How to explain to kids you can’t be what you can’t see

From Motherwell authored by Annie D. Stutley:

“Walk into my daughter’s room and there’s an obvious message. Above her bed hangs a sign that reads, “Though she be but little, she is fierce.” Another reads, “She believed she could, so she did.” Next to her bed is a stack of books like “Bedtime Stories for Rebel Girls,” “Shaking Things Up,” and “She Persisted.”

My sons’ room has a different aesthetic. On the walls hang pictures of their adventures together: sweaty afternoons, hanging from trees, slurping snoballs, or ready for combat in Spiderman and Superman masks. The books stacked next to their beds are “Harry Potter,” “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” and “The Lord of the Rings.” They are the tales of boys, but they don’t deliver the same message my daughter is getting next door.

It’s not that my boys don’t need motivation. It’s that for their gender, empowerment is always readily available and doesn’t require special packaging. Girl power in my day was little more than Nancy Drew.

One night Fiona was reading aloud a book about Sally Ride, the first woman in space. When she got to the end, she read to herself silently before continuing.

“Mom, listen to this,” she looked up. ‘Young girls need to see role models in whatever careers they may choose, just so they can picture themselves doing these jobs someday. You can’t be what you can’t see.’”

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