What If We Teach Our Girls to Be Brave Instead of Perfect?
The girls that we see today in parks and at their school desks, are the women of tomorrow. But, first they are the girls of today and nothing justifies us wanting to take their childhood away, piece by piece, just so that they will be perfect woman in the future. Prepared to be mothers, prepared to take care of a house, prepared to navigate the world, prepared to be the best in their profession, prepared to manage their emotions, prepared to swallow their frustration without choking on it. If your head hurts after so much “preparedness,” imagine how they feel.
“Life is the childhood of our immortality.”
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Childhood is not a Shuttle for Perfect Women
Childhood is not a shuttle for perfect women. Of course, there is no parent that does not want their children to have the perfect future. That is why they work their fingers to the bone every day, which is why they search for the best teachers and make an effort to have more hours in a day.
The other day I was reading an article that said we ask too much from children, and perhaps that is true. What experience has taught me is that we do not listen to them enough. They have millions of social networks where they can express themselves, yet cannot do so in their own households.
Don’t get me wrong, that does not mean they get to make all the decisions, but if we retain the power to make decisions for them, then we should take into consideration what they want now, and what they would like to do in the future. If we assume that right and obligation, we cannot ignore the responsibility that comes with it. It does not mean we have to indulge them, but rather to help them integrate, discover themselves and determine where they want to go. I am talking about something that has nothing to do with how strict parents are.
If we want to teach them anything, teach them that perfection does not exist. That at some point in their lives they will have to face fear, and just because they are brave does not mean they won’t experience fear, but rather they put it aside and overcome it. Those that do it over and over again, while watching from the sidelines, will see those fears get smaller and smaller.
“Those who share our childhood, never seem to grow up.”
Perfect Woman do not Exist. But Brave Woman do.
Teaching them that perfection does not exist, but that fears do multiply when we get older: at square one there seems to be much less to lose than in middle boxes. Let’s tell her that there are victories with a price so high that it is not worth winning. It is not worth it to be the most popular if the price you have to pay is bullying, teasing or suffering insults.
Show them that before adopting an opinion as their own they should scrutinize it, and that they should do this even if it means they do so based on our opinions and then we have to take the time to expose them. Do not make them think that vulnerability makes them weak, because putting up barriers with people we care about just distances us from them.
Teach them that they have great power. To break up with a partner at the first sign of mistreatment, to break down doors and intervene if they feel someone is in danger, to say no when they get an invitation that seems suspicious. Teach them that freedom does not mean anarchy, and those who fear her are not doing her any good, despite how many that chorus of voices may be.
Teach them that if they courageously gather their power they will turn into people who are worth the effort, and while they are becoming that person they will still be someone who is worth the effort. Because, in the meantime counts, it counts so much that if you stop to think about it, everything happens while we die, while we live…and during that ‘meantime’ full of prospects something happens, and that is that happiness has a funny kind of liking for people who are worth it.