Monday, April 5, 2010

Role Models

When my daughter was 7 or 8 she told me that she wanted to be a journalist "like Oprah or Connie Chung."  At the time I remember thinking how remarkable it was that this blond, blue eyed child had Chinese-American and African-American role models.  Her generation was fortunate to have strong female role models from many different ethnic and racial groups.  Although my daughter didn't grow up to be a journalist, she's a chemist,  those role models helped her become the accomplished woman that she is today.  She grew up knowing it was okay to be smart and that girls could be good at math and science.  Now she has two daughters of her own. 

My granddaughters  at 2 and 4 have yet to express any preferences for their future careers.  However, Hunter, the 2 year old, is convinced that she is a princess.  She insists on wearing "princess dresses" everyday.  Knowing how important it is that girls have self-esteem and are supported for their talents as well as their appearance, we are always quick to provide positive reinforcement to Hunter when she says "I bootiful." 

We respond "Yes, you are beautiful and smart too!" 

To which she replies "No, I bootiful.  I not 'telligent, I bootiful."

"Yes, Hunter.  You are both intelligent and beautiful." 

Where's an intellectual princess role model when you need one?

I am grateful for strong women who have led the struggle for equity.  My granddaughters have bright futures because of the work of many courageous women.

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