In third grade, I tried out for a community play. I earned the prestigious role of Mouse #3 in Cinderella, and for months, I diligently practiced my one line.
“Make way for Cinderella!”
Family and friends were invited to the play to witness my big debut, but I didn’t get a chance to speak my line. Instead, greedy Mouse #2 spoke my line and her’s and therefore, I had nothing to say.
My mother bought me a new white shirt for the big performance! I was wearing make-up! I was wearing mouse ears! My people showed up to hear me say nothing. I was embarrassed and no amount of Sizzler’s salad bar (go ahead, pretend you didn’t like Sizzler’s salad bar) could make me feel better.
I don’t think I’ve thought about that story throughout my entire adult life, but when my youngest daughter recently forgot a line at her school’s play, no amount of consoling made a difference, and suddenly, I remembered my time as Mouse #3.
Kids love hearing stories of our childhood failures. Maybe it’s because our stories remind them that despite our polished and put together lives, adults still stumble through the days.
My daughter’s play and my Mouse #3 experience prompted me to think about the things my daughters need to hear me say. Some of these things flow easily and often, but others I need to remind myself about. Who knows, maybe you need a little reminding too.
11 Things Your Daughter Needs to Hear You Say
1. Tell her about the times you felt less than (aka your Mouse #3 moments). Tell her about the time you weren’t chosen or chosen last, about the friendship that went bad, and when you didn’t make the cut.
2. Point out what you see God growing in her. That one thing, the thing she’s been working on and trying to grow. Pay attention. Notice that, and while you are at it, notice what He is growing in you, too.
3. Share stories about brave women from the Bible. Inform her that Deborah was a judge who exercised political, religious, and even military authority over the people of Israel (Judges 2:16). Tell her about Tabitha who was a seamstress and used her sewing skills to make clothes for widows (Acts 9:36). Explain how Esther broke rules and risked her life to save her people (Esther 5:1).
4. Tell her growing up is hard, she isn’t alone, and everyone feels scared. This statement is an automatic tear inducer at the Sullivan house. Every time. Why? Because it’s true. It’s powerful to hear this when we are five. It’s also powerful to hear this when we are thirty-five.
5. Make sure your girl knows she is brave for trying. Maybe she is trying out for a team or trying out for the talent show. Maybe she’s trying a new group of friends or maybe she’s trying for that seemingly out of reach 93% in chemistry. All require work. All involve risk.
6. Ask her how you can pray for her. I ask this question every morning to the carload of kiddos I tote to school, and most days, I don’t get much response (although my favorite neighbor boy just asked me to pray that his voice gets deeper fast!), but I keep asking. Remain curious. Keep pushing, even when they pretend they don’t care.
7. Tell her to go. When I am struggling, I need to get out of my environment to get out of myself. Going for a walk, going for a drive, going for donuts can lead to the exact reset I need for the day. Encourage your girl in developing strategies to help her reset.
8. Make sure she knows God made her exactly the way He wants her. Quiet is good. Talkative is good. Tall is good. Short is good. Cautious is good. Bold is good. Comparison creeps in early. Help her fight it. Remind her who she is in Him and remind her often.
9. Encourage her to pay attention to things that make her heart race and the ideas that won’t go away. As your girl grows physically, God is also growing her in the way He will use her later in life. Her interests and passions play a vital part in this.
10. Admit your mistakes and admit them often. The easiest way to help your girl fight the beast of perfectionism is to show her how you make mistakes, admit your mistakes, and move on from your mistakes.
11. Tell her she doesn’t have to take a stand on the never-ending list of current events/issues/must-have-your-attention problems in the world. Instead, her job is to love God fiercly and love others always . That’s it.
Your turn. What did I miss? What can I add to this list? What kind of wisdom do you remember receiving as a child? What wise words are you sharing with your people?aveSave