How do I raise strong, confident daughters?
This is a question I ask myself everyday as I maneuver through the twists and turns, ups and downs of raising my 2 beautiful daughters, 11 and 8 yrs old.
My girls couldn’t be any different. The oldest is a shy, perfectionist, while the other, my middle child, is outgoing and laid back. They’re both very loving but express it very differently. I must admit, I struggle with making sure I give them the same message, presenting it differently to suit their totally opposite personalities.
To my Girls,
I will start this letter the way I start most conversations, I love you. What I want for you simply is to have lives you can be proud of. To dream big, but achieve more, and live without thoughts of what could have been. I am purposefully hard on you two because I want to push you past what you feel is your limit. I realize as a parent I have to do my best to pass along the knowledge I’ve gained, not only through my experiences, accomplishments and mistakes, but also lessons I’ve learned from others. And as my children, you must be willing to accept what I’m teaching you, interpret it (hopefully message intact) and apply it in your own lives. And just as you have doubts, I often wonder if I’m doing enough as a role model, woman, wife and mother.
As I think of you both I notice how beautifully different you are, and not just from one another, but from everyone else. Instead of harping on your differences, embrace them because it’s what makes you special and sets you apart. Differences aren’t flaws. They give you depth and character. So don’t bother with perfection.
Perfection is unobtainable.
This concept, I realize is harder for one of you as you strive for it every waking minute. Don’t ever let the noise of negativity, overpower and prevent you from hearing your positive thoughts. Mistakes will be made, and an unwillingness to try because of fear, will prevent you from achieving your life’s true successes. Always be willing to try something new,(with exceptions of course), while knowing and being okay with failure being on option. Failures aren’t losses, rather lessons you should learn from and take with you for your next experience.
Mistakes are where the magic happens.
They teach you, or at least get you closer to realizing what’s the wrong path and the better direction. Never be afraid to discuss your mistakes with us. We know you will make them, and even though we may be upset, please know we will ALWAYS appreciate your honesty. There are however, pointless or silly mistakes. Those in most cases can be avoided most times by listening to the voices in your heads and simply thinking twice.
In times of doubt, I want you to remember the words I often repeat. I hope they resonate and give the boost you need to confidently step out of your comfort zones, not just leaning into uncomfortable situations but facing them head on.
I Can, I Will
- Be strong
- Be confident
- Be brave
- Let go
- Be okay not being perfect
- Be me
- Never give up
- Be defiant
- Stand up
- Be me
I don’t want to sound as if this message of perseverance, pushing past boundaries, bravery and failure only pertains to you two, because it relates to your brother as well. But I do admit that I am more sensitive to it as a woman speaking to you girls who will be in my place sooner then I care to think about. Although the message is the same for your brother, raising a black male is VERY different and perhaps better suited coming from my other half, your dad, who can better relate but that’s a conversation, which we’ll discuss with you later.
I want you both to know that the thoughts of doubt and uncertainty you feel are okay, and everyone has shared those same thoughts at some point. Historically, all women have had struggles. And the concept of I Can, I Will, was what women were thinking when they fought for freedom, equality, the right to vote, the right to choose what happens to their bodies, equal pay and the list goes on.
As for now. I will continue on this path, feet firm, eyes focused, with a tender heart and open mind, and do the best I can for you two. Because I love you both more than anything, and look forward to seeing you become strong role models that defy norms as our next generation of women.
Til next time,