Saturday, December 12, 2015

Silly, Punctual Gringos

We've lived in Guatemala for more than 2 1/2 years. There are some cultural norms that we've learned, accepted, and adapted to, and there are others that we still struggle to fully embrace.

When entering a room or arriving to an event, Guatemalans go out of their way to greet everyone, even people they don't know. They go around the room, kissing each person on the cheek and uttering a "mucho gusto" or "como esta?" We've come to appreciate this intentionality of making time to be warm and polite. We are reminded of how uncommon this is in our own culture when North Americans visit and awkwardly ignore people in the room they don't know or haven't met.

A common experience that North Americans have living in other cultures is in relation to time and/or punctuality. Time is more fluid in other places. This isn't natural for us. For some reason we still strive to be "on time" to events. We've arrived at several events at the listed time on the invitation, only to be ridiculously early. I remember one party we showed up to 20 minutes late, we had even woken up Ruby early from her nap to leave, and we were at the party an hour before the birthday girl showed up. They were still setting up decorations and tables. We were the glaringly obvious "punctual" gringos.

It doesn't matter how often it happens, I still find myself worried about being "late" to things. I should probably know better by now that being on time means arriving awkwardly early, and also, things just last a lot longer. Church services last longer, and parties and events start late and go for hours.

Last night we decided to attend our church's annual Christmas dinner. It started at 7pm which is about the time our girls are in bed or getting ready for bed. Most social events start about this time of night. These usually involve kids running around and playing late into the night. We figured it would last a couple hours and didn't want to bring a tired, sick baby to a long night. Fortunately, (or rather unfortunately for her) we have a staff member staying with us this week due to a sickness that brought her to the City for a couple weeks. I put Ruby down for the night and our friend was able to stay at home while Ruby slept.

The formal invitation said that the event started at 7, and that they wanted to start "en punto," as in, right on time at 7. So, we arrived about 7:15. The church was probably half or 3/4 full, which is a pretty decent showing. The parking lot in our church is extremely narrow and cars arrive and line up one in front of the other. (Countless times, due to our inability to arrive late, we've been stuck in the back of the parking lot, unable to leave until the majority of the cars have left. First ones to arrive, last to leave.) Last night was no exception. We were directed to park down a narrow alley of the parking lot, very far away from the gate. This meant we were blocked in deep, with no chance of leaving before every last goodbye had been said.

There was special music, with dinner finally served at 8:00. Following dinner there were more presentations, and finally, at about 9:15, the sermon began. The Christmas sermon wrapped up a little after 10, which segued to a half an hour of Christmas carols to end the night.
Hazel taking a break on my lap. What you can't tell is that to get her to smile I had to bribe her with candy. Totally worth it.
Once again, I had to bribe Hazel. She only agreed to the picture if she wore this crown.
Then there were the final goodbyes and chats and waiting for all the cars behind us to finally leave. In the meantime, our girls reminded us of just how different they each are:

Hazel, tired from a long day of swim class and playing, couldn't make it more than 3 hours past her normal bedtime, and somehow fell asleep under the bright lights, in Daddy's arm, while he chatted.
Ellie, on the other hand, is a night owl and was playing with the other kids, running around for hours, and insisted she was not tired in the least (though she did fall asleep in the 5-minute drive home at 11pm).
All of this is par for the course, another cultural experience to remind us of how time-conscious we are. I was a little more stressed because I knew our poor worker was at home with a sick Ruby, who has the habit of waking up around this time of night. And of course, we arrived home to a bleary eyed Ruby being held, having been crying for nearly an hour.

We might learn not to look at the clock, eventually. In the meantime, friends of ours at church assured us that the traditional upcoming Christmas Eve service at church is "very short" compared to most events, "only" an hour and a half. We had a good laugh about how a 90-minute service is short here, which would feel very long in the US. We explained how church services in the States are very punctual. If they go more than a few minutes over the prescribed schedule, people get antsy, start thinking about their lunch plans, squirm in their seats. One of my friends commented how sad it is that time is more important than the service or connecting with people.

Ah, touche.

Thursday, December 10, 2015


I want to have Joy. Experience Joy. BE Joy.

A theme I've noticed in my life and in motherhood for longer than I can remember is my lack of patience, even to the point of anger. I'm constantly afraid of how this will affect my girls and my family.

Recently my husband (fairly) cautioned me in my responses to my oldest daughter. I had been snarky and passive-aggressive. My tone of voice was frustrated and even bordered on manipulative in my attempts to get her to do what I want. It scared me as a Momma. I don't want my relationship with my children to be full of threats and frustrated side remarks. She's already learning to tune out our nagging, and I don't blame her. She is so unique and is so many ways exactly like me. People tell me she's my mini-me because she looks like me. But most people have no idea just how much she's like me personality and otherwise.
Hanging on my fridge as a gentle reminder
At our recent team retreat I found myself thinking about JOY. I'm often so focused on the details, or the environment (too loud, too messy...I'm a huge sensory person) that I don't experience Joy in the moment. I just find myself frustrated and mad, and I routinely take that out on the girls by being snippy and short.

Granted, three whining, needy girls don't contribute to a state of blissful thankfulness in all things. But I think if I can look for Joy, if I push myself to find Joy amidst the chaos, if I can seek Joy in the frustrated moments, I'll be more at peace and less angry. I'll be more the mom and person I want to be.

I can choose to see Joy in my girls silliness instead of hearing loud screams.

I can choose to see Joy in the toys strewn all over the floors and the paint dried to the table, because it means they are content.

I can choose Joy in my own reactions when they want to help me cook or work on a project, even if it makes a bigger mess than necessary.

I don't have to be SuperMom. Yet another December is flying by and I feel the weight of my inadequacy. I'm not a Pinterest Mom that pulls off dazzling surprises and projects and meaningful moments every day of Advent. I have some Advent cards with activities I made a few years ago, but we haven't done anything intentional with them this year. I haven't done anything super spiritual to teach them about the true meaning of Christmas. There's still time, of course, but I want to do it with joy, and without the pressure to have a perfect Christmas. I want to be together as a family, full of joy, focused on giving and thinking of others.

This morning I dusted off a devotional book I haven't picked up in weeks, and the theme of Joy jumped out at me in today's reading:

Accept the value of problems in this life, considering them pure joy.

I choose to see my stressors and my problems with a lens of joy. My 10-month old is still waking me up in the night, and I can see joy because she's healthy and happy and I have the ability and means to soothe her. 

My birthday was two days ago, and I spent the majority of the day like any other, at home, with my girls. We crafted, went on a bike ride picnic, and just spent time together. I chose to be thankful and joyful, in awe of the blessing that is three beautiful, loving, energetic girls. 
A birthday project with my girls

Simple moments make the best memories
Maybe it was easier because it was my birthday, but I chose to be more OK with the chaos, and I felt more free to enjoy my girls and just "be." May we all choose to find more joy in this season.

Friday, October 30, 2015

How I Lost Almost 30 Pounds in 3 Months

I gained a lot of weight during each of my pregnancies.
Michael and me on our 5-Year Wedding Anniversary, a month before getting pregnant with Ellie.
Best diet? One year without meat or desserts.
I gained 50 pounds with Ellie.

70 with Hazel. 35 with Ruby.

Several days past my due date for Hazel.
Before I got pregnant with Ellie, Michael and I had just spent a year fasting from desserts and meat. I was working a part-time job and had plenty of time to work out. I was in the best shape I'd been in since college.
First pregnancy photo, the week I found out I was pregnant with Ellie.
I tried to work out during my pregnancies. I bought DVDs with former Olympic women who did squats and belly push-ups, and they of course looked amazing. I tried but I still gained much more than the recommended 25-35 pounds. At some point in each pregnancy I told myself, I'll lose the weight after the baby is here. 

With Ellie, I mostly did. It practically melted off with nursing, as I was told could happen. With Hazel, it did not melt off. It lingered and stubbornly refused to go away, and I still had it when I got pregnant with Ruby.

With Ruby I stuck to my goal and was able to gain what my doctor wanted (he was worried about my history and having a big baby, while also hoping to have a normal delivery). However, since the day I left the hospital with Ruby, I hadn't lost a single pound. Even months later, still nothing.

In June we went on Home Leave to the US, and thanks to eating out and enjoying the foods and restaurants we don't have access to here in Guatemala, I gained even more weight.

Also while on Home Leave, Michael bought me a FitBit. If you don't know what it is, it's a watch that counts steps, calories burned, flights of stairs, and mileage.

I am a competitive person. Be it card games or competitions, I want to win (and often do. Ha.)

With this new little tool, I set a goal to achieve, at the minimum, the 10,000 daily step goal preset with the FitBit.

When we got home from the US, I really committed myself to this. I went on multiple walks a day with the girls in our neighborhood. I strapped Ruby in the Ergo and walked after dinner to calm her down before bed (she was pretty fussy at this time every night, and walks were the only thing that seemed to soothe her). I walked and I ran and I snuck in walks whenever I could, and I hit those 10,000 steps fairly easily.

I started losing weight. I started eating a bit less at lunch and dinner (smaller, better portion sizes) because I knew I was going to exercise soon after meals.

What continued to push me is a great feature of the FitBit. You can connect with other FitBit users online, and even compete with them for daily or weekly steps. One week I was invited by someone I know to join a weekly competition with several other people (whom I didn't know personally). My competitive nature stepped it up! I was suddenly competing with other people. I'd get updates throughout the day on my phone of who was ahead and how many steps I needed to achieve my daily goal. A couple other people had similar step counts to mine, and we pushed each other daily and weekly.

Besides eating better, I did my P90X videos in the afternoons while my girls rested (those give me a good 3 or 4000 steps). We'd go for bike rides where I could run with the stroller. Something else that I have never done before in my life: I became a night time exerciser. I have always aspired to be a morning, wake-up-at-the-crack-of-dawn-to-work-out person, and I've done it in clusters, but I always burn out.

This was new. After the girls are in bed (this is still my routine most days), I head outside and run on our street. We live in a small U-shaped neighborhood, and I run up and down one street. It's the only safe place to run at night. But I do it, and am so thankful we live in a space now where I can run. I recently discovered the magic of listening to podcasts while working out. I run so much further and can go so much more time because I'm listening to a story and want to hear how it ends. 10 more minutes, I tell myself. I've always gotten bored running long distances, and one can imagine how boring it is to run up and down the same street for 30-60 minutes, but, with a podcast on, I barely notice.

Lately I've been running 3 or 4 miles a night. Soon after I started in these weekly challenges I changed my daily goal to 12,000 steps.

In August and September I was sick for about 6 weeks, and rarely got half of my goal steps. It was discouraging to not be able to stick to my routine, but finally, I felt better and hit the steps again. I also lost weight during this time, which kept me from getting too discouraged.

I am currently only a couple pounds away from my first major goal. Ironically, my scale broke this week, so I don't know exactly where I fall, but I know I'm close. It's still a work in progress, but I'm continuing to push myself.

I'm proud of where I am now. Including the weight I gained in June, I've lost about 30 pounds. I feel better. I am more confident. I have a nightly ritual that includes quiet time just for me. And I plan to continue all of these things.

I decided to share about my weight loss experience for a few reasons, including that recently several friends have also shared their own weight loss journeys.

For some people, joining a gym works. I know a lot of people who can't join a gym for financial or other reasons. I know some people don't have time or energy during the day to exercise with little kids or with jobs.

For others, joining online accountability groups or other diet/exercise programs work.

For me, living in a foreign country, with three small kids who can be tiring in their own sweet ways, I've had to make my situation work for me. I've had to change my routine. I get steps in when I can. I walk when I can. I became a night runner.

Having a FitBit really has made a huge difference for me. (I should say I am not getting any compensation for this. I just really like the idea and the product.) The accountability with strangers, and also friends and family, combined with my own competitive nature, has really pushed me. I realize that for people who aren't competitive or who could care less what strangers are doing, this might not work like it did for me. But every week I start with a clean slate. I compete and check in and can track my steps and others'.

There have been countless days when I wake up utterly unmotivated. There's a fat chance I'm not going to get my steps in that day. But then I focus on it one hour at a time. I convince myself to take a walk with the girls. After the girls are in bed my husband does the dinner dishes so I can feel free to go for a run. Watching those steps add up pushes me to add more.

During our last week in Oregon in June, we had a friend take some family photos. Though he is a talented professional, I wasn't thrilled with the photos. Not because of the quality of the work, the photos were wonderful, but because by the time we saw the pictures I had already started losing weight. The photos are me at my heaviest non-pregnant self that I've ever been.
June Photo Shoot. Still wearing maternity pants, 5 months after Ruby was born.
This is probably my favorite photo.
Bonus points if you spot the spit-up on my clothes. 
These photos, and others in this time period, are my base. They are evidence of how far I've come, and will go. So I'll keep them and share them. And I'll keep pushing myself.

Studies prove that when you write down a goal, you are exponentially much more likely to achieve that goal. I'm hoping that by sharing my experience, I will continue towards my final goal, and maybe encourage others to share their goals.
3 months ago, and today (wearing my FitBit, of course).

In conclusion, get a FitBit and join me! I need more competition and would love to encourage you too.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

We're Halfway There

It's been a big week.

The girls ended their school year with their Clausura (end of school closing program). They dressed in costumes (a scuba diver and a seahorse) and did a dance they've been rehearsing at school for weeks. It was so fun to watch them and remember a year or two ago (check out the links for a fun reminder), when they weren't nearly as comfortable up on stage.
Ellie dancing
Ellie and a couple of her amigas
A proud Mama
The process to buy tickets was intense. One morning a few weeks ago Michael had to wake up early, walk to the school and stand outside the front doors in line. At 6:30 AM the doors opened, and then he had to wait in another line until the ticket booth opened at 7:30. But, it was worth the early morning because we were in the second row, right up front. (And we had already decided not to shell out the big bucks to pay for the school-produced video of the year's events, so being in front was even more essential). We learned our lesson from Mother's Day when we were in the back row and could barely see their faces.
My little seahorse
You would never know that the week she brought her costume home for us to try on she cried and screamed for a week and refused to put it on. But finally, the moment she put it on, she loved it.
We celebrated Ellie's 5th birthday this past weekend. We went bowling with some friends, took a piñata to church, had the Chapman family traditional birthday pancakes, and went to Pollo Campero for a special birthday dinner (her favorite).
Friends at church ready for the piñata
Bowling with some friends.
Ellie got Legos for her birthday and has played with them every day for hours.
Five feels like a big milestone. It's usually the year of starting kindergarten in the US, although because of the school year here she will start Pre-K in January, followed by what's seen as Kindergarten the following year. It's a bit arbitrary, since this year she was learning to write in cursive, learning letters and numbers, 2 years before Kindergarten.
Birthday pancakes for the 5-year old!
Somehow, my baby is 5.
And then yesterday marked another significant milestone in the Chapman house. We've officially been here two and a half years, out of a five year contract. Half way done. That means every day we are here marks more time that we've been here than what we have remaining. That feels a bit surreal.

Granted, 2 1/2 years is still a huge chunk of time. Our girls will do a lot of growing and changing.

I can't help but notice a few things and think about expectations I've had, and things I did or didn't know 2 1/2 years ago.

I didn't know we'd have another baby (though it was a possibility in our minds).
I didn't know that in may ways Guatemala would feel like "home," especially to our girls. Ellie has now lived half of her life here in Guatemala, and of course Hazel has lived a huge majority of it here. This is "home." This is normal for them.
I didn't know I'd fluctuate so much with my Spanish. Some days I am confident in my ability to speak and understand, and other days I feel frustrated with my lack of full comprehension.
I didn't know how hard it would be to make friends, especially due to language and cultural barriers/expectations.
I knew it would be hard to work alongside my spouse, but I didn't know just how hard.
I didn't realize we'd get to travel so much as a family, a big bonus.

Though the workload is still intense, we've figured out a rhythm. The first year was hard. Super hard. Really, really hard. But we pushed through. I look at Ruby, who is now 9 months old, and I remember Hazel, the same age when we put her in daycare. It breaks my heart. It probably always will, knowing of all three of my girls, Hazel was in daycare at the youngest age, purely out of necessity for this work and my opportunity to study Spanish.

Fun Comparison Time:
Ellie at 9 months
Hazel at 9 months (our first week in Guatemala)
(So much hair!)
Ruby at 9 months

We've entered another phase of work and life here. Our team has changed drastically in the last year, and we have a relatively new team. We don't foresee any changes to the team for the next year, and that's a change for us, and one we're looking forward to.
Out on a walk with these beauties.
The girls and I are now at home for a 3-month break, and I'm looking forward to having time with them, a throwback to my full-time stay-at-home Mom days of Fresno.

Friday, September 11, 2015

What Are We Doing Here?

We're doing this for the girls.
Roasted rabbit at a picnic.
Living here, working here. Learning Spanish. Being exposed to other cultures and having experiences that would never be possible in the US. At least in part. Of course there is also the call to serve others and work in peace and justice and development, and model that for our girls.

This is what I have to tell myself almost every day. When I start to question this life that we've chosen, I remind myself, "we're doing this for them."

Many people tell us what great experiences we're providing for our girls. And then the other day I thought more about that, and I questioned this line of thought. They are young. When our 5-year contract ends in 2018 (we're almost exactly half way through it), our girls will be 7, 5, and 3. That's still very young.

Maybe too young to remember anything?

Recently we took a trip to Nebaj, in the highlands of Guatemala. The Ixil people who live in this region were the hardest hit during the civil war. In fact, what happened there is now recognized as genocide, which killed thousands of people and destroyed countless villages. Widespread killings, rape, torture, and "disappearances" were intended to completely wipe out the Ixil people. Ex-president Rios Mont is currently on trial for being the general during this time of genocide and crimes against humanity. Random fact: his daughter was one of the candidates that ran (and lost) for President of Guatemala in elections last Sunday.

In this region, MCC supports two projects through a local Mayan organization. One is a project providing space for young people to learn about farming and traditional agriculture as a way to make a sustainable living, by each working a piece of land. It's a beautiful project where we are seeing youth who want to retain their traditional practices, and want to work hard and make a viable living, so that they can avoid migrating to find work.

The other project is around gender equity, and accompanying Mayan women as they try to rescue some of their traditional practices around medicine and health, while also learning about equality and justice for women, something difficult in such a male-centric culture.

During our trip we visited some land where youth are working hard to cultivate diverse crops. One young woman shared with us how proud she is to work the land and prove to her family that she, as a woman, can not only work the land but produce results. We had to walk along a steep hill for at least 20 minutes to arrive to her small plot of land.
We witnessed a workshop among participants of the project on creating organic fertilizer.
The girls enjoyed helping.
We were served a traditional Ixil meal, a dough cooked inside green leaves, served with a delicious red sauce, eaten with your hands.
Hazel was a little leery.
The girls accompany us on these visits. They play. They meet new people. They get gawked at a lot for being white (and cute). This particular day I remember watching them be creative, playing with sharp, pointy sticks. And the North American-safety-crazed-mom in me just let them be. I had a moment where I realized that this was it. This was part of why we're here. They're learning and playing and living. This is not just a temporary place of work. This is life as they know it. They know nothing else.
Look Mom! Sharp sticks!
But still. I wonder, is it worth it? Honestly, they are so young, though they are exposed to so many fascinating experiences, will they remember any of it? They have no idea the context of what they see. To them, it just is.
Michael was about the age Ellie will be when he and his family returned to the States after being born and living in Peru his whole life. He remembers some things from his time there, stories and images he holds in his mind. But more important than specific memories, his experience of living overseas, his identity of being born in Peru, has stuck with him. It shaped him throughout his childhood back in the States, and into adulthood those experiences integrated into his thoughts and views. It brought us full circle back to Latin America.

And so, even if my girls won't remember every detail, and won't remember every trip we take, and won't remember every person we meet, they will have a bigger lens to interpret their world. They won't think it strange that almost every single friend they have at school has a different skin color than them, and speak Spanish.

They are used to strangers talking to them, carrying them. They travel well and often. They make friends quickly, often with limited language skills. This, I must remember, among the others, will be a life-long skill.

I can only hope and pray that little nuggets of our life here will hold on to their hearts and in their minds as they grow, and I have to trust that these experiences are molding them in more ways than I can see or understand. 

That is why we are here. 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Back at it

I haven't felt much like blogging.

There's too much to say, too much to share, so it just feels like I can't start.

We had a Home Leave for 40 days. We spent time as a family, we played, we rested. We didn't check work email, not even once. That was pretty awesome.

It was nice to be "home." (It was interesting to realize we said "home" about the Pacific Northwest, even though we also call Guatemala "home," and haven't lived in Oregon in several years.)

It was nice to be around family and things familiar. But also, it was hard. Hard to leave. Hard to say good-bye for another long stretch. Hard to be faced with things that aren't part of our lives here. Not just people, but things like going to the library. Going on walks whenever we want. Having access to parks and green spaces and things to do with our kids on the weekend.
When I think of our time in the States, I think of this. The girls laughing and playing together, especially in a park, something we don't have a lot of here in Guatemala.
I'm not gonna' lie. When we got home, it was hard. It didn't help that we literally came home to a dirty, stinky house. (We had someone who had planned to come to our house while we were gone to clean and check on things, but never came.) I had left dirty, peed sheets from the night before we left, thinking they'd be taken care of while we were gone. At least the trash was taken out and the dishes had been washed. 40 days is a long time.

So our "welcome back to Guatemala" was a little rough. We were sad to say goodbye, but also very ready to be back to a routine as a family. Living off of others' kindness and generosity and hospitality for that long has its own implications. We ate differently. Slept differently. Played differently. It's not our "normal."

We are back in full swing, with work and school. The girls are happy to be back, though they don't cease to ask when they will see their cousins or their grandparents or their aunts and uncles again.

A few highlights of Home Leave: we celebrated Hazel's 3rd birthday, Ellie broke her arm falling off a zip line, Ruby slept through the night for the first week, and then went back to waking up every few hours. Michael and I went on a 2-hour bike ride around the lake where his parents live in McCall, Idaho (we rented a tandem bike). Seeing so many good friends from college and high school. Meeting our nephew, Finn, for the first time. Lots of cuddles between grandparents and grandkids. There are lots more, but I'm not about to write them all...

Here are a couple links to our Home Leave albums, if you're not on Facebook and want to see pictures:  Here, here, and here.

There, I blogged.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Ruby Mayana's Dedication

Last night we got a phone call from our pastor, wanting to discuss a few details about this morning, Michael sharing in Sunday School about MCC work in Haiti, and Ruby's dedication in church.

Me: Ruby's getting dedicated tomorrow? How did I not know that?

Michael: We sat here and had a whole conversation about it the other day. (When the pastor, his wife, and another member of the church were visiting). 

Me: Wow, I totally missed that part of the conversation.

I can't imagine how I missed it, and am frustrated with my Spanish for having missed it, but maybe after conversing in Spanish for 2 hours it slipped through, or maybe (hopefully), I was having a side conversation and didn't catch it.

All to say, Ruby was dedicated this morning at our church.

Chapman Trivia: Ruby is the only one of our daughters who has been dedicated in a church. This is not because we didn't want to with the other girls, but somehow, in our time in Fresno, it never came up and time passed and neither were ever dedicated.

Before the dedication, during a time of open sharing, an elderly gentleman of 93 years shared that this would be his last Sunday attending church. Due to his age and the difficulty of traveling around and getting out of the house, attending church would no longer happen for him. I found it somewhat ironic (circle of life?) that the same day our church community was dedicating a new young life into the fold, another member was gracefully bowing out from regular attendance.
Ruby and Mario, age 93
Our family went up front, the pastor shared some words, and Michael and I made a vow/commitment to the church, and they returned the promise. The pastor blessed her, and prayed.

The closest we got to a family photo.
Alert and bright-eyed. 
My favorite part was after the prayer for Ruby, when our friend Elena walked around with Ruby, letting the church kiss and love on Ruby.
The presentation of Ruby to the church, and a request that the church come alongside us as parents.
Ruby did great throughout the whole presentation. She didn't cry or fuss, and was happy looking out at everyone. 
We're blessed to have been invited into this community. Moving is hard, as we've done countless times. Finding a community, especially a faith community is hard, and we've been blessed to have been welcomed here, despite language and cultural barriers.
Ruth Keidel Clemens, International Program Director for MCC US, is in Guatemala this month, and was able to attend Ruby's dedication. 
My other favorite moment was when a friend leaned over to me after the dedication, when Michael was holding Ruby, and told me how grateful she is that the other men in the church have the opportunity to watch Michael with Ruby. It's significant in a machismo culture that a husband and father is so involved and so comfortable with his children, especially three girls. It's something I can easily take for granted, how wonderful my husband is with our girls, because in the States our experience has been that most of our peers are much more involved than perhaps fathers were a generation ago. Here in Central America, however, it tends to be the exception more than the rule.

Our girls will be a part of several different communities in their lifetimes. I'm thankful this church has committed to helping us, as parents, with the role of teaching and guiding our daughters.