I find myself looking at my gorgeous girl as she approaches eight and wondering how I can (or should) prepare her for the complications that lay ahead. I know how unpredictable and complex life can be and like many mothers I want to help her avoid heartache and pain as much as possible.
I know I need to teach her certain essentials, but there are so many! My mind starts to reel as the list constantly grows: How to groom and care for her body, choose the right friends, express herself, nurture her love of reading, paint, do laundry, fix a flat tire, look good in jeans, create a garden, beat any boy at any sport, and so on.
In an ideal world, I’d be able to do it all — but somehow I doubt I’ll cover every single base. So it’s time to prioritize; these 10 how-tos top my list:
1. Be a true friend
Female friendships can be lifesaving and life-long – or fickle and false. As she forges new relationships and nurtures old ones, I will counsel my daughter on how to be a good friend – loyal, strong, compassionate, and not susceptible to drama or jealousy.
2. Respect her body
Pounds come and go – as do wrinkles, scars, and other physical imperfections. Regardless, I always want my daughter to love what she’s got and wear it well.
3. Make good judgments about boys
Most of us have made at least one or two questionable calls when it comes to guys. My little girl will grow and make her own mistakes, as we all do, but I want her to always have a strong sense of self no matter who she is with.
4. Defend herself
Physically and emotionally.
5. Travel fearlessly
The world is a big, bold place and I envision my daughter traveling through it with an adventurous spirit and open eyes.
6. Play an instrument
As someone who has zero musical talent, I find it really cool when a girl plays an instrument well. Maybe my daughter will even sing too! I’ll leave the choice of instrument up to her, but I’m secretly rooting for cello…
Call me old-fashioned, but a girl should know how to bake delicious goodies from brownies to banana bread to brioche… even if she does it only for herself.
Whether it’s her dorm room, house, or wardrobe, I’d like my girl to know how to accessorize since it often makes the difference between boring and beautiful.
9. Plan a good party
We should all have this talent, and it’s not as easy as it looks!
10. Survive adversity
And come out the other side with a smile.