a letter to parents of girls: raise them well

a letter to parents of daughters

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.

a letter to parents of daughters

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.

a letter to parents of daughters

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.

a letter to parents of daughters

(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?
Brave Love Blog

8 thoughts on “a letter to parents of girls: raise them well

  1. I don’t think it’s crazy at all to continue to think we can do great and big things. But you’re right, we are raised and conditioned to believe we just aren’t good enough or that we need to strive for perfection. This is a beautiful post to all Moms raising the next generation.

    1. Thank you so much! In ministry, I see a lot of wonderful women who have so much to offer, yet have so many insecurities that paralyze them from maybe being the women they were made to be. So, I just want to encourage parents to raise up a generation of women who don’t have some of those hurts women in other generations may have because of the messages they received as little ones.

  2. Adore this post. Love love love and yet more love.
    You got me at your “Is that weird? Is that weird that I still kind of feel like I can do big things?” line and then I was gripped…
    I have a daughter and, if you read (some – very edited version of) my story on my Blog-tember posts, you’ll see why this post of yours resonates with me…I’m so conscious of my daughter modelling herself after me and my relationships, it’s actually been one of the most hurtful things of all of my experiences, to have her witness everything. [Could ramble on for hours but won’t].
    Thank you for this post, really, it’s really touched (several) nerves (in a very positive way).
    P.S. I believe in people who believe they can still do big things (I’m one of them)…

    1. Oh, Helen. Thank you so much for your comment and for sharing a bit of your story. I popped over to your blog, and wow — incredible. It looks like you are modeling all the right things for your little girl. ❤

  3. Coming to you from The Peony Project! I definitely agree with you on toning down the expectations. I had a military father who said I always had to get the “A” and wanted me to finish a four-year degree in three, even though I was already a very good student with more than a full-time college schedule. While this did set the path to accomplishing many goals, for a long time I struggled with perfectionism and subsequently was very hard on myself and felt like a failure, because I actually couldn’t save the world like I wanted to! 🙂

    1. Hi, Terri! I’m like you — sometimes I need to be reminded, “you don’t have to do it all — the race has already been won.” 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing a bit of your story! xo

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