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For a parent, development is an emotional roller coaster. You have the joy of watching your thirteen-month-old daughter's first steps, but you also know that those steps make her more independent. You walk your six-year-old to the school bus for the first time, proud and tearful as she enters a world that doesn't involve you. Your heart drops as you come to the top of the stairs and watch your twelve-year-old jump up to shut her door, rather than to greet you. You swell with a mixture of fear, longing, and hope for your sixteen-year-old as she drives away by herself for the first time. Finally, your girl in her blue check dress comes running to you with her dog, Toto. You fold her in your arms and say, "My darling child, where in the world did you come from?" And she is simply glad to be home.

Development is a journey—a journey all girls will pass through in their birth-to-nineteen years (and on up, for most of us). At each stage, God is teaching girls something valuable about who they are, and he is allowing them to learn, by trial and error, characteristics that will help them navigate their adult years.

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