Is smart the new pretty?

smart is the new pretty

Every day I ask my daughter some version of “what happened at school today”. This week? Sweet creamery butter, it was about math class. My nerdy heart soared. There were kids moving between advanced and regular math classes and it was A. Big. Deal. After watching inane snapchats by the thousands, it’s easy to discount the general level of intelligence and engagement of our children, but then there are rays of hope.

If smart and strong are the new pretty we need to celebrate science fairs more than selfies, math competitions more than insta followers, grit over giving in, problem-solving over popularity, and grades over make-up tutorials. This isn’t a competition pitting kids against each other, it’s more about shutting down the constant overt and covert messages about beauty being the ultimate prize.

I’m teaching a group of college women about group therapy practices. Each week the students lead a different part of the class and I listen as they share about the things they manage: volunteering, working, studying, caring for others, roommate issues, dating, finances, and the list goes on. This is an outstanding group of individuals yet none of them feel good enough. “I look at what my friend’s post and think “What the hell? Really? My life sucks. I feel like a freaking beast in my tower sitting in my sweatpants.”

If smart is the new pretty, let’s celebrate thinking. Let’s compliment the way a girl figured out a difficult problem, not the way her jeans looked. Let’s not give a fig newton about sitting at home wearing sweatpants while you’re studying. Tell all of the young adults in your life the truth, no one has the utterly fabulous life they portray. No one.

The world will continue to tell girls (and boys) a million ways they don’t measure up, don’t add to the chorus. In my experience, people don’t need to know what they aren’t good at, they could tell you 10 things in 10 seconds. Your job, all of our jobs, is to make them believe they are smart. All of them. At something. Dig deep, people. These kids need you to say something beyond their hair, their face, their clothes. Give them something that will last.

Keep sharing moxie.

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The French Press Dilemma…

frenchpress

My daughter thinks she’s had a rough week. Her french press jammed and her Insta-Hot machine broke. Are you freaking kidding me? This takes #firstworldproblems to a whole new level. I’ve worked hard to make sure that my kids have been afforded different opportunities than I did, but I think I’ve gotten it wrong. Really wrong.

I’m taking my daughter to Europe next June, but now I really feel that what she needs is a mission trip. My intentions in supporting, protecting, and loving her to bits has been well intentioned, but maybe I’ve been missing the mark. Maybe we’re all doing a little too much here with this generation. If her world is rocked by her french press jamming…with her private tea collection…in her walk-in closet, um… good grief.

Let me be clear, this isn’t her fault. She hasn’t been exposed to the harsh realities of life, and that’s on me. It’s Memorial Day this weekend and when I think about past generations stepping up to serve, I am humbled. These brave men and women went into battle, whether they always agreed with the fight or not, to serve and to protect. They were moved by something greater than themselves.

As parents and grandparents, we try to do better, for our children and grandchildren to have more, better, and in greater abundance than we did. In all things though, there must be a balance. I think we’ve reached the tipping point. I’m not going to bash teenagers today, because I know some awesome kids with untapped potential. It’s easy to pick on “kids today”. I think we’ve always done that, which is a cop out. Today, I’m going to say “parents today”. I include myself in this merry gang of enablers. Let’s step up.

I don’t want my legacy to be a kid that crumbles over a french press, but one that leans in and serves. I don’t want to ask less or her, to make her comfortable, because it’s just easier for me to do things. I want her to know how to make a meal, take care of herself, look people in the eye, and help others. I want my daughter to be a person I want to spend time with, and that others do, too. This is on me. At a certain point it will be on her, but today, it’s me. And you.

The world is already full of wankers; let’s try to do better. Let’s say “no” more. Sacrifice is something that was once well known, it’s unheard of today. Delayed gratification was once a given, but it’s something that we must intentionally cultivate now. French press boot camp starts today. Hold on to your i-phones, this mom just got a backbone.

Keep sharing moxie.

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Dear Tween, It gets better…

itgetsbetter

Dear Tween,

It gets better. I promise.

Right now your teeth are too big, your mom won’t get you contacts, and your best friends are suddenly too cool for you.

It gets better. I’m old(er), and have a number of professional initials behind my name, so I speak with some authority. Trust me on this.

One day, and it will happen so quickly and slowly all at once, you will be happy and your life will feel like your own.

And then you will fall in love. And it will get better. And worse. Your friends will change. They will be more fun, and yet make you sad because they don’t know your history.

Soon enough you will grow into your teeth and your gangly legs. You will look around the room and know you are at the top of your game. Good God, relish these moments. They are fleeting, but it gets even better.

One day you will travel and your world will get bigger. You may get married. Or not. You might have children. Or not. Through it all, you will find your way.

Know this, it gets better and better. Heaven knows you shouldn’t have to have to carry off the triple crown of an ugly hair cut, huge glasses, and a lace trimmed blouse ever again. Many years from now, dear tween, you will find a picture of yourself so hideous, that you will feel compelled to laugh. And post it. And tell your younger self, and every tween you know, that…

It gets better.

Keep sharing moxie–

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