Girls Showing Us the Way

Written on December 27, 2011 at 12:26 pm , by

Let’s look to girls to inspire all of us as we end this year and get ready for the new one! Check out four year-old Riley protesting to her dad in a toy store about the usual assortment of pink non-superhero toys for girls. Riley teaches all of us to never lose our passion for speaking out when things aren’t right. Even though I don’t have daughters, you can bet I’m showing this to my 8 and 11 year-old sons to show them how much I respect girls for speaking out against sexism.

The second video is a co-presentation at the TedXWomen conference by my colleague, Rachel Simmons, author of Odd Girl Out and founder of the Girls’ Leadership Institute, and 8th grader Claire Sannini.

Again listening to girls is inspiring. Claire speaks so powerfully about being a girl in this culture and reminds us of what we all deserve. Claire describes the painful and damaging cycle of trying to please a peer group in spite of their constant rejection. When she realizes she’s sacrificing her self-esteem, she leaves those relationships and develops friendships that are more authentic and healthy for her.

For all of us, Claire’s story is an opportunity to ask ourselves about the quality of our own relationships with the people that are most important to us. Are they based on mutual respect and dignity? And like Claire, if we find ourselves in unhealthy patterns, what can we do to develop better relationships that bring us up instead of tear us down?

Riley and Claire should be our role models. I know they’re now some of mine. Happy new year!