It's 2012 and the beginning of a new year. Ending each year, on the precipice of another has always caused me to reflect upon the important things in life, all things that truly matter. Every mother of a daughter adds to her reflective list the ups and downs of raising her girl, what went well, what did not. Then we inevitably resolve that there would be more ups than downs in the coming year. As you tackle this wonderful year ahead I want to encourage you to embrace the fun times, then think outside of the box when it comes to your girl. This job you have as a mom raising daughters needs to be performed in your own unique manner, with your own unique style, for your completely unique child. Here's an exerpt from my book Help Wanted, moms raising daughters performing the job of Creative Counselor that offers an insight of what truly mattered to me.....
Then there’s my younger daughter, Chelsea. She had pink hair in elementary school. Yes, I realize that’s a bit different from the norm, and some mothers would be extremely uncomfortable with hair that color, but for Chelsea, it was self- expression. It was only streaks the length of a few strands or the hair ends, but she loved her pink hair. And each time we varied how we put the color in. So when she asked me about it the first time, I said it was fine; we’d make it a mother-daughter project. How odd, I thought. My mom taught me to sew, and I’m coloring my daughter’s hair pink to spend time with her.
The next day my eight-year-old attended elementary school with pink streaks. She was extremely delighted with the look. I have no idea what the other mothers thought of either Chelsea or me, and I didn’t care to know. What others thought didn’t matter. I was focused on what’s most important: doing whatever it takes to build a strong mother-daughter relationship. With my girls, I always wanted to allow for originality and creativity.
So off Chelsea and I went to the artsy downtown store that sold weird temporary hair color and purchased one jar labeled Bright Punky Pink. After dinner, we spent the rest of the evening accomplishing her creation. How we dyed her hair was her choice. It was her style and design, and she was very particular on the execution. Putting on the color-safe gloves and wrapping my daughter completely in old towels, I placed pink hair color in two two-foot lengths of hair on each side of her sweet face.
Many things were important to Loren and Chelsea that really didn’t matter to me. They were not life-changing ideas. Early on, I had made a commitment to give my best to my daughters by focusing on the issues that were important in the long-term, not the ones with short-term effects. They could have pink hair if their hearts were compassionate. Unusual and unique clothes didn’t scare me if they maintained modesty. Triple-piercing their ears would be in the family budget if they concentrated on their school work and worked to achieve life success.
The art of creative counseling requires a mom to focus on the important issues to help ensure life success.
Your crusade as a mom is for the hearts and souls of your daughters. That’s why, short of an indecent wardrobe, clothing doesn’t matter, hair color doesn’t matter, and even tattoos and piercings don’t matter. Those are all short-term things. Yet so often we find ourselves doing battle over the small issues and alienating our daughters before we can even get to what really matters for their futures—like their self-esteem and their faith. Don’t spend time fighting the unimportant battles. If you do, you’ll lose the real war.
Instead, be creative, allow uniqueness, and watch your daughter flourish into a delightful young lady.