(As I was writing this article I sat by two young teens, I asked them about the pressures they face at their age, their answers were heartbreaking, they wrote their advice at the bottom of this post to those who want to encourage them. I also just read the news article of the 12 year-old who committed suicide for cyber bullying. This has to stop!)
Every time I look at this picture we took for our Be strong story photo shoot, I see so many things. I see these precious girls, all from different walks of life, and different sets of circumstances. All of them beautiful, and all of them have the whole world in front of them.
I see potential, and dreams.
I see light and love.
I see kindness and curiosity in their eyes.
What if they believed they were the most beautiful souls as they grew up.
What if beyond a shadow of a doubt they knew they were made for a purpose for this short time on earth.
What if their confidence came from the inside, from knowing who they are, and being content in all of their strengths and weaknesses.
What if they were free to be themselves. With no worries of changing who they are, their appearance, their personality, their ANYTHING to fit into a mold they weren't made for.
My dream for these girls, is they would be FREE to be themselves. FREE to live with confidence to pursue their dreams. Confidence to be strong when they need to be, to protect those who need protecting, and to not be afraid to let their love shine like a beacon along the way.
I have a dream for our next generation. A dream that includes standing up for things that aren't popular without a true care of others opinions. I see them making a difference when it means sacrificing popularity and notoriety because they care about others more than themselves. I see them cheering on their fellow girlfriends instead of talking behind their backs and making them feel small and worthless.
I see a generation in these little faces that can change their world.
But it takes our generation to teach them how. It takes our generation to model and show them what it means to let their light shine, to love themselves well and others well. It's our job as mother, fathers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends, mentors, to treat these girls for who they really are.
Girls who can set this world on fire.
As I was writing this article I set by two girls on the plane. I asked them what their main pressures were at their age. Their answers floored me. They were beautiful girls, to anyone else they looked like they had everything going for them, but their answers surprised me. They had been rejected, bullied, thought of hurting themselves, switching schools. The negativity from other girls made them sick to their stomach and made them hide their shoulders and arms with their hair as a shield. It broke me. We must stop this behavior. I cannot stand to see one more girl feel pain at the hands of another. I asked them to write an excerpt of how we can help love them well. Here is their excerpt.
Written by- Maizey,13 and Hannah,12- unedited so you can hear their voice.
" The girl everyone wants to be is not themselves, they always have something they hate about themselves. The way you can help kids love themselves for who they are is simply complementing them on what they hate the most about themselves. Always be there for them when they need you the most, and never let them hurt anyone else. If they hurt other people don't scold them for it, tell them to take a few steps in their shoes. Ask them how they would feel if someone went up to them and commented on the thing they hate most about themselves. If they get knocked down help them up, then have them help out the person that knocked them down. Have them build a barrier strong enough to withhold the force of others, but also strong enough to carry the weight of broken enemies."