Monday, November 7, 2011

Doreen Hanna's "Raising a Modern Day Princess"

Title: Raising a Modern Day Princess,
      Publisher: FOTF/Tyndale
Cover blurb: In Raising a Modern-Day Princess, authors Pam Farrel and Doreen Hanna come alongside mothers and mentors to offer practical help in raising a generation of women to see themselves as God sees them, Daughters of the King, true modern-day princesses. In an easy-to-use step-by-step style, the authors show moms how to create a fun-filled and life-changing rite-of-passage experience celebrating their daughters’crossover into womanhood. There’s also an entire chapter to help dads or father figures understand the vital role they play in their daughters’ lives. With personal stories and advice from real moms and daughters, this book speaks to the heart of every woman who longs to instill in her daughter a true sense of purpose, value, and strength.

1) How did this story come to you? 
In late 1999 I (Doreen) was asked to speak for a mother/daughter event titled, “Celebrate You’re a Daughter of the King.” In addition, they requested I include the importance of older women mentoring younger women. 

My first thought after saying yes was: “What exactly does a Daughter of the King look like in today’s society?  The following term came immediately to mind, “A Jewish American Princess.”  I knew this was a slang term in CA referring to Jewish women in the upper class society of CA.    I pondered those words for a moment and that caused me to remember some of the Jewish moms I knew in high school.  I recalled how they would walk down the school hallway with a graceful boldness, on their way to the principal’s office to discuss a plan of action for their child’s misbehavior. I also began to consider that divorce didn’t seem to be an option and that family life was very important to them.  They were faithful in their synagogues and they directed their children in a way that most often led to great success. 

With all that in mind it prompted me to go to the library to find the answer as to why they had such a solid
foundation and sense of royalty about them.  Within my research I discovered several books on a Jewish girl’s Bat-Mitzvah.  I immediately found that traditionally a woman called a “mentor,” (truly a God moment already) comes alongside of their daughter for one year, at the time that she turns 12, to reinforce all that the parents and their synagogue have taught and invested in her.  As I read the various subjects addressed, such as her character development, talents, understanding and memorization of the Torah (the 1st 5 books of our Bible), and service to her community, to name a few, all led to presenting her as a “woman,” at the age of 13 on the day of her Bat-Mitzvah celebration. I quickly saw why these woman were appropriately called (not slang at all!) Princesses.  They had truly been royally trained!

I felt well prepared for the event as I presented that day the purpose and power of a having a mentor in a young girl’s life enabling her to embrace her true identity in Christ, a Daughter of the King.  I also incorporated Princess Diana’s “ladies in waiting, (mentors!)” that served her throughout her life  available to give her wise counsel in every area of her life: physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Lastly, I spoke of Rahab, a prostitute who became a Princess in the linage of Jesus who was surrounded by the women of Israel (mentors!) preparing her to one day marry a Prince.

Driving home from the event many thoughts flooded my mind. Suddenly, the Holy Spirit arrested my wandering mind with this question, “What does our American Christian culture have for our girls?”  You know the obvious answer was, “Nothing.” 

I began pondering on how our Christian community had not carried from our Jewish roots a very valuable tradition:  Preparing and celebrating our daughters step into womanhood.  I contemplated how for most of us, my generation and many before me, had either just drifted into, or defined our own rite-of-passage into adulthood.  It might have been our first kiss, drink, smoke or drugs.  Or, possibly more appropriately: graduating from high school, college, turning 21 or our first job.  

Of course, this brought me back to what I had read about these Jewish women mentors who supported the parents and came alongside these girls equipping them for womanhood and this was well celebrated in their synagogue with family and friends where she was blessed by her Rabbi and father publicly, embracing her into adulthood with an increased measure of confidence and grace!

This was a God moment.  I faced the reality of what God was asking me that day but it took me three months to say YES to Him. Why? Because I knew it meant going back to work with teen girls.  That was a scary thought after having raised two of my own and the culture had changed so much how could I relate to them? Really God?! Then there was the realization that I would have to create and write a curriculum.  Hey!  I wasn’t a writer?  25 years of speaking and teaching women’s Bible studies, but not creating one!   One of my Pastor’s favorite quotes then came to mind, “God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called!”  Furthermore, within days I was reading my Daily Bible and just happened to be in the book of Esther (another God moment!)  and read in Chapter 4 verses13-14 “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s place (I was secure serving God where I was!)…for if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise from another place (or He will use another person).  Yet, who knows whether you have come to royalty for such a time as this.”  That sealed it for me.  It was a YES.  I didn’t want to miss out on something God had called me to accomplish for His glory and ultimately for my pleasure.

2) Tell us about the journey to getting this book published.
I love telling this story because getting published was a dream come true!  I had been invited by Focus on the Family to attend a gathering in 2002 with others across that country that had created rite-of-passage books, curriculums, seminars, etc. (This was a result of a friend who worked with FOTF and wanted to see me meet someone there enabling me to share what God had called me to do and had been implementing for a few years now and seeing the results.

When I arrived I was the only woman in the room and was surrounded by FOTF director Jim Weidiman, John Trent,  the author of The Blessing, Randy Phillips, one of the founding members of Promisekeepers and several others unknowns like myself but had been called by God to help facilitate within our American society the importance of a rite-of-passage! 

We discovered that one verse that had been instilled in all of our hearts during our development journeys. It was Malachi 4:6 “He will turn the heart of the father towards his children and the children towards their father…”  We knew that this rite-of-passage was accomplishing this because we were seeing it before our very eyes.

I left that meeting praying that one day FOTF would publish my curriculum.  However, the opportunity did not present itself at that time.  Therefore, over the next 5 years I pitched my curriculum to various publishers.  Most of them were receptive to the idea but no contract.  12 rejections later and in October 2008 at the CLASS Glorieta Writers Conference I met Brandy Bruce, a senior editor for FOTF and she immediately loved what I had presented.  By January 2009 my co-author, Pam Farrel and I had signed a contract and we were on our way to writing a book!  Remember I thought I would never be a writer ?  Well, God keeps stretching us, ok me!, to grow me up in Him and to amazingly use me to further His plans and purposes for our teen girls.  January of 2010 Raising a Modern Day Princess was released and has sold more than 20,000 copies.  I still stand in awe at what God wants and can do in, through, and around us when we say YES to Him.

3) Tell me three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
1) I was a California Beach Bunny, who from the age of 3 loved the boys (so my mother told me), especially the Beach Boys!
2) I was born with black hair.  Lived as a brunette until I was 58 – now I’m a blonde!  I do believe that this blonde is having more fun! J
3) I left my husband after 24 years of marriage, moved out of state, filed for divorce, was gone for 13 months.  However, we reconciled 6 weeks before the divorce was final.  We have now been married 40 years.

4) What are you working on now and what's next for you?
Pam Farrel are working on two more books.  One that will equip moms to Raise a Modern Day Princess from birth to pre-teens.  And another that addresses the Princess within of every woman.

5) Parting comments?
I would love the opportunity to pass on to other women what God has equipped and empowered me to do for Him who have also been called speak, write,  lead other women or  establish a ministry.    

5) Where can fans find you on the internet?


  1. Sounds like a good book.

  2. I would love to get my hands on this book. Please inclue me in your giveaway.

  3. I would love to do a rites of passage thing with my daughter--many moons from now. Please enter me.

    rmjagears AT gmail DOT com

  4. Sorry if I'm posting twice, I didn't see the "captcha" thingy so I'm guessing my first post didn't go through?! I have a 4-year old daughter, this sounds great!

  5. I'm gonna enter this contest and if I win, pass this book on to my friend who's 4 yr old is absolutely fascinated with "pwincesses" :-) I have no doubt she could get some great use out of this as she raises "Pwincess Halleigh" :-)

  6. Oh my! The subject matter of this inviting book hit me right between the eyes! I have 4 daughters and want them to know our father in heaven and Jesus Christ personally. In this day and age, this isn't so easy to pass on. I need this book!

    Barb Shelton
    barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

  7. Oh this looks like a great book. I would love to read this. Thanks for the chance to win.


  8. Oh I know the feeling! This would be great for my daughter, Thanks!


  9. Our church has a Titus 2 mentorship program for young ladies. Often their mothers also attend our meetings. I think this book would be an invaluable resource for mothers and their girls.

    And a mentor doesn't need to be a biological mom, other church moms can come alongside a teen and help. Sometimes the parents also need mentoring.

    Have a blessed day.

  10. What can I say, I am a mom to 4 modern day princesses and I know well the challenges with raising them. They are such precious gifts and I count it a joy and a privilege to be there mom! Thanks for writing such an important book!
    Blessings! Cheryl

  11. thanks for the chance to read this wonderful novel :)

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  12. After reading this description "instill in her daughter a true sense of purpose, value, and strength" -- this sounds like a wonderful book! My daughter just turned 8 this past week and anything that can help me to raise a wonderful, thoughtful, and caring person, I am happy to read and apply. Thanks for the giveaway!

    nancyecdavus AT bellsouth DOT net

  13. If only all mothers and young daughters would read your book. I will be getting it for my neice and her young teenage daughter! I would also love to read it! :O)
    ~Dawn Adams