How to Raise Brave Women and Compassionate Humans

As many of you know, I don’t often have posts written by guest writers but when I do, they are usually amazing writers with something important to say. Today, I have the privilege of sharing with you one of my dearest friends, Amanda Magee, who just happens to be one of the strongest, bravest, samrtest and kindest women I know. She also happens to be a damn great writer. She is a writer’s writer. Did I mention she is raising three amazing girls who I am sure will be the change they want to see in the world because that is exactly what their mom is exemplifying for them? Thank you, Amanda, for sharing your words and truth here. If you’d like to read more of Amanda, be sure to check her out on her blog.

A quick introduction, my name is Amanda Magee. I live in upstate New York where I own an advertising and communications agency and am raising three daughters. Deborah and I met by chance at a blogging conference a few years back. Over the years we have bonded over parenting daughters and being strong willed women in the world. She has invited me to write here a couple of times and despite my not having come through, she kept asking; the last time after I posted about our experience marching at an Anti-Trump rally with our daughters. I am so grateful for hearts, minds, and voices like Deborah’s.

A couple of years ago I found myself thinking that I knew how to forecast the years ahead. I bought into the idea that hormones were going to be the thing I had to focus on, but it wasn’t true. Yes, there are emotional highs and lows; yes, my three daughters are not yet in the thick of puberty at 8, 10, and 12, but what has become central to our reality is how we will navigate the world—not during our menstrual cycles, more in light of the fact that we (will) have menstrual cycles.

How do I raise brave women? How do I equip them with both confidence and suspicion? Is it possible to raise them to be good citizens and compassionate human beings in the same breath as I say that there are people who will break rules and take without asking? How do I tell them that they can make all the best decisions and still be hurt?

Raising girls, how to raise brave women, equality

Zits and thigh gap? We’ll be fine, slurs muttered at the mention of homosexual family members and systemic defense and promotion of “boys will be boys” and “you shouldn’t be upset, he just wanted to talk to you,” those are the things that demand my attention.

Over the last year, I’ve begun to speak more plainly with my daughters and I’ll be honest, it’s been bittersweet. I wanted to give them the cocoon of childhood as long as I could, but when conversation on the bus turns to building a wall, grabbing pussies, and sending people away I have a choice, do I defer the world view shaping to other kids and influences or do I talk to them about the spectrum of views? I chose the latter.

Raising girls, how to raise brave women, equality

I’ve never once painted one side of politics as evil and the other as benevolent, because despite being a lifelong, pro-choice, feminist liberal, I don’t hate Republicans or Conservatives. The only thing I really hate is hate, which is why we were an anti-Trump house and why we are committed to continuing to speak up against the motions that take us as a country to greater stances of division. It’s new territory for me, because I have always looked at the person holding the office of president as our leader. I cannot do that this time.

Raising girls, how to raise brave women, equality

I am looking to people like Deborah, I am listening to black women, people from the trans community, I am questioning the decisions of lawmakers, and I am donating to organizations like Planned Parenthood and the Southern Poverty Law Center. We as a family are committing to being engaged at the local and regional level, not just every four years. We are reading books like Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls. I am heartbroken that so many people didn’t vote; I am distressed that many people, myself included, have had moments of silence that made them complicit in hate or systemic racism. We are choosing to adhere to a policy of living our beliefs out loud and in public, because the alternative is the kind of inaction that lets hate fester and threaten to overtake us all.

Photos Courtesy Amanda Magee

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