Amelia Earhart, one of the world’s most audacious woman, once said: “The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity”
We celebrate the women on who’s shoulders we stand today to gaze down at a world that has metamorphosized in recent history thanks to the audacity and determination of the brave women who have gone before us.
How do we cultivate such traits in our young girls so they can grow to be brave, wise and bold?
The world our daughters are inheriting has problems of its own. Solving climate change and income inequality will require new skills, therefore the future belongs to those who have the ability to problem-solve and execute with vision and confidence.
Today girls finally ‘have it all’. They can study, vote, own property, use birth control and pursue any career they dream of. As a mother of three girls, this weighs heavily on my heart, and I’ll share a few ideas that have appealed to me over the last decade:
Be the women you’d like them to be:
The best way for a child to learn is by example. We therefore need to consistently believe in ourselves, love ourselves, and do our best. Teaching our little ones to feel comfortable in their own skin and to laugh at themselves stems from our own strength and confidence.
Resilience is believed to be the bedrock of character. We can foster a good introduction to resilience as they grow older by communicating life’s challenges. Teaching them how to build strength through hard times and cultivate an open mind (or a growth mindset as Dr Carol Dweck recommends).
Parenting is like having an apprentice for 18 years, once our youngster turn into teenagers, our influence wanes, so it’s best to make the most of our short time together. As tiring, exhausting and impossible as it feels some days.
Setting our daughters up to make wise choices:
Ultimately only one or two major decisions really matter in our lives, the rest are more forgiving and act as practice. And as the saying goes, the more we practice the luckier we get.
We can guide our daughters to empower themselves and improve their chances of making good decisions one day. Exposure to different thoughts and cultures through reading or travel can do wonders in keeping our daughters curious and wanting to learn more, becoming street-wise, detecting a bull-shitter, and not caring what others think. These skills ultimately lead to true empowerment through studying, choosing an environment that is good for them, and committing to a supportive partner one day.
Allowing our daughters to practice decision-making when they are young may lead to improved choices in future. If we encourage age-appropriate decisions and talk them through ‘failure’, we can set them up for success as they learn how to help themselves when things go wrong.
Cultivate healthy relationships:
Healthy relationships have the biggest influence over our lives. Lots of evidence suggests that people who have supporting relationships are happier and live longer (be it a partner, a friend or a family member).
Our relationships with our spouses, our children, our own families and friends serve as the fundamental illustration to our children. We can only benefit from ‘working on ourselves’ to communicate better, love more generously, and be more patient and forgiving. If our daughters can cultivate healthy relationships with themselves and with others it may save them from a future of agony.
I’ll leave you with these closing words from the women who brought us the little black dress, Coco Chanel: ” In order to be irreplaceable one must be different.”
By: Sibella Knott-Craig