Over the weekend, my youngest daughter asked to call my Mom several times. She likes to tell her everything about everything, but she especially likes it that my Mom knows exactly what she’s talking about. She knows the lyrics to songs, she knows most of the TV references, she can text like nobody’s business and she remembers all the details about all the friends. Yet, she’s on the other side of the country. They see her a couple of times a year. To some degree, this comes naturally. My Mom has always been fun and easy to talk to and has worked with kids her whole life. But to a certain extent, she knows how important it is to speak her grandkids’ language. In preparation for watching them in a few weeks, she is studying their favorite TV series. She knows how far it will go as she becomes parent for 10 days. (Yes, Mom. We’re leaving for 10 days!!!)
As I walk my 12-year-old daughter through a year of Becoming, I have learned the importance of being cool in her eyes. It doesn’t always mean, nor require, being as hip as my own Mom, but I’ve seen the value in earning points in her eyes.
She needs me to be emulatable so she can ascribe meaning to her own future.
Our girls need to respect their mothers. They need to be a little impressed. Awe inspired is optional. But creating a vision for who they can become is not. If we’re going to call our girls to offer themselves fully to the world in all the ways God has created them to be, they need to see us doing it first.
To launch Becoming, I took Ella to Turkey - land of her birth and part of our family story. For all sorts of reasons, it was important that she return. But there was one outcome I knew it would have, needed it to have: I needed her to see her mom navigate a foreign city, speak a foreign language, and take care of the two of us alone.
Her resistance was immediate. She questioned me every step of the way, every day. In a mixture of not remembering the culture, nor understanding what was happening around her, she doubted my lead. It seemed like I was saying, “trust me” repeatedly. But by the end of the trip, her fear had morphed into awe and respect. And awe and respect turned into an attitude of “I’m going to do that too.” Facing fear and learning to access your own strength is an invaluable gift to our girls.
I’ve noticed similar reactions when she has joined me in a class at the gym. Seeing me follow the moves of the instructor (that I’ve been doing for years) as she struggled to keep up, gave her enormous respect for me. Likewise, when she has seen me speak to an audience or hears about something I’ve written, she is impressed. The respect, coming in big or small doses, helps curb the annoyance that comes naturally.
And here’s the thing. I’m not doing anything to purposefully impress her. I’m living my life with intention, bravery, and to the best of my ability. So are you. Dear reader, you are a hero in your own right. In your own sphere of influence, out of your unique skills and passions, you too are living with intention, bravery, and to the best of your ability.
Too often, I find we allow our adolescents to go their own way and do their own thing. They are so involved in activities and with friends, that they miss out on watching us when they most need to be watching us! If we don’t conjure up awe and respect in their eyes, those friends and activities will be far more alluring and the person they will want to emulate will be BFF, not Mom.
Let's be Moms worth emulating. Let's raise a generation of girls who have a vision for themselves and their future because they watched their moms live in some pretty cool ways.