I know a girl

I know a girl who is very, very strong.

Her opinions come bursting out of her before she even recognizes their formation.

I know a girl who is incredibly smart.  She solves most math problems before I finish asking them.  She sees connections in literature that would amaze some college professors.   She remembers the history facts and understands why they are important.  Her mind is sharp and quick and filled with sparks.   She shines.

I know a girl who is confident and sure.  She walks with grace, her eyes open, her head raised.  She likes herself and she is ready for the world.

I know a girl, a very young girl, who does not suffer fools.   She is quick to correct, ready to help, eager to fix.  She puts herself right out there when there is a problem to be solved; she will not watch quietly while others stumble and search.  She will reach out her strong and able hand, and she will make things right.

I know a girl, a little child, who is beginning to feel her power and who is unsure of how to celebrate its force.

Sometimes her actions are too swift, her movements too certain; other girls may feel diminished by her sureness.

Sometimes her judgements feel a little harsh.  She will tell you if you are acting like a fool.

I know a girl who has hair of gilded copper, and delicate skin so fair that her slightest hesitation floods her cheeks with flame.

I know this girl.   I know that she wants to nurture those who seem more fragile.  I know that she wants to fix the problems, save the day, grab the glory, bask in the praise.

I know her pretty well.  I know that her heart is proud but gentle; she wants to have your praise, but she wants to have earned it with her tender care of others.

I know this girl.

She keeps me awake at night.

How do I help her to relish her gifts without worrying that she is vain?  How do I teach her to see that her boldness is courage, not pride?  To value her assertiveness without worrying that she is too forceful?

I know this girl.   I want her to look in her mirror and see a warrior, not a bitch.  I want her to keep on fixing what is broken, calling herself clever, not pushy.  I want to help her to understand that she doesn’t need to be beloved by anyone other than herself.  To know that she can be admired without worrying that she is being seen as too aggressive.

I know a girl.

She may very well become one of the world’s great leaders. If only I can help her to see herself as she really is, and not through the prism of her gender.


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