I'm Not Bossy. I'm the #boss. Leadership.
I was a public school kid. As was my daughter's father. Always thought my child would be too. Until I realized that the experience of most public school kids these days is not the same as the one we had.
The Washington Post article about getting my daughter into private school shared my experience going through the interview process with a precocious, only child who has a very strong sense of self (it's no exaggeration to call her my mini-me – except that she is more self actualized at the age of nine, and has been for years, than most adults I know).
But this article really isn’t going to be the start of a series of whining about how my kid didn’t get into a particular school. This is the start of a new series highlighting how Socially Conscious Fashionistas become leaders. Their best tools, organizations, and aha moments.
Three things occurred recently which made me feel even more validated in my concern for and need to express that it’s important that we create evidence of our children’s – especially our girl children’s – self worth and leadership abilities early and often.
I read an article about how a woman’s sobriety gave her a different perspective into how women cope with trying to “have it all.” I thought that the premise of the article was fairly prescient and applicable to ALL WOMEN and more than just being about sobriety, was about the misconceptions we have about what it means to have it all, and the pressures and judgements we apply to ourselves and each other.
A man on a recent flight moved my seat mate, non-profit founder and Tedx Speaker Indrani Goradia’s bag. He didn’t ask. He didn’t hesitate. And she was unable to close the luggage compartment where her suitcase now resided. After asking quietly, Indrani had to speak up - no one took responsibility until she started "disrupting" the peace. Why? Why didn't he have the courtesy to just ask whose bag it was, why did he just assume it was okay? Surely a small thing, right? Not when it happens all.the.time as a woman. Being overlooked, taken for granted, thought of as someone who wouldn't dare to make waves.
I started reading Worth It by Amanda Steinberg, Founder & CEO of DailyWorth. The discussion at the beginning of the book about the earning and achievement gap, and how women are given vague feedback in performance reviews, and how being perceived as bossy can have a serious repercussion on their future careers, resonated deeply.
I am proud that I have a child who is strong. Who knows her mind. We are lucky that we had the resources to send her to a school that teaches not only leadership development, but also emotional intelligence.
Today, this little girl is observed by her teachers as a kind, caring soul; by her classmates as a free spirit who is happy to "do her own thing" if she doesn't want to follow the crowd.
In her recent "smarty pants camp" which she attended by virtue of her standardized test scores (top 5%) and my insistence, mentor feedback included the following comments:
"...a very sweet and devoted girl. When her friend got upset she offered to walk her inside and stayed by her side the rest of the class period."
"...brought wonderful energy and creativity to our dragon class! Great work in writing and performance!"
"...was an enthusiastic member of her tribe. She helped lead them to victory with her eager participation. It was a pleasure having her in class!"
"...is an enthusiastic young lady with tons of energy. She was a wonderful addition to our production, and did a great job of portraying her role of reporter."
THIS is the feedback I want. I want to raise a child who believes in herself and isn't afraid to speak her mind. Is it always easy? No. But it is so worth it to know that she will have the confidence to create her own reality, to try new things, to not be afraid. She's not afraid to be smart, to be creative, and to be active.
Believe me, it takes most of us a lot longer to get there.
She is the girl who has already decided that for the "smarty-pants" summer camp next year, she is going to take engineering and chemistry. Who for her sleep away camp next summer, has already settled on a week of Rock Star and a week of Hollywood Stunts. For after school activities, chose robotics, piano and forensic science and biological science with dissection.
In future posts, I and others will be sharing how we learned to be leaders, to be unafraid, and to change the conversation. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on leadership, and hearing about what helped you become a leader!
Written by Anika Jackson. Mother, community volunteer, philanthropist, and socially conscious fashionista ambassador. Team Member of Real Beauty Real Women, Editor of RBRW.org/blog, and CEO of Philanthropic Fetes. Check out our latest project, Social Graces Social Club! Contact her at email@example.com