Young girls enjoy a pajama party
Women's Ministries leader in western Russia mentors pre-teens in her church congregation.
Euro-Asia Division (ESD)
[Russian Federation] Women’s Ministries leaders in West Russian Union Conference want very much to support pre-teen girls during the complicated period of adolescence. In order to strengthen friendly relationships with the young girls in our congregation, we began leading “pajama parties.” For this purpose, eight to twelve girls gather in my house.
Until late in the evening, we cook together, learn how to lay the table according to etiquette, make different handcrafts. The opinions of their peer group are important to them. That’s why girls enjoy doing the activities together that are proposed by us. They willingly collaborate together in tasks and take care of each other while doing so. Preparing a drink, “Mokhito,” and making pancakes with these girls is an interesting experience.
After the joint venture of cooking dinner, when they are comfortably accommodated on pillows, we discuss a subject that of interest to them. I notice that what it is interesting for girls is not only relationship issues with boys. We talk of how to remain faithful to their principles, and how to live Christian life with joy. I prepare questions and the girls search for answers and share their thoughts.
A favorite activity for the girls is passing prayer time: each girl sits in the middle of the circle on a special pillow and tells what bothers her; then everyone prays for her. When they ask to pray for me, I decide to tell them what bothers me. It is also a heart-warming pleasure for me to sit in the midst of the prayer circle.
Communication… communication… it is satisfying for girls to talk to each other and they always have something to talk about. Twelve-year-old Alina shares her impression of communication. “It is so pleasant to feel important to somebody; it is pleasant to be listened to.” I find that in a family the mother typically understands, accepts, listens, and helps; but a daughter also needs to feel she is valued by her father. The father often does not understand or cannot answer the questions of his daughter. He may scold or judge his child. He may burn with frustration or anger, when she needs only to receive acceptance and communication from her father.
We watch a favorite movie of mine, “A Little Princess.” It appears to be a kids’ movie, but a very important adult concept is revealed in it: each person needs love. People who didn’t get love in their childhood are unhappy.
Morning. After common breakfast, we begin preparations for departure. Separating is difficult. Anya, the smallest girl, sits in tears as a vehicle carries her away.
These meetings become traditions the girls wait and prepare for with great anticipation. At the next pajama party when I open the door, a smiling girl exclaims: “I even bought new pajamas!”
I see many advantages with these meetings. Not a lot of money is needed to host them. They help strengthen girls’ relationships to each other. And girls with difficult relationships with parents benefit from them. At this meeting, in an atmosphere of acceptance, they gain confidence, and the girls willingly allow the positive influence from their peers and me to flow over them and soak in.
Contributed by Maria Vacheva, Women's Ministries director for West Russian Union Conference
Published in Mosaic newsletter, Summer 2018