Part 2 of an interview with Trish Donohue,
Author of Between Us Girls:
Walks and Talks for Moms and Daughters
The relationship girls have with their mothers greatly impacts the women they become, and for busy moms in the thick of the parenting years that reality can seem overwhelming. Author Trish Donohue brings guidance for women who want to disciple their daughters but don’t know where to start in Between Us Girls: Walks and Talks for Moms and Daughters (New Growth Press/June 6, 2016).
As a mom to two girls, Donohue knows the kinds of questions women asks themselves when considering their influence on their daughters: Am I being a good example? What are the most critical life lessons and spiritual insights I should be imparting to them? Am I getting through to them? Balancing these concerns with the hectic nature of daily life can feel daunting, which is why Donohue wrote this guide filled with gospel-driven talks, or “walks” designed to be completed one-on-one, and covering a wide variety of topics.
Q: What are some of the topics you cover in Between Us Girls?
There are 26 topics, and just like a real hiker, it’s fun to tackle a difficult climb, then stick to an easier one the next time. That’s why I mixed it up. Readers will hit foundational topics such as the gospel, prayers, church and trials, but there are also lighter topics such as flair, friendships and stuff. There are also culturally relevant topics including technology and clothes. The book also addresses vulnerable areas such as doubts, feelings, changes and weaknesses. There is quite a variety because there is lots to talk about!
Q: How can a mom be sure she’s addressing the right topics with her daughter on a regular basis?
This can be difficult with a busy life and family, and moms ultimately need to trust that the Holy Spirit will guide them as they seek to train up their daughters. If moms find they regularly talk through lots of issues with their daughters and seek out God’s truth in the Bible, they don’t even need a book like this. But if they feel unsure about whether they’re hitting the relevant topics and would like to build a stronger relationship with their daughters, Between Us Girls can help. As a pattern of communication is formed, it’ll be easier to jump into other issues as they come up. Even after finishing this book, I would encourage maintaining a regular time for connecting by putting it on the calendar. I think moms might be surprised what conversations arise.
Q: As you know, all moms are busy. In what ways did you keep this in mind when writing Between Us Girls?
Most moms know how easy it is to miss these valuable times with their daughters. They also know what it’s like to plan them and then realize they’re absolutely braindead and can’t think of anything worthwhile to say. Consider this book a cheat sheet. No prep is needed. The talks tell moms exactly what to read together from the Bible, lead readers through the topic and provide questions that will make moms and daughters laugh, think and get to know each other better than ever before. The walks even help plan ways to apply what they’ve learned together.
Q: What advice do you have for mothers who don’t have good relationship with their daughters? Can they use a tool like this?
All moms know the perfect mother/daughter pair who seems to be sharing every moment, laughing together, making great memories and somehow always looking adorable in the process. They are immediately aware of the struggles in their own relationships with their daughters. When those struggles are deep, it can seem scary to pick up a tool like this. What if it doesn’t work? What if she thinks it’s boring? What if she rejects her mom?
Yes, moms struggling with their relationships can absolutely use a tool like this, and I would tell them they don’t have to be best friends to honor God in their relationships with their daughters. Moms have the opportunity to be a picture of God’s steadfast love to their daughters. Their initiative and efforts toward their daughters echo God’s initiative toward us.
If their daughters sit quietly through the walks, that’s fine; they’re still hearing the truth of God’s Word. If they won’t be vulnerable with their moms, moms can lead by example and be vulnerable with them. If they get halfway through a walk and the conversation seems to be leading elsewhere, that’s fine. Who knows where the Lord will lead? But moms shouldn’t let fear keep them from pursuing and discipling their daughters. And moms shouldn’t evaluate their effectiveness by what they see with their eyes. God is the one who does the work.
Q: Why is it important for each walk not just to be about discussing life issues but also about building relationship? How can mothers make sure that happens?
Building relationship is important because moms want these conversations to continue! They don’t just want to download some good information into their daughters’ brains and check off a box that says, “Done. Good parenting accomplished.” They need to build relationships that allow them to walk through life together, laugh at their weaknesses, embrace vulnerability and spur one another on.
Daughters will be much more likely to share their hearts when their moms go first. The interactive questions in this book allow mothers to share their own struggles and joys, then prompt daughters to do the same. Moms will be sharing things they learned growing up, silly fears, weaknesses and wisdom. Daughters will be sharing too, and that will begin to build a relationship based on God’s Word. Together they can handle new issues as they arise.
Q: Can Between Us Girls be used in situations other than a mother/daughter relationship?
Absolutely. By simply skipping the mother/daughter titles, the book can be used in a variety of ways, and I applaud women who desire to disciple girls in their lives! The book could easily be used in any one-on-one context, and it could also be used in a small group, where a leader is going through it with a number of girls.
Learn more about Between Us Girls and Trish Donohue at www.newgrowthpress.com.