Sunday was my grown daughter’s birthday and we were reminiscing about how a child gets welcomed into the world.
She was celebrated…. with just a small twist of lemon.
You see her dad wanted a son and to please him so did I. So when a daintier little girl came into the world we both had to make some adjustments. She was born healthy, with the right number of fingers and toes and we adapted.
I asked Mikayla if she ever remembered any “just a girl” discrimination by me or her dad when she was little. She got quiet and then talked about the hockey stick she was given early on, and the kids size golf club for a birthday. While she was very well coordinated her passion had to do with the visual arts. Yet, she did want to please (every kid wants to do that) and so she learned to play acceptable hockey yet, golf was just not her game.
My daughter grew up to be a documentary film maker (a la the visual arts) and a raw food chef (a “girly” thing?). And as we plowed through the long ago years to see what the messages were and are about being a female in our culture, she hesitated.
“You know mom, the memories we build inside us often need to be transformed. I did think that being a female athlete would be the way to win more respect from dad and maybe even from you. I never thought consciously you were cheering for a son, yet there was just a twinge of having to prove my worth as a girl. And yet, I had to find my own interests and let them land wherever they did. So, while you had to adjust, so did I and so do we all.”
If you have a daughter, take the time and look at the early gender messages that you may have given. The way to grow a GUTSY Gal is to talk about all the issues that have impacted you and that may impact your off-spring. Just talking will make a difference. In my book, “GUTSY: How Women Leaders Make Change”, there are lots of resources to open new, exciting dialogues and explore gender issues.
And hey….. the same applies for boy babies and their parents.