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Having celebrated the international day of the girl, we parents need to be admonished and encouraged as we play a critical role in shaping the future of the girl child.
As it is well known, every 11th October is a day we celebrate the international day of the girl worldwide, and yesterday was no exception. The social media was buzzing with diverse outlooks on what it means to be a girl child, and most of us took to our pages to celebrate the girl child.
Some women highlighted the many negative names people call them in their different stages of life and how this has to stop, while others reflected on some incredible feats they have achieved despite all odds as a girl child. And yes, these are all valid ways to express our rights as women.
Why do we celebrate the international day of the girl?
According to the United Nations women headquarters, Since the year 2012, “The international day of the girl is being celebrated to promote the human rights of girls, highlight gender inequalities that remain between girls and boys, and increase awareness of issues.” Issues such as education, forced marriage, nutrition, inclusion, faced by girls around the world. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Digital generation. Our generation.” Which calls for “access to the internet and digital devices for girls and targetted investments to facilitate opportunities for girls to safely and meaningfully access, use, lead and design technology.”
These conversations have been ongoing for some years now and what we truly crave is change. But what if we get all the change we so much desire to see for ourselves and our girls? What are you doing to position your girl as a leader in society? Are you leaving everything to the school? The church? The television? Books? Or their friends? As much as we are working so hard to give our girls the basic needs of life, we also need to tend to their psychological needs.
How can you help groom your girls for the future?
I am not a psychologist, but from experience, tending to your girl’s psychological and emotional needs helps their overall mental health and positions them for better decision making, which allows them to grow to be the best they can be. There are some simple ways we can do this:
AFFIRMATIONS -I cannot emphasize enough how powerful the words you choose to speak to your daughter’s life are essential. You are most often than not, their number one role model. They honor and worship you like some goddess so much; they believe anything you tell them, hook, line and sinker. Leave all the curse words and critical words out of your word bank and begin to decree greatness into their everyday existence. Be generous with your self-motivating and powerful words. Before you know it, they begin to tell it to themselves, and no other person can say to them otherwise. Get a free download of some of the words we use here.
QUALITY EDUCATION -You must ensure your daughter attends a good school and follow up on what she is learning to foster understanding and retention. It is not enough to send her to school and not follow up on what she is learning. Ask questions about their topic of discuss to asertain their depth of knowlege. So you can know how to assist them.
LISTEN – One of the most significant ways we can help our girls is to be present in their life. I know we are present physically but are you truly present in there now? When they try to speak to us, some of us are just sitting there and nodding away, sometimes chipping in affirmations like yes, ok. But our minds are like a million kilometers away on the million and one other things we need to do. Some of us are on the phones when speaking to us, carrying on our business while claiming we are listening. Other times it may be house chores or cooking that takes precedence on our ability to listen. Now, take a deep breath! While these are all essential things to do, you need to stay clear of all the endless activities when we need to be genuinely listening to our girls. The truth is they know when we are not listening, and it hurts them. We also miss out on important information when we are not listening. Just because we can be better and be more intentional on this parenting journey, let’s reset and cave out time off of our busy schedules and activities to connect with our girls on a deeper level and watch them bloom. Take them out on a walk and ask them questions like, How do you feel about yourself? How can I be a better mom/dad to you? Has anything been bothering you that I need to know? And any other questions that arise from your conversations. Would you please LISTEN without interruptions and RESPOND but don’t REACT?
PLAY – No matter how young or old your girl is, please create time for play. Don’t be too serious all the time. Let the little girl inside of you come out to play with them often. These are the fun memories that stick with them for a very long time. For instance, I have this memory of my siblings, neighbors, and me playing in the rain. This memory is four decades old can imagine, Lol. I can even remember the setting and how happy that made me. These girls grow so fast that spontaneous plays like these make them extremely happy and show them that we care about their emotions, not just good grades. Find joy in the little things like pillow fights, jumping and dancing to your favorite music as a family, walking barefooted in the sand.
LOVE – They know and understand you love them, but please say these magic words to them over and over again. Fill their tank to overflowing, that they decide if they have room for more from outsiders. Don’t wait for them to say they love you, and then you respond to them. Be the initiator of saying I LOVE YOU. Girls have a way of glowing and blooming more when you say those three beautiful words to them. Fill up their love tank so much they have nothing else to give to the world except LOVE. You may not have grown up hearing those pleasant words. It is time for you to unlearn old ways and end embrace new and more effective ways.
SKILLSET -Girls are super talented and can easily show signs and interest in different skills as they grow. Identify these skills and find ways to help them develop their God-given abilities one after the other. By the time they graduate from college, they will be well equipped and vast in knowledge to have multiple streams of income. Does your daughter flip around the house? Instead of telling her not to act like a boy, enroll her in a gymnastic class. Does she sing around the house, and you are wondering when Tasha Cobbs walked in? Hire a vocal coach to start training her. Just be on the lookout for that God-given skillset and encourage them to be better.
RESPONSIBILITY – Groom your girls to be able to act independently and in direct proportion to their age. Responsible behavior consists of accountability, compassion, honesty, courage, and fairness. And since you are the role model, they will learn and repeat most of the behavior you exhibit. Are you accountable, compassionate, honest, courageous, fair to them, others, and yourself? I know we are not perfect but are you consciously working on yourself and progressing towards perfection knowing we are models for our girls?
One good look at our society shows we still have a lot of work to do. The change you so much crave starts with you. Are you ready to do your part? It is never too late or too early.
You’ve got this!