Teachers, parents, and girls themselves feel uneasy when they look at what happens to many girls during adolescence. What transforms a quick, eager 10-year-old girl into a timid young woman of 16, drained of confidence and curiosity? What makes high school girls hate their bodies—one harming her health with obesity, another with anorexia? What squelches girls’ passion for learning?
And how, we women ask, can we make a difference? A supportive community of Christian women can be life-giving for girls struggling to stay emotionally, physically, and spiritually healthy. Women can promote discussions of topics important to girls. Our language for God should include the feminine as well as the masculine. Girls looking around at church should find women in leadership. Women, indeed, have the power to surround each girl with God’s grace and to lift her up, so that she can reach as high as her abilities and talents will take her.
This message is adapted from “Girls Need Community” written by Gloria Reinertson Koll in the January/February 2004 issue of Lutheran Woman Today (now Gather) magazine. Today we remember Ansgar, Bishop of Hamburg, missionary to Denmark and Sweden, who died in 865.