Last night I watched Masterpiece's Diary of Anne Frank. I have to admit, I've never actually read the much acclaimed work. I wondered how much liberties were being taken, or how much the story was altered to reflect a more true story, given the recent exposure of previously censored sections. I read a very good review on this BBC production here. Actually, it was rather comforting to have my evaluation of Anne confirmed elsewhere. I thought she was really quite self-absorbed, and wondered if I wasn't judging her too harshly based on living with two 12-14 year old daughters of my own.
Some might say, 'what do you expect from an adolescent cooped up in a small space for two years?' But I think that far too much "out" is given to young people behaving in selfish and foolish ways, quietly condoned with a resigned shrug of the shoulders. Why is that? There were seven other people living behind the bookcase. They all had varying levels of patience, intolerance, thresholds of forbearance, compassion, acceptance, and generosity. Their weaknesses and virtues were tested alike within their stifling confinement, trusting in the care of others to keep them secret, and fearing the hostile threat of a world gone mad outside.
What I saw, speaking strictly of Anne here, was a delineation between what a difference a life based on personally-motivate decisions looks like versus one for who's heart is the Lord's. Initially Anne speaks of gladly being willing to sacrifice in some way for others, of the importance of remaining cheerful. But as time goes by, she increasingly blames just about all of her problems on her parents, lashing out at her mother in a demeaning fashion, writing a very hurtful letter to her dear father. She encourages other younger friends to do so as well. She is manipulative and exceedingly selfish and sees these indulgences as necessary to being true to herself. Her family seemed at a loss, even, for how to handle this headstrong woman-child and I was deeply moved for them. I saw almost everyone else there as being made of deeper stuff than this narcissistic girl. I felt the story was honest, but I did not see Anne as a true heroine for young people and that saddened me.
(I do think I need to read the book myself before making a full and fair judgement.)
Today was hard in our home. My own dear daughters are undergoing their own personal battles for self over sacrifice. We all experience this lifelong struggle, being dragged or willingly entering the ring to grapple with our deepest darkest selves. Mouthiness, arguing, bickering, willfulness, sullenness. These are the foes that I see are at war for dominance in their beings. I cannot let them skulk by unmolested, allowed to rule over my dear ones' hearts. They are called out and challenged, and I put a rake in one girl's hands, a pencil and His word in the other's. I draw them into the ring, giving them time to maneuver and engage with their shadowy sides. And I pray for victory, not just this day, not just for my daughters' character, but for His name sake and the touch of His hand upon their hearts and minds.
*It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was Your right hand, Your arm, and the light of Your face, for You loved them.
Oftentimes, when I am faced with dealing with my girls' emotional, hormonal growing pains I remember my own willful, rebellious heart as a young girl. In particular I recall a photograph taken with my back to the camera, arms crossed, profile set in stubbornness, all resistance. And that picture just so happens to also include my Mother, hands upon my shoulders, turning me towards the camera, making me do what I would not. Although it is a very embarrassing reminder of the self-indulgent struggles I put my own parents through - what a serendipitous moment for the camera to capture. ;D