Getting Real with Kira Hazledine
I should have told you in the moment, and I’m sorry I didn’t. I was rushing my child through an airport trying to make it to the next plane, and when my daughter stopped to look at you, you complimented her. But you didn’t tell her how pretty she is, or how cute she is. You didn’t compliment her clothes or her smile.
You told my daughter how strong she is. You saw her bare arms, and you exclaimed “wow, look at those muscles!”. You probably have no idea how much I appreciated the comment, because Hallie hears that from me, too. We talk all the time about how strong she is, and Hallie knows how to flex those muscles. Having a stranger point out something other than her looks was something I will treasure for a long time.
This was so important to me because Hallie does get told her adorable she is, and how pretty she is. She’s a cute little toddler. Aren’t they all? But that’s not what is important. It’s important that Hallie believe she is capable and brave, especially when children at 2 and 3 years old are already internalizing gender stereotypes.
So, thank you. Thank you for inspiring my daughter with your positive message and thank you for encouraging me to continue teaching Hallie that she is more than her looks. Sometimes I question if I’m being ridiculous demanding that my daughter’s identity not be decided for her. I just want her to believe that she is something more, and to have strangers back me up is exactly what I need.
It does take a village to raise children. They are products of their environment, and at a certain age, I won’t be the primary person in Hallie’s life. She will have teachers, friends, and mentors that will influence the person she becomes. I hope that they all tell her how strong she is, too.