Raising girls isn’t a responsibility to be taken lightly. Sure, there are some universal lessons that generally apply to both boys and girls. But as women raising future women, there are certain truths we can impart that speak to the complexity of being a girl today.
Let your friendships with your girlfriends be an example — no drama, lifting each other up, and how you can be closer by sharing pain and pride.
Teach her some specific words to apply to friendships: toxic, inclusive, trust, loyalty.
Show her what a healthy marriage looks like. Show her how you and your partner can depend on each other to lighten the weight of life’s heavier days. And show her how light and levity can also put life into perspective.
You don’t always have to forgive. Our culture tends to valorize forgiveness and immediately equate it with weakness. Some things are truly unforgivable.
Be just as quick to call out the bad in people as you are to acknowledge the goodness. That gift you received or that unexpected gesture? Show her the importance of thank you notes. Handwritten and promptly delivered.
Be vulnerable in front of her. Process. Cry. Show her that you’re human and that you can break. Because sometimes, our crying shows how we feel the world.
Speak up. For your body. Your personal space. For your friends. For strangers.
Give her what she needs to deal with her feelings. Creative outlets, a trusting ear not burdened by time; alone time.
Show her that your period isn’t shameful. No need to go to ninja stealth mode to disguise your period. Also, don’t call it Aunt Flo.
Always wear the sunblock. Take off your face at night. Behold the power of lipstick to turn around a bad mood.
Use the correct names for all of her body parts.
Her Understanding of the World
Show her your sense of moral outrage. Let her see how much you’re paying attention to the world and our place in it. to Show her that we’re sitting upright, paying attention and seeing where we can be moved about something enough to want to change it. You’re a human being before you’re a girl.
Take her with you to vote on Election Day.
Let her see what you’re reading. Tell her that reading is multi-purpose. It can be escapism. It can be to learn and understand.
Her Sense of Self
Show her that “Having it all” is something you define for yourself.
Don’t let anyone tell you your intelligence is a liability or not something to be celebrated.
Show her how to stand her ground with unpopular opinions — that it’s okay to fill up on bread and half birthdays are dumb.
No half-assing anything. Do it, do it hard, do it better than the last time.