Raising a Princess {book review}

Being a parent is by far one of the biggest responsibilities a human can have on this earth. From birth, you are entirely responsible for another human being who 100% depends on you to thrive. In the first few weeks and months after your first baby is born, you are pretty much just in survival mode.

Now, we are only 16 months into this whole parenting thing but one thing lately that has really started to hit home is the fact that our little toddler is in need of discipline. We are well past the stages of just surviving. In this season, it’s time to really start putting into action all the things we should be doing to raise a Godly son. This is hard, you guys. Truly. (And we just have a toddler right now…there are the formative and teen years which I’m sure are much more difficult!)

When I was asked if I would like to review the book “Raising a Princess: 8 Essential Virtues to Teach Your Daughter”, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. Obviously, we are raising a son and not a daughter but this book was and is still very much applicable. How? Because as we raise our son, there will be things we teach him about what to look for in future wife and our prayer is that she would be someone who exemplifies these 8 essential virtues.

The 8 essential virtues which author John Croyle discusses in this book are based on the woman from Proverbs 31. (p.s. If you’ve never read that chapter in the Bible, you should!) These 8 virtues are easy to remember, since the author uses each letter in the word princess to represent a virtue. An entire chapter is dedicated to each virtue and Croyle gives real-life examples, uses Scripture and gives practical applications.

P – Praiseworthiness

Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. {v. 28-30}

When Croyle talks about raising daughters to be praiseworthy, he says that “…she needs to hear from you that she’s valuable and lovable just the way God made her.” There is no greater joy than knowing that your daughter believes her life has meaning and purpose, no matter what others think or say about her. As parents, when we help guide our children by paying attention to them and giving them opportunities to excel, we are helping them discover their potential. We need to recognize that “negative focus does not build praiseworthiness…but building on the positives does.”

R – Righteousness

She is like the merchant ships…she perceives that her merchandise is good. {v. 14,18}

Croyle opens this chapter by giving an example about how if everyone in the world walked hunched over and with a limp, we would take that to be normal. If there were a few people in that world who decided to walk straight and not limp, everybody else would think they were freaks. This is the perfect example for what righteousness looks like. As parents, we all want our daughters to live in the right way — the way in which God created us to live. If there is one sentence in this chapter to sum up what righteousness in raising a daughter looks like, it’s this: “To raise a righteous girl is to raise a girl who can see the difference between God’s normal and what passes for “normal” in the world around her.”

I – Initiative

She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands…she gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. {v. 13, 15-16}

We all want our daughters (and sons, too!) to have initiative. There is probably nothing more taxing to a parent than a child who doesn’t show any initiative and just wants everyone around him or her to do everything for them. Croyle specifically talks about how in order to raise daughters with initiative, we have to be countercultural. He makes a fantastic point about how we live in a culture where it’s becoming easier to just go with the flow and drift without any purpose. If we want to raise kids with initiative, we have to go against the norm.

N – Nurture

She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. {v. 26-27}

This chapter really hones in on the importance of the roles we as women have in nurturing others. As Croyle says, “a nurturing spirit comes more naturally for girls and women…it’s God given and the way He made us.” The most important thing we can do as parents is to create an environment where our daughters will grow up to be nurturing. In turn, someday our daughters will nurture their daughters and this positive cycle of nurturing is carried on through our legacy. What a blessing!

C – Character

“Character requires training and spirit. It starts with recognizing your calling, then pursuing that calling.” John Croyle

This was one of my favorite chapters. It really goes in depth about how important it is to instill values in your daughter which will build her character into a Godly one. The author talks about teaching our daughters to do what’s right even when no one else is doing it. He goes on to say that character is about choices and it’s those choices which create circumstances, which in turn determine our future. That’s powerful stuff, right? The more we as parents understand that raising our daughters to be Godly women is our sole purpose, the more we will be able to help them learn the importance of a Godly character.

E – Empowerment

Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. She is clothed in strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. {v. 11, 20, 24}

I love how in this chapter, the author really tackles the importance of empowering our daughters. It’s not the kind of feminism-heavy empowerment that the world says we need to have as women. It is the empowerment that comes from and is founded on God. When we help our daughters know who they are (even the limitations) and give them opportunities to trust God, we are instilling this virtue in them. Another part of teaching our daughters empowerment is helping them understand the power of the tongue, especially as a girl and woman. Finally, Croyle stresses the importance of teaching our daughters to celebrate their victories with them and help them press forward to the next goal.

S – Servant-Heartedness

“A person who takes pleasure in serving others is a person who inspires others to serve as well. Serving others doesn’t drain away the self, but is a source of replenishment and builds strength of character.” John Croyle

In this chapter, the author opens by giving an example of the Chick-fil-A restaurant chain and how they model service to their customers. The correlation between that example and how it applies to raising our daughters to serve others is simply this: when we teach our daughters to serve others and take pleasure in that, they will in turn inspire others to serve. Teaching our daughters to have a servant heart isn’t the same thing as telling them to be doormats or martyrs. Croyle makes it a point to say that when we raise daughters with a servant heart, we’re not raising someone to be ordered around…”we are raising a woman who will act out of her own understanding that living for others is more fulfilling than living for self.” As Croyle so simply puts it, when we teach our daughters to serve others, we are also teaching her that she is building God’s kingdom….we serve others because God served us first.

S – Stability

“To create an atmosphere of stability for our children is to break the kind of cycle that can cause one generation to mistreat the next. This is an unstable world we live in. Our children need to feel that home is a place of stability in the midst of so much instability.” John Croyle

In this closing chapter, Croyle talks about the importance of creating and sustaining a stable environment for your daughter. He talks about how if we’re not modeling stability for our daughter (and children), then they will leave us. Not necessarily physically, but emotionally spiritually and mentally. The importance of raising our daughters in a stable environment allows for all the other 7 virtues to thrive. It’s more likely that our daughters will exemplify praiseworthiness, righteousness, initiative, nurture, character, empowerment, and a servant’s heart when we give them a stable environment. Toward the end of the chapter, Croyle again emphasizes the power of the tongue and how we as parents can create instability with our words. He calls us to examine our hearts, to acknowledge our mistakes and ask God to give us another chance to bring stability to our children’s lives.

To read more about John Croyle, you can find his bio here and more info about Big Oak Ranch here. “Raising a Princess” is available for purchase on LifeWay, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound and other retailers.

Disclosure: This book was kindly provided to me by Shelton Interactive for my honest review. No compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

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