“Rejoice in your youth; and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth.” Ecclesiastes 11:9
Have you ever watched the development of a rose from the tiny bud, to the open flower? The bud held little more promise of beauty, than the foliage about it; but day by day it grew until it was full and round. One day you saw a thread of color — promise of the rose to be, peeping through the covering of green. Each morning you saw the thread of color widening until the bud burst asunder and the flower was revealed. You looked upon this bursting bud with admiration and delight, though yet you did not see the rose in its full size and beauty. You had to wait until it was full grown and fully open, until it had reached its maturity, before you could behold the complete flower. But in the opening blossom you had the beauty of the mature rose blended with the grace and charm of the bud.
Girlhood is the opening flower of womanhood. It has charms all its own. The wonderful change from the child to the woman, the marvelous blossoming of young, healthy girlhood — will ever be God’s great miracle in life’s garden. Like a half-open rose is girlhood. We are charmed, both by the beauty of the bud, and by the wonderful coloring of the rose. We behold the familiar traits of childhood that have always charmed us and held our affections — but blended with these in ever-changing variety are the graces and powers of womanhood.
Do you, dear girls, appreciate the golden days in which you are living? You have your perplexities and vexations, of course — yet you are enjoying the merry, carefree days of youth, which are generally the happiest days of the whole life. You are standing “where the brook andriver meet,” where childhood’s days and childhood’s toys are put aside, for the greater things of womanhood.
Girlhood days are happy days. The blush of youth is on the cheeks, and the rich, red blood of youth in the veins — while the cares of life have not yet settled upon the heart. Nature is now tuned to catch every note of music, to respond to every pleasurable emotion and imagination. Life to the average girl is full of song and laughter. She looks forward with a magic view that hides all the sorrows and terrors — and reveals in bright hues all the joys and blessings. Her heart beats with eagerness to begin the conquests that will certainly be hers. From her point of view there are no defeats, no failures, no disappointments. Every thorn is hidden — and every rose revealed. So contagious is her joy and optimism, that her presence will cheer the dullest household and set its pulse beating with hope and laughter. Older folk, who know that life is not all joy and sunshine, come under the spell of her charms and smile with her. With songs of hope and joy upon her lips, she goes forth to meet life joyously and unafraid.
Laugh and play now, for this is your day. Dream your bright and happy dreams, and aspire to your lofty heights. I would be a pessimist indeed, if I saw evil in the radiant dreams and fair hopes that now brighten your skies and make your path light.
But girlhood is not without danger. The rose may be blighted and never come to perfection, even though the bud bursts open with the fairest promise; and the girl with the brightest prospects and hopes of womanhood may fail to reach her goal if she is touched with the blighting force of sin. Her God-given ideal is a pure and beautiful maturity full of usefulness; but there is that which would ruthlessly rob her of it. We guard our bud-laden rose vines, lest they be trampled upon; and we guard our precious daughters, lest they be robbed of that untouched purity which is their own.
Girlhood is the time of making ready. Maturity and independence come later. For another period, our girl must yet be under teachers and guardians who carry the burden and responsibility which would ill fit her young shoulders. In a few short years, oh! so few, these guardians and burden lifters will all be taken away, and your girl will step into life’s harness and feel the care and pain that have been the lot of womanhood since the beginning. So laugh and play and rejoice in your youth, dream your glorious daydreams, sip the honey and nectar from every passing hour — but guard well your feet that they do not slip into one of the snares and pitfalls along the way! Be pure, be true, be sincere, be earnest, and life will bring you peace and happiness!