Bringing Up Girls

Laura With HornsLast night, I went to dinner with my oldest daughter.  We talked about what progress she’s made on her Girl Scout Gold Award project, as well as the lessons she’s learned while working on the project.    We had a great conversation on growing up, learning skills, and all of the things she’s been learning this summer.  It was a wonderful, mature conversation, and a ton of fun.   At the same time, there was a family in the booth next to ours chatting.  We weren’t trying to listen to what they were saying, but could hear snippets of the conversation.  I think that conversation showed a lot about values, and what we’re doing bringing up girls.

The first thing I noticed was an impassioned plea from the girl for new electronics.  When her father said “no”, she sulked, and said a few things I couldn’t overhear.  The father then made a comment about spoiled kids, and moving into a double-wide trailer and getting rid of all of the electronics.  The response I heard was “I want a new set of parents”.

Fast forward a bit of the way through the meal, and they were discussing their roles.  Mom “only” worked full time for 5 years for her career, but is now a stay at home mom.  The daughter at that point perked up and said “I’m the rich, cute girl.”

It’s safe to say that at that point, my jaw was on the floor.  I do not bring up my children to be the prettiest, or the “rich kid” in the class.  To me, the point is raising well adjusted, well rounded children, who have a solid head on their shoulders.  They should not be as concerned about what they look like, or the size of their family’s treasure chest.  Not at the age of 8, nor at any age.  Life is not about being pretty- even if you are.

I wonder what messages people are sending to our girls?  Why do they focus on being pretty, and rich?  Why not focus on being excellent, and working hard?

What lessons do you think we should be teaching to the next generation?


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