Raising Resilient Daughters
Posted on March 29 2020
My middle daughter was 7 the summer Simone Biles landed her vaults, nailed her beam routine, and stuck every shocking tumbling pass during the 2016 Summer Olympics. Like most little girls, (and who am I kidding, woman), in America, there was nothing more magical than watching Simone claim the gold medal for Team USA time and time again.
One evening those big 7-year-old doe eyes looked at me and said, “I wanna be a gymnast.”
I gave her that, sure-baby-girl-we’ll-look-into-it-someday smile in return.
She didn’t let it drop and during the following summer I agreed to sign her up for a two day gymnastics camp. We drove 45 miles. The gym had no air conditioning, and it was a blazing hot day. I was SURE this would cure her little gymnast itch.
A few hours later I picked up a very flushed, sweaty little girl with glowing eyes. “I LOVED IT MOM.” I knew in that moment that there was no going back!
Naturally I wanted to be her biggest cheerleader. I’ve now spent the last few years watching her stretch, flip, fall and get.back.up. over and over and over again.
It’s watching her do what she loves that has clarified my dream of helping raise her, (and her 2 sisters) to be resilient. Strong, brave, kind. Kind to their world, kind to themselves.
Here are the things I hope more than
anything to instill in their hearts.
They are enough.
Their feelings are enough, their ideas are enough, their body is enough. When they learn to accept that from me, their greatest role model, I believe they will then begin to extend that same “enough-ness” to themselves and others. What a rare gift.
Rest and play are just as valuable as hustle and hard work.
I’m working at finding my own balance. If my girls don’t see me slow down. Rest, have coffee with friends, I run the risk of them feeling those things aren’t important. Anxious striving, pushing and climbing is not the way to live a life of lasting satisfaction.
They are brilliant and can find solutions to their problems.
I’m slowing down and not just giving them answers. Instead of being the hero and solving their problems, I’m taking the little bit of extra time to help them think through their problems and come up with their own solutions.
They are surrounded by wonder and beauty.
Some days it’s hard to find, but it’s always there. When they spot it I’m encouraging them to celebrate it, and show gratitude.
Not everything works out, and that’s okay.
There will be D’s in math. They will wipe out on their bicycle, they will speak unkindly to their friends, they will mess up. Mistakes mean we are living life. It’s impossible to do big things, and not trip and fall along the way. How we respond to the mistake, how we clean up the messes, how we pick ourselves back up, that’s what counts.
I can’t protect them from the hard ick of life.
This is such a hard reality as a mom to accept. I can do something even better though, I can show them healthy, beautiful ways to face the hard, and thrive in spite of the hard. I can assure them that I’ll walk alongside them during the hard.
It’s not the flawless beam routine I celebrate. I’ve learned it’s 100 times more important to celebrate her showing up and bravely mounting that beam, and when she wobbles off, holding her chin up high and courageously climbing back on.
Are you raising a daughter?
I'd love to mail her one of my daughter's favorite necklaces!
Just pay shipping and handling and I'll get it sent her way!
Cheering you on!