I’ve been in the enviable position of spending my life in the company of children from different states, countries and backgrounds. My huge childhood box of rows of Crayola crayons is, in my mind, like a world filled with children who color the world bright.
Of course, in the decades I spent in the classroom, traveling with Girls Speak Out, a global program I co-founded, and supporting girls in extreme, ordinary or seemingly comfortable circumstances, I’ve been sad, angry and frustrated, but not at girls.
One simple truth can elude an adult who wants to inspire, and at least, help girls of any age in any place: talk without jargon, in positive terms, sharing your experiences when relevant, at the same time you’re listening. This is what can help make you a conduit for a girl’s hopes, fears and dreams, and makes a girl an independent woman. As individuals, girls have a separate identity and the innate ability to navigate life–and raise herself with your support and love. She loses these foundational abilities if she absorbs negativity in the sexism attached to a female’s status in every country.(Check out www.girleffect.org for a quick look at some girls’ challenges.)
You can be the buffer between a girls’ true, strong identity and the dark hole of gender-based repression.
Next post: What tools make you a girl’s greatest resource and supporter.
By Andrea Johnston (c)