What I want my daughter to know

Sweets and I this past summer.

It baffles my mind that I have an 8.5 year old.  Like every parent, I often find myself lingering on to those memories of her when she was just barely an hour old.  My sweet and precious little baby that I’d promised to love, to protect and to never allow her to grow up any quicker than she had to.  That little baby is now at the cusp of tweenhood.  You know–that age where you can still lie about their age to sneak the into stuff for free or for a “reduced” fee.  That age that’s fraught with drama and all things Justin Beiber. That age that has me overwhelmed with trepidation and frustration, because she’s growing up.

This milestone is kind of special to me, because at this very age, my life really changed. I decided I wasn’t going to be a kid anymore and started taking on what I thought was a grown-up philosophy.  I kicked my Punky Brewster-esque naivete to the curb and assumed the role of mother hen.  In what seemed like an overnight transformation, I went from being my mother’s baby girl and my brother’s big sister to starting to “act grown”. I started treating my 2-year-old brother like he was my child and I assumed many responsibilities at home. I’ve always been a a take control-type kid, partially because my mother was a single mum during the first twelve years of my life and I wanted to help her in anyway I could. So babysitting started early and so did learning the basics of cooking and housekeeping. Maybe a little too much pressure for a young girl, but I’m happy I had to experience it. To this day I’m always thinking of ways I can help or nurture people in need.

The summer before my 9th birthday, my mother uprooted my brother and I from our life and family on the east coast to embark on a new life in the Midwest. And as I prepared to turn 9, I also had to acclimate to a new life, in a new state, with new people. As I think about my childhood, I often think about advice I would tell my 9-year-old self that what have prepared me for my teen years.

But now, I have a tweenager who needs my guidance and wisdom to help her navigate life. My sweet and sassy daughter has lived a pretty sheltered life. She’s lived in the same state for all her life with all of her closest relatives, friends and school within a 2.5 mile radius of each other. But as she gets older and starts venturing out on her own, I’ve felt overwhelmingly compelled to teach her a few things about “life”. I use to fret about things like sleepovers and bullies when it came to her. And while I still do, I feel more motivated to help prepare my daughter for the experiences of being a smart and vibrant brown girl in an unforgiving world.

So I compiled a list:  5 Things I Want My Daughter To Know.  As Sweets careens into tweenhood, and when the drama becomes too overwhelming for her,  I hope the these words will remind her of just how important and powerful she is.

1) Be proud to be who you are “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” ~Dr. Seuss.

There may be times in life that you will feel unsure of yourself. This is okay, it’s a normal part of life. But no matter how you may feel, stay true to who you are at your core. Remember the love, compassion, talent and drive that will always be the fuel that keeps you going. Be proud of everything that makes you phenomenal–your girl power, your kinky hair, your witty comebacks, your rhythm-less dance moves and those freckles on your right hand. Your spirit is so amazing, we knew from the very beginning how amazing you would be. But the only way you can tap into that amazing power, is by being true to yourself.

2) Help the less fortunate–When you see someone who needs help, utilize all your resources to them that person.  And don’t do it for the glory.  Do it because it’s the right thing to do. You have the power to make a difference. Champion a good cause and fight for those who can’t fight for themselves. Be committed to leaving a positive imprint on the world.

3) Follow your gut–There’s a little voice inside of you that will tell when something isn’t quite right. Remember that time when you were hesitant to do that thing and you chose not to do it? That uneasy feeling is called your instinct. Your instinct is like your internal compass, it will never steer you in the wrong direction. Listen closely to what your instincts are trying to tell you.

4) Use your power wisely–I know I’m always telling you how to be a positive role model for your little sisters because they’re always watching you to see what’s acceptable. But also, as you get older you will have other “little sisters” who will look up to you–use your power to inspire them to be positive and productive world changers.

5) Just do it–If there’s a goal you want accomplish, know that the only way to achieve it, is to just do it. Go at it with full force! Live out your dreams! Believe in yourself! Put one foot in front of the other! Go get it! Just ask Gabrielle Douglas how to get it done.

 

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Categories: Feature, Natural Hair, Parenting

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