Growing a Strong Young Woman – the Responsibility I Never Expected
‘The Future is Female’ her t-shirt said. The person on the train was wearing the catchphrase that has seen a resurgence in recent years and, as a reasonable person I, of course, agree.
Well kind of. The future has to be hugely varied but equally so. The future has to be in part, female. But also multi-racial, non-binary, and above all, world-conscious and kind.
So, as a father who has an incredible opportunity to raise a girl, how on Earth am I meant to make sure she grows up to be part of the change instead of fall into an environment of gender biases and pay gaps?
To me, her knowing that she’s supported is the most important. Her decisions, her choices, and the risks she takes in a journey to find what drives her and makes her truly happy all have to have the safety net that she’ll be loved no matter what.
As well as being supported, she needs to know that it’s everyone’s job to support others. Let people explore their passions, enjoy what other people enjoy even just for a moment, and share your kindness.
“A rising tide lifts all boats” – she mustn’t put people down just to feel better about what she’s doing. She must be the tide and make everyone look good and it’ll come right back to her.
Watching the news isn’t fun but it is pretty vital. We have to make sure that we know what’s happening around us and more importantly, why. People do crazy things in the name of love, their passions, or what they believe to be true, but to them, it all makes perfect sense.
I want her to see that there’s reason in all things if you look at it the right way and her actions can directly affect how people understand her. There’s always a different way to look at things, so don’t confine yourself to just one viewpoint.
I want her to take the lead, accept and offer opportunities, be a problem-solver, and bring like-minded people with her.
There are always going to be people who want her to sit down and accept how things are. These aren’t instructions. These are put-downs that shouldn’t have a place in any environment.
One of the best things that my parents taught me was the love of traveling. I’ve seen lots of the World but there’s so much more I have to embrace. I’ve lived at sea for months at a time, studied in two continents and lived in three. There’s simply too much to see out there to want to stay at home.
My wife left Canada and moved to London straight after college without a place to live or a job to go to. I worked on cruise ships after I graduated and lived in Australia until I ran out of money and moved to London. Then we met.
Our daughter wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t embraced the completely unknown and opened ourselves up to huge risk.
Of course, this is all up to her. If she still wants to be a rainbow unicorn when she’s older I guess I’ll help her do that.