My Daughter Thinks She Can Do Anything
My daughter thinks she can do anything. If that surprises you, please keep it to yourself.
This weekend while my 8-year-old daughter was selling Girl Scout cookies, a neighbor (who purchased generously, thank you) was updating us about her teenage sons. They’re on the golf team, she told us. My daughter wanted to know more because, she shared, she likes golf too. Mini golf. Well, the neighbor noted with great pride that a girl had tried out for the team this year, and guess what? She made it! I loved what this neighbor intended by sharing that story. But my daughter looked at her like she had three heads. “Yes,” the neighbor insisted. “Isn’t that great?” But the thing is, my daughter’s incredulity had nothing to do with the girl making the team. It has everything to do with the fact that this was somehow surprising.
My daughter had a similar reaction when she was playing one of those awful games on the iPad where you dress your own princess. Her friend’s mother, horrified at the discovery that the kids were playing with this nonsense, had this to say when the girls flashed their fabulous creation, “Really girls? But that’s not what pretty is. That’s not a real body!” She then poked the girls endearingly telling them that their bodies were real – not the Barbie-esque princesses they were i-dressing. Again, my daughter was flummoxed. She loves her own body. She’s never had reason not to. And of course, those princesses aren’t real. They’re pictures on the iPad.
And it happened at school one day. I was volunteering in the library when the librarian was reading to the class about Wilma Rudolph. And the kids couldn’t for the life of them understand why someone would not be allowed to go to school just because they were “crippled” (and that was even after the librarian explained to them what “crippled” meant).
I love the fact that my daughter has never known a life without two working parents. I love that she loves building fairy houses and handling worms. I love that she thinks the “s-word” is “stupid” and “hate” is inappropriate. We need to accept for ourselves, that along with all those changes are real changes about how our children perceive the differences between boys and girls. Sure my daughter knows that boys and girls are not the same, and that goes beyond the biological differences. But our mothers, and our mother’s mothers, and we as mothers, worked hard to get to the day where a generation of girls would believe they could do and be anything they want to, just like boys. Well, guess what? They have arrived! So let’s not knock them down by being so surprised.