When I was little, I wanted to be all the things. I dreamed of rocking a 90’s power suit with twin babies on each hip while teaching elementary school Spanish as I brought down the bad guys in the court room, after filming in an Oscar-worthy drama on the side, natch.
Basically, I wanted to run the world. NBD.
I’m not sure much has changed.
Is that weird? Is that weird that I still kind of feel like I can do big things?
I think it is kind of weird. Because we live in a world that tells little girls that they’re not actually that important. From such an early age, girls are bombarded with messages that they aren’t enough. Expectations. Judgments. Limitations. The glass ceilings don’t start in the cradle, they creep in quietly, slowly. And by the time you’re 26, you realize that maybe the world hasn’t been as quite on your side as you hoped.
I don’t have any daughters, but on behalf of all the little girls who have dared to dream and who haven’t given up on those dreams yet, I have a message for parents of little girls:
Empower them. Teach them they can do big things. That they can be brave. That they can wear dresses and hit home runs. That they can paint their nails and dig those manicured nails into the dirt to dig up worms.
Let them explore. Encourage them to pursue their God-given passions with their God-given talents. Build them up. Let them feel. Rejoice in their victories and give bear hugs when they’re hurting. Model forgiveness. Show her grace. Show her patience. Show her mercy.
Mamas, be an example of the woman you want your daughter to grow up to be. Use your voice. Stand up for what matters. Find joy in your purpose. Lead well. Live well. Show her where beauty really comes from. Be brave.
Dads, raise your daughters to be fierce. That little girl with bouncy curls who has you wrapped around her little finger? Some day she’s going to change the world. Let her. She doesn’t need you to lift her up and do her dirty work. She just needs to know you’re there, behind her, cheering her on.
And parents, fight against those sneaky expectations. I know it’s hard. But tell her that she doesn’t have to be all the things. Raise her to make good decisions, and then respect her to make them.
Above all, love your daughters well. They’re not pretty, breakable dolls. They’re image-bearers of the one true King. And they’re capable of more than you can imagine.
(Recognize that little girl in those photos? Thanks, Mom, for sending them my way!) I wrote this from the writing blog-tember writing prompt, which was “When I grow up I want to be….”. So, here’s my question for you: What did you set your sights on when you were little? How did those dreams or goals change? Did your parents empower you to do big things?