Earlier this week, Elizabeth over on Delightfully Tacky wrote up a post about what she’s thankful for and linked to this article about raising girls. I’ve definitely mentioned my parents on here before, but I’ve not yet given them the blogratitude that they deserve. My parents are seriously my best friends and, even when they weren’t, they have always supported me in whatever I wanted to do.
Some kids get to college and find themselves stuck in a major their parents chose; that was never going to be their path. This is a situation I cannot relate to at all because my parents never vocalized any expectations for me in that way. In fact, a couple of years ago, during a brief stint of moving back home, I asked what they had wanted me to be when I grew up. “Remember that time you wanted to be the editor of Seventeen Magazine? That would have been pretty cool.”
When I was really young, I was able to be involved with the activities I wanted. My parents took me to Sunday School early so I could sing with the Zimriyah and stayed late to take me home from rehearsal for the Purim play. My dad was the co-leader of my Girl Scout troop and took the reigns on both camping trips and best cookie selling practices. In middle school, my parents were supportive of my fashion designer dreams and took an interest in my sewing habits (as long as I wasn’t altering the more costly Chanukah gifts…oops!).
I’ve heard, you know, in the news and stuff, that daughters are sometimes forced into their brother’s activities. Obviously, girls and boys can both totally enjoy and excel at the same activities, but even if she’s interested in soccer and her brother does band, their parents might pressure her to pick up the clarinet instead of her cleats.
My parents were equally supportive of both mine and my brother’s interests and Evan even drifted into my activities until he found his own niche. Now he’s off studying to be a world-famous lighting technician and spends his extra time DJing while I’ve got an English Writing degree and I work in non profit.
As I’ve been working to find my footing in the real world, I feel as supported as ever to try things that I like and move on if I don’t. My parents are pretty feminist and may be working class hippies, but I don’t think there is anything outrageous about them wanting to see their daughter succeed in what she wants, rather than what she’s supposed to want.
When I got my first flat tire several months ago, I insisted that my dad let me change it while he instructed, rather than doing it for me. I asked for a drill for my college graduation because I wanted to be able to put a desk together, even if my boyfriend was at work. I believe that I’m able to be independent and self-sufficient because my parents not only let me be, but encouraged it. Some kids become independent because they are neglected and have no other option than to do for themselves. My parents graced me with the empowerment of individuality.
Growing up, some kids live by their parents’ mantra of “always be yourself.” I can’t recall my parents ever telling me this because I was so much an individual from day one that all they could say was “That’s pretty cool.”