Mark Twain once said, "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” As grown-up girls, we know this is true. We have all benefited from having a friend that sparked a courageous spirit in our heart. At the same time, we have had experiences where so-called friends spent a good deal of time trying to convince us we shouldn’t reach higher for what they’ve labeled as “our own good” but really had more to do with their own insecurities. We want our daughters to understand the importance of the people they spend time with as something that is crucial to who they are becoming.
But how can we help them make wise choices?
- Define Courage. Does your daughter know what courage actually is and how it displays itself in our everyday lives? Miriam-Webster defines courage as “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.” Courage may look different in one person’s life than another. For some, it may look like being willing to endure a difficult situation at home. For another, it could be having the courage to be the smartest girl in the room without worrying about what others think. Knowing what courage is and what it isn’t will help your daughter know how to spot it in others.
- Call out courage when you see it. Once you’ve helped your daughter understand what courage actually is, make a habit of calling out courage when you see it. Did you watch a movie that showed courage in action? Did your daughter take a brave step in her own life? Be sure to say to your daughter regularly, “Hey, I’m proud of your courageous choice today.” Helping to verbalize the courage you see around you will help her do the same in her own world. Teach her practically that when we call it out, it will rise up.
- Choosing Courageous Friends. Knowing what courage is, and how to call it out in someone’s life lays the foundation for choosing friends that inspire you to live with courage. We want our daughters to crave a courageous crew of friends because she has experienced it already at home. We want her to naturally gravitate towards friends that aren’t intimidated by her courageous spirit but encourage her every step of the way. And, we want our daughters to want to inspire courage in others as well. Help her talk through this with her friends as soon as she connects with someone new.
There is a learning curve. It might take time for her to figure out the most courageous friends aren’t necessarily the most popular. But, if you keep the courage conversation going, she will be in the habit of bringing her concerns to you. In the end, you will be able to coach her through the years and help her to find a group of friends that don’t make her “little” but cheer the loudest when she soars.