Curriculum for Older Women to Teach Younger Women
Whether or not the Bible is habitually consulted as a resource on the topic of social development, wise women have to admit that Paul's curriculum for womanhood training as outlined in Titus 2: 3-5 is not only sensible but necessary.
That they (aged women) may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good,obedient to their own husbands.— Titus 2: 3-5 KJV
For the purpose of this article the definition of “older woman” is any adult woman (relative, teacher, neighbor). They teach whether or not they are aware; but it would make such a difference if they intentionally set out to instill seeds of decent, productive womanhood in their protégées.
The list of Paul's suggestion is compacted into five headings, under which the entire syllabus can be taught.
(1) Virtue and Purity
That they (older women) be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things. (Titus 2: 3 NKJV)
There are many resources for teaching purity, but the best way to teach virtuous womanhood purity is by example—modeling.
Purity is only one foundational virtue. Self-worth, purpose, honesty and obedience are just as essential, and will actually feed their motivation to live pure. Older women model these principles in:
- media choices
The young women are watching, and if by chance they ask questions, they expect that the answers will correspond with the respondents' actions.
The most effective models are those who confess that the walk down the moral runway is a not a breeze; that there are struggles. They are expected to model reality.
(2) Good Housekeeping
That they admonish the young women . . . to be . . . homemakers. (Titus 2: 4 NKJV)
Young women and men can hardly develop attitudes and habits they have never seen. They learn first by watching and then by practicing.
Here are some basic housekeeping habits which little girls (and boys) can learn by imitating older women:
- House Cleaning
Have little girls start as early as possible to help wash dishes, make the beds, throw soiled clothes in the hamper, clear the dining table, keep household items in their assigned places.
They can help make the shopping list, discuss spending limits, figure out bargains at the store. The mathematicians can take along a calculator.
The recipe can be an exercise in reading and follow instructions, calculating measurements and discussing nutrients, until they are capable of cooking by themselves.
- Bill Payments
Keeping out the debt is an important household duty. Discuss the bill for the cell phone (or other gadgets), compare monthly usages and cost of utilities.
Compare purchasing costs with saving costs on do-it-yourself projects like making birthday and Christmas gifts. Sewing and knitting are very essential crafts in housekeeping.
If encouraged to be consistent in what they learn, and to household areas in which they show keen interest, good housekeeping can become a habit.
(2) Fidelity in Marriage
That they admonish the young women . . . to be discreet, chaste . . . obedient to their own husbands. (Titus 2: 4, 5 NKJV)
Marriage needs to be introduced to young women and men as a union of husband and wife who include God as their spiritual foundation and help. Older women are needed to model respect for their men and their marriage.
Television and other media sources downplay the importance of marriage. Divorces happen without good reason. Men are disrespected by rude children and condescending wives. Young women need live models of older women who confront marriage problems with a sense of commitment and who demonstrate that marriage vows hold precedence over selfish decisions. They learn to support, cooperate with, and be loyal to their men by watching the model.
Wendy Alsup, author of Is the Bible Good for Women? points out that the admonish for women to be obedient "to their own husbands" gave them permission to support only their husband's wishes, and not those of the slave master. Back then, some slave owners claimed the right to wield authority over the slave as well as his wife. The women learned then, as women need to learn now, not to honor any other man above her husband.
(4) Love for Husband
That they admonish the young women to love their husbands. (Titus 2: 4 NKJV)
Young women raised with single mothers receive no in-home preparatory training for becoming wives, let alone for loving their husbands. Yet, they have the same right to learn as those raised in two-parent homes with the advantage of learning by watching.
Here is an important area where older married women are needed to model the good-wife role to their own children as well as to all young women in their sphere of influence. The key ingredients are love and respect.
Here are a few examples of simple love expressions which may go a long way in influencing young women who see them:
- affectionate greeting when husband arrives or departs
- compliments which boost his self-worth
- a show of interest in what he's doing or has done
- congratulations on jobs well done
- "thank you" when he gives a compliment or performs a service
- random "I love you" just because
- expressions of love and respect in his absence
- pledge of support when he faces opposition
- consultation before major decisions
- praying together
Young women view these gestures as special attempts to make the relationship meaningful and happy. They show that love and romance belong in marriage, beyond dating and courtship.
Factors Affecting the Need for Mentoring by Older Women
- Older women are often more capable than even the ministers in instructing the young women. - Matthew Henry's Whole Bible Commentary
- Daughters of single mothers are 53% more likely to marry as teenagers, 111% more likely to have children as teenagers, 164% more likely to have a premarital birth and 92% more likely to dissolve their own marriages. - Insight News
- When we support the growth and empowerment of women and girls, we raise the quality of life for everyone. - Huffington Post
(5) Love for Children
That they admonish the young women to love . . . their children (Titus 2: 4, NKJV)
Children Learn What They Live is the title of Dorothy Law Nolte's poem in which she writes:
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
Older women who make it a habit to commend and empower younger women are performing a meaningful service in the moment, as well as planting seeds which will blossom in later years.
Single women do well in encouraging their daughters to love their fathers. Even when the fathers prove difficult to love, it helps to maintain respect. The statistics which show fatherless daughters at a social and moral disadvantage do not usually include young women who experience the love and guidance of older women who are wise and conscientious.
Young women learn to love their children to the extent that they are loved. Let there be no shortage in the love they receive from the older women.
-- Modeling Awareness Poll --
How much of your attitude and behavior is influenced by your awareness that a young man or woman is learning from you?
© 2013 Dora Weithers