Sunday, June 3, 2012

On Raising Daughters...Where Do Grandparents Fit In?

I just finished reading and article my son wrote for the organization he works for in China...he is a school administrator.  The words revolved around raising girls and what a daunting task that is. Even in this day and age it is assumed that boys will be fine but girls...well they will have to work harder and longer to arrive at the same place.

The article began with this paragraph:
From the moment our children are born till the day they leave the house and strike out on their own, it is amazing to observe how they grow, learn, and develop into adults. As a father of two daughters this process scares me to death, but I do want to have strong, independent, and creative daughters! A Father's Role in Raising Amazing Daughter
I loved that turn of phrase strong, independent and creative daughters! Isn't that what we all wish for our children both boys and girls?  But that is not the point...the point is how we go about doing that.  How do parents raise daughter and sons that believe in themselves and believe that nothing is impossible.  Can we help them believe that somethings are harder than other but nothing is impossible?  That the impossible just takes a little longer? 

This article cites Michael Mitchell and a piece he wrote called  “50 Rules for Dads of Daughters”. We as grandparents and parents can learn so much from both of these men.  I know we are suppose to be leaning toward a genderless society but sometimes it is worth our time to think about our children as individuals and as boys or girls.  That is what I am asking you to do today.  It does take a village to raise our children and the whole family can be involved and influential.

Andrew and Amelia, age 4, getting ready
to snorkel in the Viet Nam...a little afraid but prepared!
That is where we as grandparents come into the picture.  My son mentioned me telling stories about my mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, and great-grandmother. Each of these women were strong but in different ways.  The way they were all the same though was that they all did the "impossible" and did it with grace and style.  I know that their influence in my life was profound and I never stopped talking about them.  They were held up as an example for my children and now, they are still doing their magic for my grandchildren.

In parallel to these stories about the women were stories about the men, equally as amazing and heroic.  These people too inspired through their honesty, courage and tenacity.  

Think if I had never told my children the stories of their heritage...wouldn't that have been a shame. In the article he talks about how he "was brought up to both admire and respect the powerful role that women have had in my life and in the history of my family. It is that powerful and important presence that I wish to build up in my own daughters."  

So, grandparents or aunts/uncles, tell your family stories.  Tell about how individuals fixed what could not be fixed or had the courage to admit failure when the impossible turned out to be just that. Find ways to convey to your family how they can  make their lives work in the face of loss or financial difficulty.  Do it with stories that set an example.  I don't think that my family was extraordinary in anyway.  Everyone has stories to share and marvel at.

Strong parents do raise strong children.  In the case of my granddaughters, I think that is very cool that they have grandmothers and aunts on both sides of their family to emulate.  At the days end it will make them better people.

Be sure to read the article written by Andrew Torris and Michael Mitchell for some wonderful guidance on the role of a father in a daughter's life.  We can all learn a lot from them.

Be well.


Related website:  Retire in Style Daily News
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