Sing daughter sing
Make a song
Beat out your own rhythms
The rhythms of your life
But make the song soulful
And make life
~ Micere Mugo
(From: “I’m on my way running”, editors: Lynn Reese, Sean Wilkinson, Phyllis Koppelman. Avon books, 1975)
Isn’t this the wish of every mother – for her daughter to find her own song, beat her own rhythms, make a soulful song of her life, and sing it?
Most would answer with a resounding Yes! But applying this may be easier said than done…
To begin with, there is nothing to apply here!
For our daughters to find their own rhythms we need to get out of the way, rather than teach, dispense, administer, or reinforce…
The only thing required of us is to model singing our own song, beating our own rhythms, making a soulful song of our life, and singing our hearts out!
Our daughters (and our sons for that matter) learn first by imitation. The early childhood mode of operation is copying… We never “teach” our child how to walk, nor do we explain the concept of “one foot in front of the other”. Instead we simply walk… letting our children try, time and again, to do that which they see us do. Through trial and error, falling and getting up, they ultimately learn how to walk by themselves.
Similarly they watch us eat, get dressed, play ball… We model everything we want them to do. Why is it we stop modeling (and start talking) when it comes to Being?
As parents we have a huge investment in how our children turn out to be.
We don’t give much thought to how they walk, as long as they walk, yet we give a lot of thought to who we wish them to become.
Do you wish your daughter to become like you?
Take a moment to ponder this question…
It is likely that you’d answer Yes to some aspects, and No to others. Perhaps you would like her to be as dedicated as you are to your vocation, but not as procrastinating…. Maybe you wish her to be as loyal as you are, but not dislike her body as much… whatever it is, take a brave look at the aspects you wish her to be inspired by, and those you wish she wouldn’t even see… Take a break from reading this article, and write each of these lists in a separate column on a piece of paper.
Now, look at your two lists, and consider this: which behaviors do I model out of each list?
You may find that the things you like about yourself, and wish your girl to be inspired by, are the things you never “preach” nor spend any time “teaching,” but rather lead by example, without giving it much thought.
On the other hand, it is likely that you spend time thinking about (and talking to your girl at length about) the aspects you wish her to be different from how you currently are…
You already know how to model behaviors about which you have no “chip on your shoulder.” It’s time to implement this across the board!
Look at the list of things you dislike about yourself (or wish your girl would not follow) and make a plan (starting with the 1st item on the list) of transforming your Self…
This has nothing to do with your daughter!
It has everything to do with your own growth, and your own metamorphoses:
from low to high self esteem, from disliking your body to loving it unconditionally, from hating your period to finding solace and insights during “that time of the month”, or from whatever condition you are dissatisfied with, to one you embrace and grow from.
For now, make a commitment to stop talking with your daughter about any of these ideals you haven’t yet achieved in yourself. Instead, cultivate your own songs, and start singing them… discover the rhythms that make you dance, and start dancing.
Seeing you do this, over time, is the best inspiration a girl can have to finding her own song!
DeAnna L’am, (B.A.) speaker, coach, and trainer, is author of ‘Becoming Peers – Mentoring Girls Into Womanhood’ and ‘A Diva’s guide to Getting Your Period’. She is founder of Red Moon School of Empowerment for Women & Girls™. Her pioneering work has been transforming women’s & girls’ lives around the world, for over 20 years.
DeAnna helps women & girls love themselves unconditionally! She specializes in helping women make peace with their cycle; Instructs Moms in the art of welcoming girls to empowered womanhood, supports parents in guiding their boys and girls through important rites of passage, trains women to hold RED TENTS in their communities. Visit her at: www.deannalam.com.
(NB These are affiliate links.)