As it turns out, the old adage is true: you lead by example.
On my 40th birthday my daughter Maddy, 10 at the time, gave me a handcrafted birthday voucher on which she wrote:
“This vowcher lets you be my gest at the Oscars when I am nomnated for best actres.”
(Probably more chance of that than winning the national spelling bee!)
I’ve tucked it away for safe keeping until that day arrives. And if it doesn’t, that’s okay too. I just love that she wasn’t afraid to dream big.
Too often though we turn down the dial on our ambitions as the realities of the ‘real’ world crush in on us. The hurdles are higher, the competition tougher and the setbacks bigger. Sticking with goals that don’t risk rejection and failure can seem like the smarter option.
But it never is. And it never will be. And if you have a daughter, I don’t think there’s anything more important you can do to help you enjoy happiness in life than help her grow into the bravest version of the woman she has it in her to be. Here’s how.
- Encourage her to dream big
I was only a little older than Maddy, growing up on a dairy farm in rural victoria, when I told my parents I wanted to a journalist, like Jana Wendt on 60 Minutes. Mum said I didn’t read the newspaper enough. It was true; but didn’t get the paper.
While we each walk a different path to parenthood, we must all be careful not to let our own experiences, including our disappointments, hurts and unmet aspirations, dampen the ambitions of our daughters. Sure, not everyone will be the next Cate Blanchet, but better to to try and fall short than to have our daughters one day look back on their own lives and wonder ‘What if?’