I made the decision to join the Dove Self-Esteem movement for my daughters…and for me.
Honestly, there are times when I could use a little reminder to believe in myself. I am forty and can write a syndicated column, talk on the radio and share my life on a reality show – but the truth is that I can get a hundred positive and kind emails, but it’s the one mean one in the batch that I’m most likely to remember. My head gets that I shouldn’t think about what someone who doesn’t even know me would say, but my heart has a harder time letting go.
I want my daughters to always see the beauty and gifts that they have within themselves, regardless of what others might say. Part of my passion for taking part in this was for me as well as for them.
When I told the girls that we would be taking part in the movement, they were so excited. And even though we’re still a few weeks from the actual day, I’m already seeing things happening between us.
I was on Dove’s website looking through the activity guides to get some ideas for my “special hour” with each of my girls, when my ten year old walked up. She sat beside me and started looking at it with me.
Together we discussed some of the ideas and came up with a plan. One by one (and totally unplanned) I ended up spending a little bit of time with each of the girls that very night. And it went so far beyond just making a plan for what we were going to do together during our special time.
I learned that my ten-year-old, Moira, was asked out by a boy who has a crush on her. I had no idea that boys had moved past the “gross” stage in her life. I also learned that she is being called “ginger” on the bus because of her red hair. They have assigned seats and she and her brother Daly don’t sit together. Then Daly, who is a year older, came in and the three of us talked about it. I had no idea that he was feeling so helpless about the situation – he was frustrated that he couldn’t do anything.
This morning I called the school and had their seating changed so they can sit by each other. I might have completely missed this opportunity to support them if we had not committed to join the Dove Self-Esteem movement. And guess what? They were both all smiles this afternoon when they hopped off the bus. It was so neat to be able to remind them that no matter how busy life may be, I will do anything to protect them.
A little later that night my funny Ellie, who is eight years old, plopped in the chair after Moira and Daly got up. She filled me in on how she reached her class reading goal and she was so thrilled. I had told her earlier how proud I was of her for doing that, but it was so special to stop for a minute and listen to her pride in herself for reaching that goal. We talked for a long time about goals and how great it is when you reach them even when you are a grown up. I shared with her some of my goals and she was beaming to learn that even grownups have aspirations!
After looking over some of the activities, my two teenage daughters ended up doing a little research on their own. They sat me down to tell me about a project they thought up to do with their friends. They started by saying, “Mom, keep an open mind”, which made me a little nervous.
Their idea was to have their friends come over and write a quote on their bedroom wall that expresses who they are. My first thought, “No way – we spent so much time painting your room.” But the more they talked about it, the more I thought that with a few guidelines, it could be neat. I also reminded myself that I could always paint over it.
The “yes” barely got past my lips before they were on the phone with their friends. The next afternoon after their soccer practice, I found the entire high school girls’ soccer team at my house writing quotes on the wall, either ones they had made up or ones that they liked.
I actually cried as I looked around the room and read what these girls wrote. I told my daughters it was the most beautiful gift they could have ever given me. As soon as my camera charges I will be posting pictures!
I know all of theses girls, but now I feel like I have been given a special gift of seeing a little more of who they are as people. And let me tell you, the world is very blessed to have these girls in it. One of their moms called me later that night and said her daughter could not stop talking about it and that their family had decided to do it on one of the walls in their rec room. My sixteen year old called me today from school and asked if I could get pizzas and sodas for Friday night so some of her other friends could come over and sign the wall. I can’t stop smiling. My girls and their friends are sharing so much and it is spreading!
We haven’t even done our “special activity” together but just the thought of it has opened up the lines of communication. We are already making memories and I am seeing pieces of my daughters that I have missed in the rush of our day to day lives. I was thinking about it when I went to bed last night: I pledged to do this to bring my daughters and me closer, but looking at the wall of quotes, I see the names of over 25 girls whose lives have been touched. I can’t wait to post the pictures of the “wall” and the other things we are doing.
Don’t miss out on this amazing experience! Take part in the Dove Self-Esteem Weekend (October 21st – 23rd) and pledge to spend an hour of your life making difference in the life of a young girl. I promise it will be life changing in more ways than you expect!
Want to take part in the Dove Self-Esteem Weekend? One hour of your life can make a huge difference in a young girl’s life! Visit the pledge map and show your support. And if you need ideas for self-esteem building activities, check out Dove’s Self-Esteem Toolkit.