Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Hope Chest-Preparing Daughters for Marriage



There was a time that young girls were encouraged to dream and prepare for life as an adult.  Girls made linens blankets and collected the items they would need to set up their households when they married.    Adulthood was something to look forward to not to be avoided at all costs like people today seem to feel.

But why have girls given up on the precious tradition of the hope chest?  Or more accurately why have mothers stopped teaching there daughters to prepare for marriage?  Well I think there are two reasons for it.  The main reason is the feminist movement.  That's when you see the abrupt end of the hope chest in America.  Girls were told they don't need men or children.  That being a wife and mother was tantamount to slavery and only stupid women would actually want to be a homemaker or even consider getting married.  Still with all that poisonous propaganda women and men still get married and almost all American women have children.  Even some of the most strident of the feminist movement have ended up married.  So why don't we just admit the reality here that most of our daughters are going to get married and have children?

The other reason is political correctness.  Many people don't want to seem to encourage their daughters to marriage because that would just be horrible if they didn't chose to marry or have children!  Gasp!  How horrible! How judgmental!   And we wouldn't want to teach our daughters that there are real personality traits you should avoid in a marriage partner if you would like a happy life.  Most women my age and younger have never had a real conversation with their mother or father on preparing for married life.  This is a huge problem in our country when you look at the horrifically high divorce rates in America.  Even these self congratulating politically correct people would never say that they think their own divorces were fun or that if they could change the past they would not have married the person they ended up divorcing.


.  We should be bringing back the hope chest because it encourages our daughters to think about marriage and adulthood in a logical way.  It makes them envision what they actually want marriage to be like and let me tell you I have had some amazing conversations with my eldest daughter about picking a husband and what to look for in a life partner.  I think these are the most important things I can teach my children because guess what? Your an adult most of your life and I want my children to be prepared for that.  And the person you marry will be a huge factor in your future happiness.




My eldest daughter is almost 15 and about a year ago we started preparing her hope chest.  She made a list of all the things she would need to set up a household with my guidance. These times have led to some amazing talks about marriage and adulthood.   Now every weekend when I go yardsaling she comes along, whereas before she never wanted to, and she looks for items on her list.  She is excited to find amazing deals on cookware like Pyrex and corning ware and she is looking for new linens and cooking utensils.  I told her that it would be great if she is wealthy when she sets up her own house but most likely she will be like most young people and if not exactly poor not well off either.  So she will not be able to afford to go out and buy name brand nice things from the store.  But at yard sales you can get these things in new condition for a few bucks or less!

So slowly she is building up her hope chest and talking to me about life and growing up. It reminds me of something my father often said.  I'm not raising children I'm raising future adults, so my priority is to give them the skills to be successful in life.

4 comments:

  1. My husband and I have 4 daughters. Our twins are 13, one is 12, and the other will be 11 in September. He started building hope chests for them late last year and has 2 almost completed. They are excited to start filling them. We also have a son who turned 2 in December.We plan on starting a tool collection for him so he will have a start on the things he'll need.

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  2. I love the idea of hope chests. I remember moving out my parents' house and suddenly becoming aware of all the little things I never thought to get my own of - favorite recipes, an address book with all the relatives' addresses/ phone numbers, and the stain- erasing laundry tricks that I didn't know proportions for list a few.

    It is my hope that as families help their daughters collect physical pieces for their future homes, they remember the less obvious and less tangible knowledge pieces as well!

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  3. Great post! I wish more people thought this way.

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  4. I had a Hope Chest that I filled nearly to the brim before I was married at 18 years old. Now, I've been married nearly 26 years and I still look back with fond memories at all the excitement I enjoyed at selecting each item for my Hope Chest, to the day I finally was able to take all of it out and start using it! Such a delight! And the commentator above made a great point about preparing young men with their own set of tools, great ideas! In our family, each woman to goes off to live on her own or who gets married also gets her own tool collection.

    Lana

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