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The Pouty Princess Problem

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Remember that old Waylon Jennings song, “Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys”? I’ve had another version of the title running through my head lately: “Mamas, Don’t Let Your Sons Grow Up Treating Their Sisters Like Princesses”.

Now, I realize it doesn’t have nearly the same flow, rhythm or catchiness that Jennings’ title does, but I think some enterprising young songwriter could get somewhere with the concept. Just describe a few scenarios of young ladies who feel entitled to be treated like royalty — of which there are plenty (call me if you need some good material here), add in some threats that boys will prove their ability to cherish their future wives by how well they treat their sisters, and provide a dash or two of selective blindness when the sweet little girls demonstrate remarkable ability to manipulate and coerce every male that comes within a mile of their wiles, and voila! You’ve got a song!

I’ve seen it more in Christian homeschooling circles than anywhere else, but I wasn’t sure what to call it until my son muttered his frustration with his friends’ catering to their sisters’ every whim. Obviously, it’s the Princess Problem.

Let’s take a moment here to address what I think is entirely appropriate. Young men should be embued with a healthy respect for ladies of all ages. This would naturally include their sisters. This does not, however, include behavior that lead these same young ladies to the very erroneous belief that they are to be catered to and regarded in every wish and desire. I have seen this princess delusion permeate a classroom, obliterate many a guy-bonding moment, and set wheels a-turning in the minds of younger female siblings. It’s not pretty. And it’s not biblical.

I get that the “We are daughters of the King” mantra yields therefore that we are all princesses in God’s economy. Well, no, not exactly, although it might be derived. God in His Word never once calls any of us lady Christians princesses. He says that we are co-inheritors with Christ, His first born Son. He says that we will rule with Him in heaven, and while that speaks to some position in regard to our relationship to our Father, the King, that does not make us princesses in regard to one another. The title is conferred by the King and not to be assumed by the crowned as an entitlement to certain lording-it-over-one-another behavior.

This is what I’m talking about. Dads, if you want your little girl to feel special, then by all means, call her your little princess. Mamas, if you want your son to grow up respecting women — and as the mom of three daughters, I would really appreciate this — encourage him to consider all people as image bearers of God and especially believers as being brothers and sisters in Christ. Not just girls, but all. It will naturally follow that the girls in his life — whether sisters, cousins, friends, coworkers, bosses, teachers, etc. — will be treated respectfully.

But if the atmosphere in your home is one where the sons must cater to all that the daughters want, you are not only creating a tribe of little sparkly-crowned monsters, you are doing no favor to those girls of yours. They might find the title that is most often referenced in Scripture for believers — SERVANT — a hard one to assume if they have become used to brothers always giving up their seats, taking blame and running errands for, and jumping to the crooked little pinkies of the household princess.

Grace falls from heaven on us, and graciousness flows forth when that heaven-grace transforms the heart from stone to flesh. It’s irresistable.

And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” Mark 9:35

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace. 1 Peter 4:10

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. John 15:12-13

It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant. Matthew 20:26

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Phillipians 2:3

Just a little something I was thinking about while I waited for my crown.



Written by mrsdkmiller

October 29, 2014 at 1:47 pm

Matt Walsh: Behold: the two absolutely worst arguments against homeschooling

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I was going to caveat that maybe these aren’t the absolute worst, but now that I think about it and in reading his replies, I think he’s right. Other criticisms address the mechanics or methods of homeschooling. These strike at the purpose and definition of parenting and education, and worse, the purpose — or, if you will, the chief end — of man. Theirs is the secular mindset that humans are all the same and without distinction in design and calling, rather than uniquely created by God for a purpose that begins and ends with glorifying and enjoying Him.

Written by mrsdkmiller

April 26, 2014 at 8:46 am

Posted in Homeschooling

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Why do we penalize mastery in the arts?

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Einstein played the violin, Edison loved music, DaVinci was an artist. All greatest thinkers pursued mastery in the arts. Today we penalize it.

Written by mrsdkmiller

November 4, 2013 at 5:39 am

If it is important enough for me

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Teaching the wonder of God’s word, the intricate web of doctrinal truths and the beauty of God’s plan to your children doesn’t have to be daunting, and you don’t need a Masters of Divinity to do it effectively.

Consider the stories you love to read to your children and that they love to hear.  Our Creator God, the Master Storyteller, has fashioned history so that remarkable plotlines and compelling characters dot the landscape of our Bible.  A good Bible storybook will pick up on these elements of narrative, and the investment in one with a careful balance between narrative and prophetic truth-telling is a must for any Christian household. But, instead of reading to your children just from the storybooks, don’t neglect also reading directly from Scripture.

Ask your children if they would like to hear the story just as the Lord tells it. Then pick up the Bible – not an electronic version, but the paper and binding kind – and read the narrative again, marking in the text as you go along where you might go back and reinforce the truths that rise above the storyline.

There are many opportunities to do this with some of the most-loved stories of the Bible. Here are some suggestions:  Jonah’s trip in the belly of the big fish and the truth that is expressed in John 12:24 (question: what must die in us?); God’s cutting in two the sacrifice while Abraham was in the trance and Romans 2:29 (question: who does the cutting and why is this important?); the many references to sheep throughout the Bible and the direct correlation of sheep to the followers of Christ in John 10 (question: what makes a sheep a sheep?).

Ponder a portion from the best known Bible story of all, the account of the angel Gabriel’s visit to Mary, which was our Bible story from this Sunday’s children’s lesson in our ongoing discussion of the Trinity. In it, the Triune God is revealed in the announcement to the young maid:

You have found favor with God [the Father]…. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High [the Father]. And the Lord God [the Father] will give to Him [the Son] the throne…. The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High [the Father] will overshadow you; therefore the child [the Son] will be called holy – the Son of God” (Luke 1:30-37).

Do you think it was an accident that Gabriel was so explicit in his word choice and exhaustive in his explanation of how God would be involved in this miraculous occurrence? The Triune God executed and affected this most crucial event in history so that believers would know that all of the Godhead was in agreement and took part.  And if it’s important for me to know this, it’s important for my children to hear it from an early age and to see it as an essential point of truth. As to how much of it they understand, first, that is up to the Lord’s moving mercifully and mightily in their hearts, and second, they will comprehend more and more as they grow and they hear it discussed over and over while living under my roof.

Don’t shrink back from teaching what may appear to be heavy doctrine. Look back at that passage from Luke or the others and uncover more lovely doctrines to share with your children. You may be surprised to discover what even the littlest ones can comprehend!

This post first appeared at the Three Rivers Grace Church blog.

Written by mrsdkmiller

September 3, 2013 at 10:31 am

This is how classical education works.

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I can’t make my children believers in and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ — only the Holy Spirit can work that miracle and only if they have been called from before the foundation of the world to be redeemed by Christ on the cross —  but I can regularly exult in Him in their presence and influence their perception of Him.

Mark Hays writes at Kuyperian Commentary about a car ride with his son, Calvin, wherein they spent the hour listening to a lecture by Dr. George Grant on King Alfred:

As Dr. Grant spoke I recalled what I’d learned about King Alfred from Ben Merkle’s book, The White Horse King. So I paused our inimitable orator to tell my son about shield walls and bezerkers, about Guthrum and the Danes, about bravery and cunning, about a king that learned humility through hardship.  Calvin commented how much the Middle Ages sounded like Middle Earth, and I agreed.  Externally I agreed.  Internally I rejoiced that my son was avidly listening to my stories and listening well enough to have made a connection between Alfred and Tolkien.


I love King Alfred.  I want to be like King Alfred, and I want my sons to be more like King Alfred than I will ever be.  Long ago, I realized that you can’t force your children to love your heroes, but during that conversation with Calvin, I realized that you don’t have to.  Your love for your heroes will be infectious.  Your children will simply catch it.

(Alfred, Calvin, and Tolkien)

This is how classical education works. Infuse your students, your children, with a love for learning that can’t be bound or grounded. This is how biblical education works. Have praises for your Lord ever on your lips so that they are ever wondering how you came to know Him so well.

Written by mrsdkmiller

April 3, 2013 at 2:31 pm

Wife, Mom, Tutor…. Theologian?

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I suppose “Amateur Theologian” is a not so bad a label, but when my brother said it, he meant it mockingly. It meant, “Oh, don’t tell me you’re agreeing with Laura just because what she says sounds theological. She’s an Amateur Theologian. Leave it up to the professionals.”

But, I have a word of encouragement for moms who may feel as though the Theology Train has passed them by:  Don’t summarily hand the teaching of doctrine over to the professionals.

If you are believers and you hold to the Scriptures alone as your source for Truth about God and salvation, you and your husband are the most influential teachers your children will have. And this goes beyond the lovely nugget of truth that Children Learn What They Live.  They need to know WHY you live the way you do, and when you can consistently turn them back to the Scriptures for your answers, they will learn that you hold the Word of God in high esteem, that you believe it is the foundation, the starting point and the ending point for all discussions and queries and quagmires in life. When you encourage them to read and memorize the Scriptures and show them how, you give them the tools they need to make His Word a living instructor in their hearts. And when you supplement with solid, teachable resources, such as a children’s catechism or Bible story book — and explain to them why you picked that source — you develop in them discernment in using the gifts the Lord has provided His church over the generations. And finally, as my husband and I came to discover just recently, when you consistently and diligently place your children under faithful and biblical presentation of the Gospel, you won’t miss out on the opportunity for the Holy Spirit to use that preaching to regenerate their hearts.

Tim Challies pointed to a piece he tagged as Theology Mom, called 5 Things My Mom Taught Me About Theology — What That Means For Your Kid, by Derek Rishmawy. It’s a solid exhortation to boldly tackle foundational theology in your parenting, and I recommend the whole article, but if you just want a summary, here’s the upshot:


If you feel overwhelmed by the idea of being responsible for the spiritual well-being of your child hear me say three words of encouragement:
  1. First, good for you–it is a big deal and from my experience in student ministries not enough parents care about it beyond wondering why we haven’t speed-sanctified their child for them. A little urgency isn’t a bad thing.
  2. Second, calm down–you are not responsible for converting them, as that is work of the Holy Spirit, but pointing them to Christ. Too much urgency will make you crazy.
  3. Third, take heart–you are not alone in this. You have the promise of Jesus that he will be with you until the end of the age as you go out to fulfill the Great Commission even unto the ends of your own backyard. (Matt 28)

(HT: 5 Things My Mom Taught Me About Theology — What That Means For Your Kid.)




Written by mrsdkmiller

March 28, 2013 at 9:10 am

Homeschool Screwtape Letter

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(This was sent to me via one of my homeschooling lists. After 10+ years of educating my children at home, I can look back through the ups and downs, the hills and the valleys, and say, “So true!”  I don’t know who the original author is, although I’ve done a pretty decent online search. If you do, please comment here or send me a note and I’ll give proper attribution. Thanks.)


My Pitiable Muggleword,

I received your frantic message and have considered it fully. While your concern (bordering on paranoia) is understandable, you MUST CALM DOWN. Yes, I understand the threat is real. Your patient’s recent embarkment on this endeavor they call “homeschooling” may at first seem quite intimidating. Especially when she flanks her efforts with such gaudy words as “discipleship,” “nurture,” and “Christian Education.” But take it from me, our arsenal is fully supplied when it comes to dealing with “homeschoolers.”

Consider first the size of the task. So long as you keep the spectacle of institutionalized education ever before your patient, she will continually shrink back OR forge passionately ahead steamrolling all in her way. Keep her ignorant of the insidious fact we have spent years trying to bury . . that the Enemy created these pitiful creatures with both intellect AND appetite and, given a loving environment, their intellect will grow as naturally as their bodies. You must endeavor to quickly make a home for the idol of academia in her HOUSE as we have in schools. Faced with the fear of failure, it has been my experience that mothers will bow readily sacrificing relationships, faith, and that sickening sense of peace in a home which a mother who trusts the Enemy so easily creates.

Ganesha, god of knowledge

The weapons which serve these purposes are many. For instance comparison, which always leads the patient to weigh her weaknesses against another’s strengths resulting in despair OR her strengths against another’s weaknesses resulting in a false sense of pride. Strive to instill the sense of superiority so commonly found in homeschoolers, especially the novice. Follow this up quickly with inferiority when she inevitably encounters more experienced and superior homeschoolers. Superiority or inferiority . . either state will serve our purposes and render your patient harmless.

Oddly enough, curriculum is another useful weapon. As the patient spends hour upon hour seeking the course of study that will be “just right” for her children, her dependence upon her choice will grow steadily. Add to that the considerable monetary investment and this weapon becomes practically autonomous. For any human will defend and fight for that in which they are invested. As she comes to homeschooling with both time AND money invested in her curriculum and then experiences the inevitable resistance of her children, she will in turn fight for and defend BOOKS. The passion we’ve known to motivate the self-sacrificial love the Enemy instilled in mothers since time began, can easily be manipulated so that, instead of defending her children, she ATTACKS them when they impede the plan she has so carefully orchestrated late into the night while her precious ones slumbered.

Goals. Turn all her sincere desires, both spiritual and academic, into lofty goals. In so doing, you will move her from a position of humble hope and prayerful petition to aggressive ambition and demand. Cause her to assume responsibility not only for her chidren’s academics, but for their attitudes, character, obedience . . all of which, while forever under her influence, are completely outside her control. Thereby, you will entangle her with frustration, anger, and ultimately resentment.

Finally, fear. Fear, fear, fear. The Enemy himself knows how humans are given to fear. Over and over in His letter to them He placates them with the exhortation, “Do not fear.” So you must scream it louder! Fear has the potential to undermine the “noblest” of your patient’s efforts. Pervert the human instinct for self-preservation, and your patient will commit even heinous sin in the name of protection of her children. Fear is the fertile ground for every seed of destruction. Strife, screaming, abuse, even hatred will grow like weeds that choke the life out of a mother and a home.

But I must warn you, should your patient ever discover and with putrid humility embrace the truth that she is merely a vessel who has been chosen by the Enemy for a “noble” use . . to pour out knowledge with grace, THEN you are in great danger. For it is this position, humble, dependent, and even broken, in which the Enemy finds His most useful and influential vessels. You MUST keep your patient from this stance. Fill her with pride and ambition OR guilt and despair. Either will work. But do not let her believe that there is anything relevant beyond her own plans and efforts and the unfettered cooperation of her spouse and children with said plans. For if she does, she will discover the despicable provision and love of the Enemy who is forever working His fiendish will in the midst of our patient’s seeming successes and failures.

Be diligent, Muggleword. The influence of the patient upon her children is potent, due simply to the combination of being “mother” and the multitude of hours spent together. It is your duty to exploit this influence to the ruin of all involved.


(The following was part of the original email message, so to give due to the author, I wanted to make sure this was included in my post. — LM)

My purpose in writing this letter was twofold:

1. to expose the strategy and devices of the enemy; to steal his “playbook.”

I know these strategies because in my 21 years of mothering and now going on 13 years of homeschooling, I have been deceived by them, have reaped the fruit of their lies, have seen the redemption of my savior in them, and, by His grace, am experiencing victory over them day by day

2. to reveal and help us appreciate the potential, eternal power of the opportunity that is ours through homeschooling

Homeschooling is a vehicle for discipleship. Discipleship is the responsibility of every Christian parent and must not be sacrificed for any other goal no matter how great.

What does it take to disciple?

A message
A relationship
A strength motivated by faith


What is our message?
The greatest message ever sent or received. The love and grace of Jesus.

Luke 4:18-19
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath annointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised. To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”

How does this apply to my day to day life in homeschooling?
Put a mom in a house with any combination of female hormones, babies, toddlers, adolescent issues, boy/girl diversities, ants in the pants, teen drama, dog puke on the carpet, plugged toilets, throw in a few sports, extracurricular activities, lost pencils, books, shoes . .  shake well and tell her to teach them. Homeschooling is a veritable breeding ground for sin.

The good news is that the Good News is all about God’s daily grace in the face of our daily sin. We have the opportunity to respond with the Gospel of Jesus everyday all day long.

We are the messenger. The message is the power to transform. The seed holds within it the life.

Pray for “Gospelized Homeschooling”


You will protect (fight for) what you invest in, whether it is curriculum, activities, schedules/plans, OR relationships.

What am I fighting for? What angers me? Am I fighting for the souls of my children or something temporal? Flesh and blood or powers of the air?

When my fight becomes focused on the eternal and spiritual, my motives become pure. My behavior is marked with humility and dependence on the ONLY One who can win this fight.

If I assume responsibility for something that is out of my control (child’s attitude, faith, obedience), I will wrestle with frustration, anger, and resentment.

What is MY responsibility in the face of conflict? Humility, prayer, seeking God’s wisdom. If my response/discipline is not marked with humility, I am in sin. I cannot hope to achieve a righteous end with unrighteous means.

“Your gentleness made me great.” (Ps 18:35)

Jesus’ model was time spent WITH. Life. Not programs, ten steps to discipling success, or a curriculum.

The poet W.H. Auden said the human species is distinctive in at least three ways: we are the only animals that work, laugh, and pray. “A satisfactory human life, individually or collectively, is possible only if proper respect is paid to all three worlds. Without Prayer and Work, laughter turns ugly, the comic obscenities grubby, the mock aggression into real hatred and cruelty. Without Laughter and Work, Prayer turns Gnostic, cranky, Pharisaic, while those who try to live by Work alone, without Laughter or Prayer, turn into insane lovers of power, tyrants who would enslave Nature to their immediate desire – an attempt which can only end in utter catastrophe, shipwreck on the Isle of Sirens.” (Finding God In Unexpected Places, Philip Yancey, p. 261, 265)


We need to consider the role of law (teacher) and grace (savior) in our homes. The law reveals our sin and hopelessness without a savior. Don’t teach your children to perfect themselves (or if they fail, to condemn themselves) with law.

Where does my strength come from?

Paul challenged the Galatians 3:1-4:
“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?”

5:1 “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again without the yoke of bondage.”

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (NIV)

We must walk in the Spirit and His strength. As we do, we become free to embrace the uniqueness and individual strengths in ourselves and our children. This is how our homes and homeschool truly glorify God. Just as each creation brings glory to its maker in a way uniquely its own, so do we as we follow the particular path He has laid out for us and our children. And within each family there is blessed room for the diverse talents and gifts with which God has entrusted each member.

Written by mrsdkmiller

January 13, 2012 at 9:29 am

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