I was recently watching a show consisting of four young kids competing, and two of them were girls. One said she was competing to show all the other girls that girls can do anything they want, that girls are equal to boys and they can succeed at anything. However, during the competition, when it came to judging time and the second girl was being judged, this young girl looked very worried and concerned. I get it, its a competition and you want to win, but my thoughts were: if you are competing as a way to show girls we can do anything, shouldn't you be cheering on your fellow girl competitor?
It made me think a little deeper about this subject. (Who says you can't learn something from watching TV? Wink) When do we begin to doubt ourselves, to judge each other and secretly to compare ourselves? It made me think of myself as a young girl and I don't recall ever feeling I had to prove myself to anyone just because I was a girl. I grew up with an older brother who taught me how to play with cars and marbles and would have me be the goalie during his soccer games (the main reason was because I was too slow to play soccer and I hated getting dirty, so he knew I would not be a good player, haha) so instead he had me stand there hoping the ball never made it close enough to me so I wouldn't have to touch it! My point is that growing up there was no need to prove anything or make it a point or distinction of being girls and boys, it was just who you were and you enjoyed playing to the best of each ones ability. Which is what childhood should be, in my opinion.
So what can we do today for those young girls and even boys that feel they have to prove who they are? Those who feel they have to prove to others their age, or for those who are even younger that they can achieve things despite their gender? I feel there are a few things we can all do for them:
1. Dont Compare!
Each one of us are individuals with our own abilities and skills, not one of us are the same. Acknowledge those differences and celebrate them. Teach young ones to appreciate the differences between them and their siblings and friends. Help them see how those differences are what makes us who we are and what can make for wonderful friendships and partnerships as we get older.
2. Teach By Example
How do I respond to the accomplishments of others? How do I compare myself to others? Do I talk negatively about other girls/guys? Do I criticize others for the way they do things or the way they act? Believe it or not, younger ones see and take all that information in and create in a way a guideline for what they should do when faced with the same situation. Show them to be appreciative and understanding of others. To celebrate others accomplishments and support them in their failures.
3. Be Upbuilding
So, you have a little sibling, or your friends have a boy or girl that you find kind of silly or weird in their own way. Don't make fun of the them for that, but take the time to really get to know them and understand why they do things a certain way and how their little brain process things. You might be surprised how you can learn new things from them. Appreciate their uniqueness, so they can learn to appreciate their own as they keep growing.
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