The spirit of beautiful girlhood is alive in the girl who, with courage and fortitude, perseveres through the many challenges of life. She realizes that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,” and consequently, strives for the principled course of action.
My parents saw us children as empty slates, and held that we had been given to them as gifts from God. At the same time, they believed that babies were born full of sin and ready to lead destructive, miserable, evil lives if allowed to develop without training. Therefore, my parents believed that it was their duty to shape and mold us into godly men and women, and they took this duty very seriously.
When we were little, my parents, following the teaching of Michael and Debi Pearl, trained us children to obey their simplest commands. My parents said they believed in house proofing the baby, rather than baby proofing the house. This meant that they would intentionally leave enticing objects within reach of a toddler, and then spank his or her hand and say “no” each time he or she reached for it. Similarly, they would call a toddler to come, spank the child if he or she did not come immediately, and then try it again. In this way, we were forced to submit our wills and learn obedience. After all, my parents told us, disobedience was rebellion against God.
My parents also worked hard to instill their faith in us children. We were expected to spend personal time reading the Bible and praying each morning before doing our chores. After chores came breakfast, and after breakfast, Bible time. My mother read the Bible aloud to us and then we discussed the passage and had group prayer. God was included in nearly every one of our homeschool subjects, including history and science. We learned that God had guided the founding fathers as they wrote the Constitution and that science properly understood shows that God created the world in six literal days six thousand years ago. Before bed, my parents gathered all of us together and prayed with us. God was a given, a part of our lives, and Jesus was a personal friend.
My mother used God to teach us to behave. If two of my siblings were bickering, they would be told to imagine that Jesus was standing right there with them. A child who was sulking would be asked, “do you think you are making Jesus happy right now?” If one of my siblings did his chores sloppily, my mother would quote from the Bible: “Do your job cheerfully as unto the Lord.” If one of my siblings needed an “attitude readjustment,” they would be sent to their bed with their Bible and told to read it. Another frequent punishment was copying down a verse from the Bible by hand, fifty or even a hundred times. In this way we were told a million times a day to make sure that our behavior conformed with what God would want, and of course, what God wanted—for us to do our chores thoroughly, to have a cheerful, loving attitude, and not bicker—was what mom and dad wanted.
Once we reached high school, my siblings and I took an apologetics class with a professor of theology my parents knew. I loved learning the fine points of doctrine, and I loved thinking about Christian theology. My parents often discussed theology around the supper table, helping us children understand what we believed and why. I frequently checked out books from our church library and read about a variety of subjects. The more I read the more convinced I was that my parents’ beliefs were right. I was devoted to my faith and dedicated to my Savior. Like my parents, I believed wholeheartedly that demons were real, that the rapture was coming, that the world had been created in six days six thousand years ago, and that anyone who had not asked Christ as their savior was destined for hell. This instilled me with a deep sense of mission – I had a purpose and a destiny.