How Do You Raise Strong Girls?

The True Feminine

“I am not sugar and spice and everything nice. 
I am art. 
I am a story. 
I am a church bell, gonging out wrongs and rights and normal nights. 
I was baby. I am child. I will be mother. 
I don’t mind being considered beautiful, I do not allow that to be my definition. 
I am a rich pie strong with knowledge. 
I will not be eaten.”

You guys, a third grader wrote this poem! I am blown away by her talent, her strength and her confidence. I know that I’m not the only one who is feeling fatigued by all of the sad and negative news that dominates the media 24/7, so when I opened my computer today and saw a news story about this poem it made me so happy and it made me think of my girls and how I hope they grow up to see themselves.

To the parents of this young author, first of all, congratulations on raising a kickass young lady, second, thank you for raising such a kickass young lady and third, how did you do it?! My girls are 2 years old and 7 months and I can already see that they have strong personalities, especially my toddler, the little one hasn’t quite got there yet… My toddler is feisty, mischievous, kind, caring and at times completely wild. Despite how exhausting it is trying to keep her in check all day, I love that she has such a strong will and I never want her to lose that.

My husband and I try to diversify her toys, storybooks and clothes. We’ve exposed her to toy cars and Duplo but most of the time she’d rather dress up like a princess. I’ve bought her different clothes of different colours from the “girl’s side” and the “boy’s side” of the store but almost every morning she asks to put on a pink dress. What can I say, the girl knows what she likes and wants, but I do worry that as she falls into all of these stereotypical girl characteristics she will continue to as she gets older and lose some of her confidence and feisty spirit.

On this Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, I am thankful that I live in Canada where our Prime Minister is a feminist and sets that example for the whole country. I am also thankful for all of the women that I have in my life that everyday help me to show my girls what strong women really are. And, I am thankful to my parents for raising my sister and me in house where we were told that we could be anything we put our minds to. They showed us a relationship where despite there being a lot of traditional gender roles, they treated one another with respect and truly worked together to raise their two strong girls. I know that because of this, my sister and I knew what to look for in our own partners, and now I have a husband who wants to raise strong young women just as much as I do, he respects me and my girls will know that when they are older.

I know there are no guarantees but I hope that if I follow the example that my parents set for me, and continue to show my girls how strong women are all over the world that when they get older they feel what the author of this poem so perfectly depicts. And, to the author of this poem, who is apparently only in grade 3, I hope that you always feel this way and continue to write and be an example for women of all ages.

6 thoughts on “How Do You Raise Strong Girls?

  1. I am always buying my daughter clothes that are “non traditional” for girls! She is 20 months and I usually show her a few outfits in the morning and say “which makes you feel STRONG and pretty?” She currently look bad ass in dinosaur pajamas! Haha I did a monster themed birthday party when all her friends had princess or Minnie themed. I worry about choosing a life for her that doesn’t represent who she is or forces her into a stereotype that she feels she “should” be based on societies expectations. This post is so relatable to any mommy with a little girl. Your conciousness on the situation and the fact that you are giving her power over her own life shows that you are doing such a great job!

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