I’ve been raising women since the day my first child was born and then I was given another shot at it when my youngest came along. I’m not finished yet, but ‘half time’ has come and gone now for both of my girls and I’ve long since entered into other phases of parenting.
In all their magnificence, they’re still human – flawed and imperfect – and I let them be – while at the same time teaching them to grow from there, using imperfections as keys to improvement – and sometimes just simply accepting that what others may see as an imperfection, may really be something unique and beautiful about the woman they are created to be.
There is a time to be little. The teenage years can be tricky and our girls sometimes think they must sprint into all things ‘grown up.’ I’ve found the importance in balancing these years with responsibility, womanhood preparation (easing into all things grown up) and continued childhood play (letting them be little – they’re not too old or big to color, play with dolls or run around outside and get dirty – and to prove it to them, I do it with them).
I’ve listened to many adults talk about young girls – parents, social workers, teachers, etc. – and they use the words ‘drama’ and ‘moody’ as descriptors. I have no judgements toward anyone who chooses those adjectives – I’ve just found they aren’t at all useful for me as I bring these women to womanhood. I believe children manifest what we speak into them and their lives and I refuse to speak drama or moodiness into their lives. Instead, I teach them about their emotions. I help them understand why they might feel the way they do and then how to fully feel and release – or use those feelings to produce results. This also teaches them to identify emotions in others and develop empathy. I don’t allow them to use emotions as an excuse for behavior, rather I teach them to think through those feelings and choose the positive thoughts over the negative ones to lead them to the outcome they really want. It’s not about perfection, it’s a process to sound mental health.
I promised myself I will love them even when they frown, I will kiss them even when they are mad at me, I will tell them I love them even if they don’t say it back, I will hold them when their heart is broken even if I didn’t think it is as big of deal as they do. I promised I’d love them more than I think they need – so they know without a doubt what love really looks and feels like and no other person could ever come and trick them into believing in a lesser love.
This list isn’t all inclusive and there are more ways than these that will Develop a Positively Influential Woman, but here’s my short list of things I’ve found to be Worthy of use when Raising a Woman Who Will Positively Change The World.
1. Introduce her to God.
2. Let her be little.
3. Stop telling her she’s moody.
4. Don’t make excuses for her.
5. Hug her, kiss her, hold her – more than she needs and there will be no void to fill.
6. Remind her of her heart – that it heals, that it is special, that you will always be there when it feels whole or broken.
7. Show her ambition is for girls.
8. Remind her to close her eyes and remember her dreams – then be bold and bring them to life.
9. Stop making her pose.
10. When she starts to be influenced by diamonds – teach her how rare, precious, and STRONG they really are.
11. Stop telling her she can’t. Stop telling her she is too little. Stop overindulging her and making her think ‘things’ will ever satisfy her heart that was built for so much more.