My daughter turned 13 years old this year. As she gets older and begins to navigate relationships, school politics and more advanced subjects in class, I find myself more invested in ensuring that her self-esteem and sense of integrity remain intact.
A wise mother and grandmother raised me, greatly informing my own ideas of what it means to be a strong, confident woman. So recently, remembering their words of advice coupled with my own experience, I decided to codify the best of what I know for my own daughter.
Here’s what I came up with and what I will be telling my daughter anytime she stops long enough to listen.
1. Your ability or inability to accomplish something is not defined by your gender.
Some people will try to argue that simply by virtue of gender, you are biologically incapable of doing something. Instead, I will always remind her to keep playing #LikeAGirl – because there’s absolutely nothing wrong about it.
2. At some point in life, you’ll probably have to travel by yourself, so learn how to enjoy your own company.
And knowing how to change a flat tire will likely come in handy, too, though there’s no shame in calling roadside assistance. After all, that’s why it exists!
3. You should know how to cook at least one breakfast, lunch and dinner – even if it comes from a box …
… because your mother won’t always be around to cook one for you!
4. While material possessions are nice, the amount of money and belongings you have does not equal your amount of happiness.
I’ll even offer up this analogy: During the holidays, while ornaments and lights are pretty, an unadorned home is beautiful in its own right. I want you to figure out your own definition of happiness, which is often challenging in a materialistic world.
5. Understand that the life you have is really good, and millions of people around the world have it much tougher than you do.
Be thankful that you were born in a part of the world where opportunity is plentiful. Find a way to use your own unique gifts – whatever you discover them to be – to help create opportunity for others, because gifts are nothing if they’re not given away.
6. Call your mother. No, really. Call her! And always tell her you love her. No matter how old you are!
What is the best advice you have given your teenager? Share yours with the P&G everyday community in the comments below.