up as the best big sister ever!
The Lord (and others) are greatly pleased when we do the right thing.
In your Talking to God journals this week, I think first you should chat with God about situations that are going to come up in your life (or maybe they’re already happening) where it’s going to be tough to do the right thing. And secondly, ask Him to help you get in the habit of thinking about the right thing to do, before these issues even occur.
And in your comments below, maybe tell us about a tough choice you had to make, and whether you think you made the right or wrong one.
To get you started, let’s see what Asher has to say.
What if we’ve done the wrong thing? Maybe you lied to your mom to get yourself out of trouble, and although you’ve confessed it to God, you still feel awful about it. Is there any more room for right now? You might think, since I’ve already messed up, I should just stop trying to do right.
Sometimes it’s hard not to wallow in guilt, but we don’t need to – Jesus took care of that. His love for you doesn’t depend on how “right” your actions are. So, even if it takes a lot of courage (and perhaps a little dignity), do your best to brush off your shoulders and get up again – because there’s still a lot of right left to be done!
You know there’s no judgment here, mini-women! Only encouragement and growth.
I don’t know about you, but whenever I hear the word “noble”, I think of Sir Lancelot with his armor all dented up or Rosa Parks sitting bravely in the front of the bus. It’s like “noble” isn’t just about doing the RIGHT thing – it’s about doing the BIG thing.
Not just saying no to bullying but getting out there and wiping out bullying for all time.
Not simply choosing not to cheat but leading an entire honor campaign so no one ever cheats again. It seems like if you aren’t willing to pretty much DIE for a cause, it isn’t considered “noble.”
Wow, Miss Nancy. Die? We’re like, 11 years old.
Of COURSE I don’t want you to die! I don’t even want you to put yourself in danger. You’re not knights and social activists and soldiers. You’re Mini-Women. So does that mean you can’t be noble? And if so, why are we even talking about this verse?
Okay, here’s the deal.
The first definition of “noble” was “born into a high social class.” We’re talking aristocrats – lords and ladies – dukes and duchesses — that whole crowd. People of that rank were expected to do high-minded things – like take care of the poor and protect the land. The noble classes still exist in some countries, but the word has taken on a bigger meaning so we can all be part of it.
Noble now means having fine personal qualities – like honesty and honor and decency. If you’re noble you have ideals that you live by – like standing up for the underdog and always being true to your word.
So really, “noble” isn’t something you DO. It’s something you ARE. We can all be noble, and we need to be. That’s what living a godly life is about.
In that verse from Philippians we’re looking at (4:8), Paul says to think about whatever is noble, so consider the things that make noble people, well … noble. They are:
Honest even when it’s easier to fib
Generous even when it means giving up their stuff
Brave even when running seems like a better idea
Strong even when it might seem impossible not to just fall apart
Faithful to what they know to be true even when nobody would fault them for fudging just a little bit
None of that requires you to do BIG things in Tween World:
You don’t have to lead a big ol’ movement to wipe out bullying in your community, but you can be there for that kid who’s being taunted on the bus.
You may not be able to convince the entire sixth grade to sign an honor code, but you can stay above cheating yourself.
You probably won’t get every girl in your church to stop gossiping, but you can refuse to take part when the talk turns to, “I don’t mean to talk about her but …”
In fact, your biggest job right now, as a Mini-Woman, is to develop a noble character.
Find in your true self the honesty and generosity and courage and strength and faithfulness God put there, deep in your soul. BE all of that, the best you can with God, and the noble causes and actions will be there in your path when the time is right.
So think of yourself as Lady Adie or Jenna , the Baroness Esmeralda or Kaelyn, the Duchess Mabry or Larryn, or Princess Amarise or Vanna or Corinne. Sophia, Lacie, Miah, Halle Belle, Raquel – you are all Tween Noblewomen. In your Talking To God Journals (most women of nobility keep diaries and journals, y’know) ask God which noble qualities you need to fish out from the bottom and wash off and bring into the light. They’re there. You only need to discover them.
If you want to comment, and we hope you do, tell us what one noble quality has already shown itself in you. Remember, this isn’t being “conceited” or “bragging”. We have to know what God’s doing in us before we can act on it.
Let’s see what Asher has to say about that. …
Sometimes being noble comes naturally… like praying for your friend, who’s always got your back. But when it comes to those people who aren’t as easy to take? The challenging part comes in.
Returning favors to those who are likeable is a noble thing, though expected, but being kind to those who haven’t done the same to you is really remarkable. It would likely be difficult to lend your textbook to that girl who spread a nasty rumor about you last month – and it would likely challenge her to be noble, too!
No, we aren’t perfect, but we can try our best to be noble – in both easy times and hard.
Have a good week, Noble Mini-Women!
P.S. If you want to submit a drawing, photo, story or poem for the July Mini-Makers Post email it to me by July 26. For more info, just click here!
Welcome to our first post in the WhatEVer Series here on Tween You and Me. And a special welcome to our newest members of the Mini-Women Tribelet, LARRYN and MABRY. Let’s be sure they know we’re glad they’ve joined us.
And just in time, as we start something new, in more ways than one. First, a new topic and second, a new feature. Keep reading to see what that is.
HANNAH is our blogger today …
Have you girls ever heard or seen a court case? Where they take a witness up to the stand, place the person’s hand on the Bible, and have him (or her!) swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?
It’s pretty serious at that point, right? He had his hand on the Bible so he has to tell the truth now. Ha! We know people still lie under oath. Having a hand on the Bible doesn’t seem to worry them too much. And to be honest the Bible never says that if your hand was on it, that you better tell the truth then. In fact, the Bible even says not to swear oaths! It says let your yes be yes and your no be no.
This means – always be truthful. If you answered yes to someone questioning you about whether you folded the laundry, or if you said no, make sure that either way you answered truthfully. The Bible wants us to live that way all the time, not just in a courtroom.
Now, I’ve gotten to know you girls pretty well. I don’t think any of you would tell a bold-faced lie; it’s the white lies we have to worry about.
Drawing by VERONICA
Like telling your fellow athletes that you practiced hard for the game this weekend, but you only worked out and stretched once. Telling your piano teacher that you practiced your scales, but you did it leaning back on the piano bench so you could see the tv. Telling your little brother you’ll help him with his homework, when your real plan is to just help him with one question, before you make an excuse to go play outside.
Mini-women, these lies can add up and get easier over time, and believe me when I say – I struggle with this too! I don’t want to hurt people’s feelings or let anyone down, so I say “yes” to everything when really I mean, “Not really, probably not”.
I think Paul (the awesome guy who wrote the verse we’re talking about) knew that little white lies can be easy to tell. That’s why he didn’t just declare “Always tell the truth!” and leave it at that.
He said, “Whatever is true – think on those things.”
That’s right. THINK about living truthfully. We go through routines every day, and we can probably predict the kinds of questions our teachers, parents, siblings, teammates are going to ask us. Like did we practice our dribbling for the game, did we pick up our flute to practice even once this week, stuff like that. So Paul tells us to start thinking about those questions, and how we’re going to answer them truthfully. Think about truth he says! Don’t think about how you’re going to get out of awkward situation by making up a quick lie and running away. Just admit if you didn’t have the time to do all of those things this week!
So when your teammates ask you if you prepped for the game this week, instead of just nodding, maybe say, “Guys, I really felt overwhelmed this week with school and chores and I didn’t get a lot of time to warm myself up. Anyone want to meet me at the field a little early, and help me run some drills?” When your piano teacher notices your scales don’t seem as strong, admit to her you’ve been slacking a bit and write a post-it note to stick on the piano that says, “No tv!” And when your little brother needs help with his homework, ask if you can start right after dinner so you BOTH get time to play outside.
It can be embarrassing not to be ready for things, or uncomfortable when someone asks you to give up your time to help with something that you’d rather not do. But above all else – don’t lie. Think about true things, and respond with those words.
In your Talking to God journals this week, (f you don’t know what that is, ask in a comment and one of the Mini-Women will be glad to explain it to you) ask God to help you to make TRUTH something you get in the habit of thinking about. Talk about a specific example where you’re having a hard time with the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
In your comments, let’s chat about some white lies we have problems with. I’ll go first – I don’t tell people when they upset me! I just go about my day, and let it roll off. Eventually it stops rolling off though, and I realize I should have spoken kindly and truthfully that my feelings were hurt. I’m trying to get better at that! (Drawing by ASHER)
You know who always posts great comments? ASHER. She’s 14 now, which makes her, well, not a tween any more, but we don’t want to lose her and her awesome insights and artwork, right? So we’ve created a new feature on the blog called … wait for it ..
Every week she’ll add her input to what Hannah or Nancy writes. Here’s what she has to say today:
“Have you ever heard of the golden rule? You know, ‘treat others the way you’d like to be treated’? Well, I think it especially applies to being truthful! For example, if one of your friends was struggling with their math homework, wouldn’t you rather have them tell you instead of secretly copying your homework?
One awesome way of encouraging others to be real is to do so yourself. So, in this scenario, your friend would probably feel a lot more comfortable with sharing her math issues if you are honest about how you’re having trouble getting along with your sister (or whatever problem you’re facing).”
Now you’ll have three viewpoints:
Nancy, sort of like the grandmother!
Hannah, like a very wise big sister …
And Asher, your just-a-little- bit older peer
All three portraits are by Melody Dobbins.
We ALL Love you Mini-Women. Now THAT’S the unfiltered truth!
Hello, Tribelet of Amazing Mini-Women! How much do you LOVE this drawing by our own AMARISE? Doesn’t the girl look like she’s saying, “Whatever!”?
In a good way, of course. I mean, the word “whatever” can mean a lot of different things in tween language (an is usually punctuated with an eye roll):
. “That makes no sense.”
“I don’t care about what you just said (or you, for that matter).”
“I don’t understand what you’re saying and I don’t want to admit it so let’s stop talking about it.”
“I can’t believe you just said that! Oh, my WORD!” (‘oh, my word’ is our Hannah’s fave expression; just sayin’)
What “whatever” means depends on the way it’s said. So sometimes it can be a good thing:
ME: Hannah, does this top make me look fat?
HANNAH: Whatever, Nancy. I’m not even going to answer that question. (And then she goes on to tell me I look amazing, right?)
That would be a nice way for Hannah to let me know I was talking crazy. So, yeah, “whatever” can be a good word.
It was for the author of the Letter to the Philippians in the New Testament. (Philippians 4:8, in case you want to look it up) Here’s what he says to the people of Philippi:
“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.”
That’s exactly what we’re going to do for the next seven weeks: think about these things. One at a time.
And not just think about them, but see how they fit into your own tween girl lives with all of the friendship issues and changing bodies and absurd little creature boys. With siblings who can’t stay out of your stuff and parents who seem to understand you less all the time and girls who look at you like you have an extra ear growing out of your forehead every time you speak.
WHATEVER you’re dealing with this summer, we hope our posts about THESE “whatevers” will help you. Because here’s the next verse in that passage:
“Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me — put it into practice.”
We aren’t going to just tell you to be “noble,” for instance. We’re not even going to simply explain what “noble” means and then say, “Go for it.” Hannah and I and a new Tribelet Elder we’ll tell you about later will fill you with examples and REAL suggestions and chances to talk to each other about how it’s all working in your experience.
So if you’re in, get out your Talking To God Journals — and if you’re a new member of the Tribelet, like HANNAH (different Hannah from blog-writer Hannah — please welcome her, ladies) just ask what that is in a comment and one of your fellow mini-women will explain it to you. In your conversation with God on paper, write down the “whatevers” in that passage you either don’t understand or you know you have a hard time “putting into practice.”
If you want to comment, and of course we hope you do, either share that with us, or just tell us how you feel about the word “Whatever.” Has your mom banned its use in your house? Do you hate it when people say it to you? Is it your favorite way to get out of an uncomfortable conversation? (Then get ready to make friends with that word in a whole new way)
I do know this about it: Whatever is honest and real and ready to be her best self… that’s every one of you mini-women. Can’t wait to spend the next seven weeks with you.
Blessings, Nancy, Hannah and the New Mystery Elder (soon to be revealed)
Hello, Amazing Tribelet of Mini-Women. And welcome back ADIE, who’s been away from us for a while, and VANNA too. We’ve missed you mini-women. Our newest members of the Tribelet are LACIE, RAQUEL, MAISIE and ADDISEN. We hope you all find a home here. Everybody — how about a mini-woman welcome for these ladies?
This is perfect timing for, well, everybody, because we’re winding up our series on friendships and getting ready to start a new set of posts on Wednesday. Even if you haven’t been involved over the past few months with Friendship Flubs and When Friendships Flounder, that’s okay. You can still respond to what we’re about to do today AND you’ll have a chance to read some of those posts you’ve missed — the ones that will be the most helpful to YOU personally.
We’ve talked about almost every friendship issue there is in tween world — from that friend who loves you so much she wants to be your clone to that not-a-friend who decides she’d rather bully you than be your bestie. Hannah and I hope ALL of it has been helpful.
The bummer, of course, is when all the help in the world doesn’t save a friendship. When it’s just done. In one of our last posts we talked about what to do for you when that happens, but what about the next friendship? Will the same mistakes happen?
There’s no way to know that, of course. At this point in your life, everybody is just kind of trying to figure it all out and not everyone has the kind of help you have. But each one of us can do the best she can on her end, right?
That’s what today’s post is about.
Here’s what we’ll do:
(1) Below I’ve listed all the areas of friendship flubs and floundering we’ve gone over in our series. Just read them over, and in your Talking To God Journal make a list of the ones you’ve experienced and struggled with.
(2) Then if you need to, go back and study the posts where we talked about those. I’ve included the links for you. After all, the only person you can really change is you, right?
(3) Next you’ll see a list of great friendship qualities (Friendship Super Powers) . Again, in your Talking To God Journal list ALL of the ones that sound like you. And thank God that you’ve been given those, because THOSE are the things that will make you rock as a friend.
* I hang in there with friends, even when things are hard
I care just as much about my friends as I do about me
I’m generous. I totally share
I let my friends be who they are and I’m who I am
There’s no “I’m better than you” thing with me
I let my friends have their share of the attention
I try to work things out without throwing a fit
I’m honest — and I’m kind when I’m honest
I look for the best in my friends
I keep my word. No broken promises here
I keep my friends’ secrets unless it’s not safe to
I listen. Really listen.
Anybody want to guess where in the Bible I got that list? Hint: “Love is …”
If you want to post a comment — and we hope ALL of you do, including our newest members and anyone just joining us for the very first time today — tell us your Friendship Super Powers. Make that comment box rock!