Hi it’s Stacey Clark, founder of Leap, Learn, Live and I want to talk to you today about why we all need to tell our girls that they are smart, strong and worthy. Growing up in a male dominated society, we often hear girls being referred to as the superficial things a person can see without going deep or getting to know her such as: pretty, beautiful, sexy or gorgeous. Boys on the other hand are referred to as smart, ambitious, strong and sometimes handsome.
All of this may seem innocent enough when a young person is still young, but as they grow up, often they are still identifying with what their chief caregivers and later society, told them about who they are. I bet you see where I am headed here. Yes, we need to tell girls early on that they are smart, strong and worthy, but we need to tell our little boys that girls are smart, strong and worthy too.
Mom, your word is a magic wand!
As a mom, you are the chief caregiver of your children and what you say to them is the foundation for who they become. For this reason it is vitally important that you carefully choose how you use words to tell your children who they are. It’s true, parents tell kids who they are, mine did, your’s did, and now you do. When a child is born, they have no concept about who or what they are. They are a blank slate.
However, at the a very early age, kids start knowing and becoming who they are going to be, based on what the people who take care of them tell them about who and what they are (this falls under the heading of nurturing). Many parents don’t even realize they have this much power over their kids. Nevertheless, it is still power, whether you use it wisely or not is up to you.
Why is this a big deal?
That’s easy, women are the face of poverty world-wide. So, what all causes holistic poverty for women? I am not sure on all fronts, however, I believe part of the problem is the language we use to teach girls how to view themselves, versus the language we use when teaching boys how to view themselves. We say girls are pretty, beautiful, cute, sexy therefore, girls are taught to focus on their appearances, meanwhile, boys are taught to focus on being smart and strong. Both girls and boys are taught that this is a man’s world.
Children tend to live up to the expectations their parents and society put before them. If you tell a girl she is pretty or a boy he is smart, much of their personal identity and self-esteem may be formed around those traits for the rest of their lives. Also, they will learn to see each other in these terms as well, girls are supposed to be pretty, boys are supposed to be smart and strong.
Isn’t it time for a change?
We have to change the way we use language to describe what boys and girls are. For things to change, girls need to see and experience themselves as more than pretty, but so do boys. From an early age, boys need to be taught that girls are smart, strong and worthy too. The language we use to explain who and what girls are to both girls and boys has to be equal if girls and women are ever to be equals.
Here are some things smart moms do to positively influence their girls and boys:
Okay, super awesome mom, your turn. If no one has told you lately, let me do the honors, “You are smart, strong and worthy!”
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