(Honestly, no one is making fun of this. I found the story rather cute)
Of Greater Value than a College Education
Never underestimate the power of a kind, generous, angelic character in a woman. You may be surprised to know how quick men are to notice little signs of character in a woman and how quickly they are turned off by the slightest sign of hardness, selfishness or dishonesty. The following account shows how evidences of character in a young girl won the heart of a young, handsome, single minister and turned her life in a new direction.
I’ve read many personal testimonies of success with the principles of Fascinating Womanhood and would now like to offer my own story about my experiences with the teachings of the book for single girls, The Fascinating Girl, which I studied 34 years ago.
In 1967 when I was just 16, my parents moved their family of 9 from Alaska to Australia, through a special immigration plan of the Australian government. It was a difficult adjustment for me at that age. I found the society extremely different than the one I had grown up in. While we lived in Alaska our social life consisted of the church functions and fellowships. Australian youth at that time met each other on the beach, and their social life included the common practice of drinking. I don’t want to say that all Australians were like this; just that it was socially acceptable behavior and not at all frowned on.
Today my parents and brothers and sisters and their children and grandchildren still live in Australia. I want to make it clear that I do love the Australian people that I still know over there and also enjoy that country very much. I did have a difficult time finding my niche in life during those years. It seemed almost impossible to find a man who wanted to get married, settle down, have children and become a serious church member. I felt very desperate and unhappy, and didn’t know where to turn.
By age 20 I had tried everything to find someone to marry and was, as Helen would say, “in the dark,” about how to attract the right mate for life. I returned to America where I got involved again in church. The year was 1971 and it just so happened that a Fascinating Womanhood class was being taught on Monday mornings at the church building in Edmonton, Alberta Canada. My mother was Canadian and I was living with her sister at the time. I was invited to go to the class and when the teacher saw me she said, “We are glad to have you here, and would like to tell you about another book, one for single girls that I think you will enjoy.” l found the book in a local bookstore and began to study it on my own. The chapter that fascinated me the most was the one on Developing Character.
In all the years I spent in schools and colleges, I had never been taught about character. I recognized that this was the area I would have to work at the most, in order to get married, guide a home and raise a happy family. Character is the most neglected of all the studies in our society today.
As I put each character description into practice I found my worries about finding a mate beginning to cease. Burying myself in the character principles taught in FG caused me to completely forget about looking for a husband. This experience has become invaluable to me in discussing the problem of finding a mate with desperate single girls. Just go about your business, build your character, let your light shine and it will happen sooner than you expect. Become absorbed in improving yourself and the time will pass faster, and you will get closer to your goal of finding a mate.
I’ve bought the Fascinating Girl for many single girls over the years but I always warn them to be prepared because everyone that reads this book with the serious intention of marrying, usually gets engaged within three months of reading it, if they put the principles to practice. Naturally there will be those who make fun of the book and call it manipulative, but the results speak for themselves. The girls who mock and scorn good principles are also the girls who are not yet married.
I was also interested to learn from this study that girls have to create interest in marriage for men. The prospect of having a home and family can be just as compelling for a men, if only the picture were drawn for them and made to be an advantage to their lives as well. I had been desperately trying to find a partner for life, but was going about it totally in the wrong way. I know many young women who are perfect in every way, but they do not know how to attract a good man. They fail to understand what it takes to motivate men to marry. I always suggest a serious study of this book to alleviate that predicament!
One of the principles taught in this course was developing the spiritual side by consistent Bible study and church attendance. I began to attend church faithfully, and one day to my surprise the young, handsome, single minister, 8 years old than me, asked me to join him at a church dinner. I wasn’t at all sure that I liked him, as we didn’t really “click”right away, and it certainly wasn’t love at first sight. He later said he had observed me out of the corner of his eye on many occasions and began to ask me to come to various church events and accompany him on hospital visits and visits to shut-ins.
I still find it hard to believe but in six weeks he had made up his mind that I would be his wife, and asked me to marry him. He told me of his many plans and ambitions, and suggested that if I did not marry him he would lose his enthusiasm for these things. Of course I did ask him if he felt quite sure and wouldn’t he rather continue on a friendship basis with me. I remember distinctly that he said, “I’ve already got lots of friends! I want a wife.”
I protested only once more. I said that I was not prepared to be someone’s wife, having only a suitcase with a few clothes, a Bible and a diary, to my name. He told me, “If you will marry me I’ll fill your closet full of beautiful dresses and provide everything else you need.” Thirty-three years later I must tell you, he has kept that promise. I’ve had to clean out those closets many times! He bought me a sewing machine for our wedding and has supplied me with the fabric I needed to sew whatever was necessary for myself and the children, over the years.
Our wedding took place on August 1, 1972. I went to several FW classes throughout my marriage and found so many things that applied to different stages of my life. For example, as a newlywed there were things that I didn’t have a problem with, but as stresses came into our lives through jobs, moves and conflicts with people, money problems, church conflicts, health problems and other things, the principles of the book that I had overlooked earlier began to be put into practice. This isn’t a book just for young married women, but for every woman. Even the widow and the unmarried can benefit from the time-tested principles it advocates.
Sometimes a newly married woman will read FW and say, “I’m madly in love with my husband, so none of these problems will ever happen to me.” Then, later on, different circumstances occur that exert pressure on areas in her relationship, things that she didn’t expect and doesn’t know how to handle. We always start out on the wedding day, thinking we can handle anything; after all, he chose me and I chose him – what could go wrong? FW became a valuable tool in my own marriage as we went through personal trials such as job stress, job loss, relocation, raising children and establishing standards to live by.
After the children came along I found Helen’s book, “All About Raising Children.” It was just what I needed. I used to wonder what the secret was that our forefathers had in raising “great” children, children with principles and values like nobility, gumption, creativity and drive, people who would become the leaders of their families and their communities. This book described many of the character qualities needed to achieve confident children who were capable of having successful relationships in their own lives.
Our forefathers probably would have laughed at us reading a book on how to raise children, because they handed down their values to the next generation, and the next, but it has been observed that the parents of the recent decades did not hand down their values to their children, and that is why so many of us were lost and did not know how to find our way to successful lives. This book capitulated all the things our parents and grandparents, even great-grandparents embraced, before the public schools took over most of the hours of the children’s lives.
One thing that intrigued me in this book was the section on education. As I read the rest of the book that showed how children should know something about classical art and literature, it stimulated my interest in home teaching. I remembered as a girl several families in out of the way places in Alaska who had educated their children themselves by using correspondence courses. What I remembered the most about these children was the loving bond they shared with their parents; the closeness they had, even as teenagers. There was not one bit of tension between the parents and the children, unlike many regular attenders of public schools.
The second thing I noticed about these children was their love for life, and the other thing I noticed was that they knew basic things in math, science, reading, writing and so forth. They not only had knowledge of things like history and health, they related to it all in a personal way. I knew I wanted this for my children, so I began to investigate the possibilities of home schooling. I don’t know what specifically was in the book, “All About Raising Children” that stirred my interest but I know that the more I read about all the things you could teach children, the more I as convinced that I could do it.
To make a long story short, I began home schooling my children and almost immediately began to see wonderful results. I felt like I was peeking into the relationship that many of our pioneer fore bearers might have had with their children. My home began to take on a new look, as the handicrafts of the children were on display. As they grew in appreciation of their home, they respected it and cared for it. Once my daughter told me that whenever she saw something out of place she would put it aright. These were the unsolicited fruits of home teaching. I used a variety of books and curriculums and made up my own courses for the children, in compliance with their personalities and their talents. Instead of being a trial to me, raising children became a thrilling adventure.
I had such positive results during home schooling that I couldn’t keep quiet about it and began to write letters and send home school literature to others, including Mrs. Andelin and her children. Many of her own children began to home school and I understand some of her grandchildren also. I am happy to know that I had a part in this!
The greatest thing that happened in all those years was the way the children’s characters have developed. While other families were having terrible trials and heartaches with their teenagers, ours were enjoying a full life and pursuing their talents. Our children all lived at home through their early 20s and we were in no hurry for them to leave. We had no conflict with them in the home, and enjoyed having them stay with us, as young adults.
Today, as a grandmother, I can still look back to my first encounter with The Fascinating Girl course and wonder what I would have done without it. It helped me learn about setting goals and achieving them. The chapter on Inner Happiness helped me overcome discouragement and even warded off bouts of depression. I see many women today who are on anti-depressants and other pills and I think that a steady adherence to these principles would help them more without the side effects and the expense of pharmaceuticals.
What we need most is a good set of values, so that when we get off balance we can remember how to get back on the right path. I know my parents taught me these values but I appreciated so much the fact that the book had many of them outlined, listed, described and explained. I’m now in the process of handing these values down to my children and grandchildren, through letters, videos, phone calls, emails, visits and example. Helen, you wrote that book at the right time for me. I can’t express how glad I was to have had it as a guide at that young age. It was more valuable to me than my high school or college education. – Lydia Sherman