Fathers, Daughters and the Beauty Subject

Daddy’s little girls: us at 6 and 4

Beauty and personal appearance is one area of a girl’s life that many fathers feel unqualified to speak into. However, in this mp3 message, our father Geoffrey Botkin explains a father’s biblical duty to be shepherding his daughter in this crucial area of her life – affecting the way she grows up to see herself, the culture around her, and her role as a woman. Listen to this message along with our mother’s on the same subject, and get a full-orbed picture of how a father and mother work together to prepare their daughters to be “corner pillars cut for the structure of a palace.” (Psalm 144:12)

Beauty and FashionFamily Relationships

A Review of “Homeschool Dropouts”

A very kind review of our family’s latest documentary:

For Christmas 2009, I asked for the new DVD Homeschool Dropouts: Why The Second Generation is now Headed for a Spiritual Wasteland. And I got it! I was so excited to receive this DVD and I watched it that day. I was shocked, convicted, humbled, pricked, challenged, filled with despair, brought to tears, filled with hope, and awakened to a growing movement: Homeschool dropouts.

Why write a review of this product?

First off, I want to say that this DVD will anger and possibly cause division among those who view it. Certainly one of the purposes behind this project was to call the second generation of home educators to a renewed sense of duty and fulfillment. This film is not for the faint hearted.

I believe that this is a much-needed message that is not being widely circulated among the homeschool movement. As I have been a part of this movement for nearly two decades, I have seen major changes in the way people are “doing homeschool” and some of these changes are frankly, frightening!

The time to act is now, the time to keep silent has passed. The Botkin siblings do a gracious job of communicating hard truths to my generation (the second generation) of homeschoolers. A message long overdue.

Botkin Projects

Movieguide Reviews Return of the Daughters

Movieguide has just posted their recent review of the DVD Return of the Daughters on their website. The DVD received ratings of +4 and 4 stars for content and quality, the highest possible. From the review:

Appealing yet controversial, this manifesto of Christian daughterhood is beautifully produced and sure to provoke families into examining the scriptural and cultural foundations of their ambitions for their daughters.

Read the full review here:


The Return of This Daughter

Visionary daughter Evangeline McNiel writes an open letter to our readers:

Dear Daughters near or far, at home or abroad,

I want to write to you and share how the simple true message of So Much More changed my life and satisfied my unexplainable longings. A phrase from the book broke my heart and pinpointed my error. The contributor wrote, “I began to understand that my calling was not somewhere out their waiting for me to ‘find it,’ but my calling was to help my dad fulfill his calling.”

As an energetic, go-getter gal, I was always planning projects, taking leadership positions, “making waves” as my seaside university’s motto urged us. But it all left me thinking, “Is this God’s best?”

I come from a homeschool family of six. When my senior year came, our family knew no better course than college. All three of my older siblings attended private Christian colleges, so I when I received an offer for a full-ride scholarship to any university in my state, I counted it a blessing. My father was uneasy, but there was so much hype in the air about my acceptance after months of interviews and essays, I did not seriously consider his premonitions.

My first weeks at the university were fascinating for a people-loving girl who had been homeschooled and homechurched most of her life. Living in the dorms, I had running buddies, surfing friends, a ballroom dance clan, international students—it was exciting. Although many of my friends confessed to be Christians, very few were true followers. I was discouraged by the lack of spiritual and academic seriousness, but I made the best of it. Soon I was class representative, president of the Spanish club, a young women’s Bible study leader, an active member of a local church, part of a Hispanic ministry, a straight A student. It all left me so empty, but the novelty of my new independent life kept me going and my reports home positive. I lived in the “Christian dorm” and had good relationships at church, so I was blind to a lot of what was really going on, until the second year.

My second year I was a house parent (“Resident Assistant”) for 63 students in a co-ed dorm. I am to blame for this ridiculous idea. The summer before, I was doing mission work in Mexico City, so my parents had very little input. My new life was the antithesis of a protected stay-at-home daughter. Mcniel I had to go on night patrol until 3 o’clock in the morning breaking up drinking parties, and going into the depths of a very dark and depraved world. Around this nightmare of a time, I was chosen to represent the school of education for an “Academic Life” promotional booklet. My plans and smile seem so cool and confident, but behind it all I was the most broken, lost and instable as I have ever been. And it wasn’t just me. I felt it in all the girls — the insecurity…the fruit of an unprotected life. “Her focus is clear,” my bio read. I had no focus. I had no idea how to be a good Christian girl. I was lost.

Meanwhile, I read voraciously in search of a real education and deeper purpose. One day I saw a woman from my church mentoring a friend of mine in a local coffee shop. They were reading So Much More. The attractive cover and the words “Visionary Daughters” caught my eye. I will never forget the night I sat on my bed reading that book until 4 in the morning, weeping over it. My heart had ached for a protected mission, a biblically sound mission, an ancient mission. And here it was! What joy! What relief! I was not designed to be an independent woman, but rather part of a man’s life, a helper. And what better man could I help but my dear father?

That next weekend I drove home to present the idea to my family. At first, my parents were surprised at my desire to move home after recently announcing plans to study abroad in Spain and Chile the next year. But at the end of our few days of sharing and crying and much repentance and prayer, my father would have it no other way. I was to come home as soon as I finished my final exams.

I returned back to school and feared what my scholarship director and friends would think and say. My resolution began to crumble when friends reacted in disapproval and even advised me to see a counselor. One day, I was seriously doubting it all as I drove to class when I spotted two bumper stickers that made me angry. “Nice girls never make history” and “Feminism = No more oppression.” Our cars were on the same road, but I thought, Do I want to be driving the same direction as they?

I have passed a joyous year in my father’s house, and our family of 3 adult children is learning how God can use our unity for his glory. My mother is teaching me how to love our family and make home a wonderful place. I help manage meals and hospitality and am beginning to keep the books for the family. My father sends me out to help homeschool families, mentor young girls and share the Gospel with Hispanic women. Vision Forum’s Father-Daughter Retreat and a recent visit to the —– family’s home and Grace Family Baptist Church in Houston sharpened my vision and joined me to like-minded people. If you are a newly returned daughter or if you want to be but you are afraid—don’t be. Have faith in God; He is able to do exceeding abundantly more than you could ever think or imagine.

Evangeline McNiel (r)



Visionary Daughters Interviewed – Final Installment

Here is part three of a recent interview a journalist conducted with us.

Interviewer: Tell me about your book: whose idea was it? What are you hoping to accomplish with it? How has it been received?

A&E: We got the idea for writing our book when we were aged 15 and 17. We were nearing adulthood, and faced with the question of “What next?” Who did we want to become? What did we want to live and die for? Our friends seemed to be living on auto-pilot, defaulting to the same decisions all the other girls were making about college, career, relationships and the rest. Our father had always taught us not to passively follow the crowd, but to carefully and deliberately think through every decision, using Scripture as our guide. So we began a rigorous study of the biblical role of women (daughters in particular), and made discoveries so fascinating, counter-cultural and life-transforming that we wanted to share them with every other girl.

We knew there was a need for this book. The young women of our generation have so many questions, and often feel so lost and conflicted. They struggle to understand who they are as women, while surrounded by destructive and confusing stereotypes of women from past and present. They suffer from bad relationships with their family members, and the consequences of that. They don’t understand how they as women should relate to men. They fear they will never marry; they feel guilty about wanting to marry; they’re confused about what to do in the meantime; they’re realizing too late that they may have driven away their chances of marriage by pursuing feminist dreams of their own; and if they eventually marry, they agonize over how to balance their families with their careers and feel guilty about whichever one ends up short-changed. What we found is that the Bible does give the answers to each of these problems. God is not silent on the issues that face young women — He has a place and a purpose for us, if we will only study to find it.

Interviewer: Have you heard of the “modesty movement”? Are you connected to that? What does that entail for you, personally?

A&E: The Bible specifically commands women to dress modestly (1 Tim. 2:9), and we do try to model that. It’s interesting to us that, as a reaction against the damaging effects of the sexual revolution, even many “non-religious” women are returning to modesty and abstinence, and discovering the many benefits that accompany them (a reminder of the wisdom of God’s commands to us). However, we see modesty as a defining characteristic of Christian behavior, not simply as a solution to a cultural problem.

We are not advocates of frumpy flour-sack “modesty” — modesty is only one aspect of what Christian women need to communicate in their dress, radiant femininity being another. Our goal in dress is to communicate that we rejoice in being women, and to encourage the men around us to respect women rather than objectify them.

Ask A&E

Visionary Daughters Interviewed: 2nd Installment

Interviewer: In your opinion and through your study and experience, what is a woman’s role in life?

A&E: A woman’s role is to honor and serve God, in the sphere He created her for. The Bible tells us that woman was created from the man and for the man (1 Cor. 11:9) to be a helper to him in his mission (Gen. 2:18). (Note: not to be his slave or property.) This is what God created woman for, and is the true essence of femininity: to complement and complete man, to be at his side in taking dominion of the earth. Men and women were created to be different — and those undeniable differences are glorious — but their distinct, complementary roles should work together to achieve one common goal. We believe a woman’s value and importance is in every way equal to a man’s, though her role is different.

Through the whole panorama of Scripture (and through most of history), we see the home and family as woman’s context. Home was not woman’s prison — it was her base of operations, from which she engaged in commerce, ministry, charity, medicine, the arts, and more. The family, though, was always her priority.

Interviewer: What are your views on women and education? Why?

A&E: We believe women should be highly, highly educated, in the right ways and for the right reasons. We encourage girls to strive for a broader, higher and more intellectually honest education than is available at most colleges today. When researching the higher-education options before us a few years ago, Anna Sofia and I studied college syllabi, interviewed students and teachers alike, spent time on several campuses, and then studied the way the best-educated men and women in history have become so. We concluded that colleges do not have the monopoly on higher learning, higher qualifications, and proper training. The historic fact is that the best-educated men and women of history have always been autodidacts: people who took responsibility for their own educations and were self-motivated. Brick-and-mortar institutions and pedagogues have never cornered the market on education, and we would love to see more young women think outside that box, taking the initiative to pursue real education rather than “schooling.”

Interviewer: Do you feel your lifestyle is supported by other Christians, Evangelical Christians, people in general?

A&E: Response to our lifestyle is very mixed, as we would expect. There are those who embrace it wholeheartedly, those who look at it wistfully, those who feel “judged” by it, those who try to misunderstand and misinterpret us, and the few who send hate-mail. However, we’ve never needed the affirmation of others in how we live — the affirmation of God is what we seek.

Ask A&E

Q&A Regarding our Position on Sarah Palin

Q: Isn’t it a good thing that feminism is becoming more conservative?

A: We actually see this new “conservative” face of feminism as a very dangerous development. We cannot redeem a movement that was conceived in rebellion against God and His design. Feminism certainly comes in several different flavors, but at its core, its message is this: Women have the right to decide for themselves what is right and wrong for them. Since the Garden of Eden, feministic women have valiantly fought for the right to get their own way, and each woman’s only standard is What She Wants –- what is “right in [her] own eyes” (Judges 21:25). This is why the feminist movement is so splintered, schizophrenic and inconsistent, even on the candidacy of Sarah Palin. This is also why “Christian” feminism is an oxymoron.

When feminism becomes more “conservative,” it becomes more insidious. Modern feminism at its roots is socialist and anti-family, and that can’t be changed by painting conservative values on top. We believe “conservative” feminism will seduce and destroy more women (and their families) than radical feminism. What we’re seeing is not feminism becoming more conservative — it’s conservatism becoming more feminist.

We should be warning girls away from feminism before it devastates their lives, rather than “baptizing” it to make it look family-friendly and righteous.

Q: Why do you target Sarah Palin, when there are other much more liberal woman leaders in the world, such as Hillary Clinton?

A: We believe Sarah Palin’s example poses a more serious threat to Christian womanhood than more liberal feminist icons such as Hillary Clinton. These are strong words, but hear us out. We can expect the enemies of God to act in flagrant opposition to Him, and we don’t see many conservative Christian girls seduced by their example. But when we see professing Christians act in flagrant opposition to Him (or His created order), and fellow Christians cheer them on and call them role models, we are more compelled to hold the line. We believe Sarah Palin’s feminism is more insidious, because it is so attractive to conservative Christians. Unlike the angry, man-hating, radical feminist vanguard of yesteryear, the new feminist Face is beautiful, feminine, and maternal – but it is also statist and egalitarian. Many Christians are too star-struck to notice Mrs. Palin’s record of feminist, socialist policies and compromises, or the fact that she is biblically unqualified to hold this office.

Sarah Palin’s “conservative” brand of feminism could do far more for the radical-left feminist cause than their own camp. The Left tells young women that it is acceptable to neglect children and family. Palin’s example tells young women that it can be conservative and “Christian” to neglect children and family. Her example also subverts gender roles. Despite Todd Palin’s traditional, manly-man image and Sarah’s traditional, womanly one, we believe they are undermining biblical marriage relationships and gender roles with their spotlight examples as Mrs. Civil Leader and Mr. Mom. The message of this possible First Family: men and women are interchangeable. And as Christ’s Bride, under His headship, this is something the Church must stand against.

Q: Do you believe God can never work through a woman civil leader?

A: God can “work through” any vessel he appoints for any specific purpose. He has used a variety of women rulers, from Jezebel to Margaret Thatcher, for His unique and different purposes.

We know God “worketh all things after the counsel of His own will” (Eph. 1:11) — He raises up (Daniel 4:17) and puts down (Daniel 4:25-33) civil rulers of all kinds to accomplish His purpose for His people (Romans 8:28). God worked through Pharaoh. God worked through Nebuchadnezzar. Voting, however, for Pharaoh or Nebuchadnezzar for president would clearly violate the standards God gave us for choosing civil magistrates — which we believe is also the case for voting the McCain/Palin ticket. The question we should ask is not “What could God do?” but “What has God commanded us to do?” Deuteronomy 29:29 declares: “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.”

We do not need to be afraid of the consequences of our obedience. We should be afraid, rather, of disobedience, especially the kind of disobedience that justifies pragmatism over principle. God does not need our votes to micro-manage the situation in our nation. He expects and deserves our obedience to principle in every area of life, through which He then manages our national affairs with peace and blessing.

Q: Isn’t a vote for anyone other than McCain/Palin a wasted vote?

A: No. We waste our vote when we vote in panic, in fear of something other than God. When we vote with the expectation that God sees the obedience in our decision, our vote is never wasted.

We must answer to God for every vote we cast. Our vote is not an idle pronouncement. It may be private, but God knows precisely what we have done and why we have done it. Our vote reveals the essence of our faith or our unbelief, and we will be held accountable for our vote. If we vote for McCain/Palin, we clearly violate biblical standards, endorse a clearly unqualified administration, and invite clearly-written Biblical sanctions on ourselves and on our country. Disobeying Scripture is never the way to attempt to fix our imperiled nation, even if it seems like a responsible emergency solution. Our chief concern should be Who is on the Throne, rather than who is in the White House. Our modus operandi should start with sincere and more consistent, biblical obedience in our own lives, homes, and churches. Our strategy for national reformation needs to begin with the understanding that America’s problems cannot be fixed in one election or one presidential term – we need to look at the present crisis in the context of the past and the future. It was the compromises of Christians decades ago that brought us where we are today; we must consider the consequences our voting compromises today may have long after this election is over, when our children will have to reap what we have sown.

God is stronger than the evils that can be caused by the unprincipled conduct of Obama or McCain. If we remember this, we won’t be afraid of voting on principle — we will be afraid of voting any other way.

In the spirit of the Deuteronomy verse we quoted before, we need not worry about the “secret things” which belong to the Lord, but instead the “things which are revealed.” The marvelous works which God has ordained in the future are hidden in His inscrutable counsel, but He has given to us and our children a sure Word which we are called to obey. We are to “do all the words of this law” — this same law which commands us to choose only qualified men to hold civil office.

Ask A&E


We are proud to announce our family’s latest project: “Father to Son: Manly Conversations That Can Change Culture” — a six-part DVD series on the father-son relationship, coming this Fall.

We’re moving into the post-production process right now. We consider this to be one of the most significant productions our family has ever embarked on. We’d appreciate your help circulating the news about this exciting new series! Please also feel free to send us your marketing ideas. Your prayers, help, support and ideas are always welcome!

Botkin Projects