Friday, November 20, 2009

Thoughts on Raising My Daughter

I've worked for the university for 9 years now and I can say I have seen some dramatic changes and troubling changes in the attitudes of students. Having working in retail for many years, it strikes me that people approach so much of their life - work, relationships, education and shopping - as nasty consumers. The mindset of "the customer is always right" has led to people whining and complaining and in general viewing things as "what can I get for myself while spending/giving/thinking as little as possible? But I digress ...

What troubles me even more (and the above is pretty troubling) is the attitude of young women today. Okay, so pull out my granny glasses and button up that over-sized cardigan I sound like every generation of - gulp - older folk but seriously, the women who fought so hard for women's rights would be spinning their corpses out into space, it is that disheartening. That feminism is considered a nasty thing by collage age women of today is cause enough for alarm. That there are still STILL so few positive role models for young women should be unacceptable to us in 2009 goes without saying and sadly, it does go unsaid. I'm not even sure where I am going here ... just writing to say I've been thinking long and hard about what I am bound and determined to teach my daughter.

So here is the off-the-top-of-my-head list which I plan on revising, fine tuning and adding to as I ponder things more. So share, please share, your thoughts here. Because we need to make a conscious effort ladies. We need to band together and teach our daughters that we each count and that being a woman is not about bust size, shoe collections (which hey, are fine and good), boyfriends, skinny jeans but that we're MORE than what we look like or what we own. I want my Cowgirl to know she has choices and she has the final say in deciding who she wants to be, not the advertisers or the media.

In no particular order:

One of the bravest things you can do is to be yourself.

The only power you have to take back is what you have given away.

You are the only one responsible for your happiness. It does not reside in what you have, who you know, where you are – it is a state of mind/attitude that you cultivate and choose to embrace in every moment.

We may or may not be here for a reason; regardless, we are here – so make a difference.

Mistakes are how we learn and grow. The only true mistake is to fail to see mistakes and challenges as opportunities to expand our understanding of our strength and power.

Everyone has a story worth telling. Tell yours and be willing to listen to others.

Be able to speak your story in many different languages (learn at least one other language; communicating is power.)

If you are bored, then you probably are not paying close enough attention.

True friends do not make you feel bad about who you are.

Ask questions. Often. Do not be afraid to make some noise. Likewise, do not be afraid to take up space.

Take time to know your heart. Trust it. Honor it always.

This life is a gift; celebrate and give thanks every chance you get.

The earth is ours to share, not own. Be a good sharer.

What matters is not what others think about you, but what you believe about yourself.

Next up: compiling my list of suitably inspiring and appropriate role models from past and present. As always, I am accepting submissions for your favorites.

And now, I will get off my soapbox and head out to the zoo for some good monkey fun.


  1. So MUCH to think about in this, Lis. HURRAH! I have often thought in recent years with the boom of reality TV especially - HOW on Earth did it get to be a GOOD, AMUSING, REWARDING thing to play it dumb as women like Jessica Simpson, Paris Hilton/Nicole Richie, etc.?????

  2. And an afterthought - don't even get me started on the gals that go on 'The Bachelor'. PUHLEEEZE!

  3. Thank you for sharing! I have a collection of thoughts from books that I have read from female authors. Whether it be a novel, self help, or inspirational book I take tidbits or "notes" from the books I read and have begun to compile them into a journal for my daughter. I always tell my 14 yr old daughter to be true to herself in every decision she makes so that she can look back and say she made the right choices with dignity. Another thing I did for my daughter was have a gathering of all the women in her life thus far to celebrate her around her 13th birthday. It was a celebration of her and our female selves. I loved reading your thoughts on this subject. Bravo!

    Chas @

  4. Wow, what a passionate and inspiring piece of writing Lis; you have such a powerful, clear way of expressing yourself; I love it! I have printed out your list and stuck it on my writing desk wall as there are so many valuable thoughts in there, which I could sometimes do with being reminded of!

  5. You are singing my song. I raise my daughters (and my son) to be feminists. My years of performing in and Directing the Vagina Monologues was just the beginning...

    I am fascinated, too, by the hands in your painting. I have been in quite the "hand" phase since Art Every Day Month started. It is like hands have taken over my life....

    So great to be found by you after all these years. You and your little girl look content and grounded. Yay!