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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Game of Graces

The Game of Graces was a wildly popular French import in the 1800's.  Though boys did play it on occasion, it was primarily a game for girls and young ladies.

The rules were pretty simple and could be played almost anywhere. . .even in fancy dresses if need be.  Two players, each holding two wands (short sticks), would throw a hoop back and forth to each other.  If the hoop dropped, the receiving player would lose a point. When a player lost 20 points, the game was over.

Somewhere in there among the raucous point tallying and enthusiastic hoop throwing, young ladies were supposed to be learning poise and grace.  I have no idea how.

But I wish it was as simple as a few sticks and a round thing.  Teaching grace is HARD. 
HAVING grace, for that matter, is hard as well. . .let alone helping young hearts understand and develop the character trait.

But that is one of the many things a mother is entrusted to teach her children. . .and it's difficult to do, especially our modern culture, where grace and gentleness of heart and spirit aren't exactly modeled.

So I struggle.

I want my girls to grow up with a perfect balance of grace and gentleness, coupled with a big dose of determination and strength of character.  I want them to know how to nurture and care for and love, but also to stand on their own two feet and be wise leaders full of integrity when the occasion warrants it.  I want them to know their own value and to be able to love and form relationships from a place of self confidence.  And I want them to see the value in others, even if it's hidden a little.

In short, I guess I want to teach my girls how to be 'Proverbs 31' women. . .who are wise and industrious and good leaders. . .who care for those around them and are a credit to their families. . .and who are full of honor and grace.

But how do I teach this?  I am a bonafide tomboy.  And a redhead, to boot.  I am passionate, enthusiastic, often opinionated and have a tendency to find my foot in my mouth.  I learned, in a chaotic, abusive, and dysfunctional childhood, to be scrappy and to take care of myself, .  So it's sometimes hard for me to model the calm, gentle, poised side of grace.

My daughters are doing pretty well despite me, though. . .and I am so grateful that despite my appalling lack of hoops and sticks, and my frequent failures in the area of poise, they are growing into beautiful, self confident, empathetic and, yes, graceful young women.

I have a few more years before they graduate fully into the great big world, so I am open to suggestions on how to continue to encourage grace while I still have them at home.  I guess I should begin with the purchase of the Game of Graces (after all, who could deny the character building value of such a game?). . .but any other ideas would be welcome.

How do YOU teach grace?

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