*A huge thanks to Always for sponsoring this post. Always and Walmart have joined forces with the Girl Scouts of America to help us raise confident daughters who will pursue their dreams and live #likeagirl!
5 Ways To Raise Confident Daughters
I have four daughters – they range in age from 11 to 18 and let me tell you a little something about them: they ALL love math and excel in it.
I will also say that they do NOT get that from me.
Growing up, I struggled terribly just trying to get through my math classes, particularly through high school. In fact, I barely passed. It’s weird because I remember really liking math in elementary, and even in middle school. Actually, I can pinpoint the moment things changed for me – I was struggling with a math question so I asked the teacher. She proceeded to make an example of me in front of the class and I felt shame like I hadn’t felt before. I determined never to ask for help again, and I just floundered through math and science the rest of my school days.
A Startling Statistic
Recently I learned a statistic that really bothered me, and which showed me that my experience is not unique to me.
The most recent Always Confidence & Puberty Survey found that 50% of girls feel paralyzed by the fear of failure. Um, I know that feeling well. Unfortunately, this fear deters girls from trying new activities, especially within the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.
In fact, Always found that before puberty, 87% of girls are interested in STEM but experiencing failure makes 1 in 2 girls choose not to study STEM. Oh boy, can I ever relate to that! How sad is that statistic?
And how do we as parents of daughters, help them realize that failure is just a blip on the radar, and that success comes from rising every time we fall? It is so important to have women in the STEM fields – they need our perspective, and our intelligence! And now I realize that the encouragement for these girls needs to start young – before that paralyzing fear sets in.
Enter: The STEM Academy!
Here is the amazing thing:
Always #LikeAGirl and Walmart are joining forces to encourage girls everywhere to use FAILURE AS FUEL to keep going #LikeAGirl and continue to pursue STEM. I am so grateful for this support from these great companies who have been been championing girls’ confidence, encouraging girls to realize their full potential for over 30 years. This is something that two of my girls and I were able to witness first-hand.
Always and Walmart recently hosted an exclusive event for participating Girl Scouts which my daughters and I were able to attend, and let me tell you – it was inspiring to the max!
Girls on Top of the World
My first impression of the event was “WOW!”
Always and Walmart really went all out for these girls – treating them like queens for the day. I can only imagine the work and time it took to organize this event, and all for these girl scout troops from all over the USA. They thought of every detail. They put the girls up in the amazing W Hotel in Hoboken, which is located right next door to the Jet.com headquarters, and had the most amazing view of the Manhattan skyline. These girls felt like they were on top of the world!
On Sunday were able to do a little exploring along the waterfront and enjoy the shopping/dining on Washington St, just a couple blocks away.
Monday was the day of the #LikeAGirl Academy event and we began with a delicious breakfast at the hotel before walking next door to the Jet.com headquarters.
Now THAT is Confidence
It warmed my heart to watch these girls filing in with their amazing troop leaders and seeing them all begin to mingle with one another, waiting for the event to begin. The energy was electric and contagious! The Jet.com headquarters was the perfect location for this event – beautiful and modern, open and trendy. My girls commented that this is just the kind of place they want to work when they grow up. I had to chuckle when one of the girl scouts asked the Jet.com CEO if they were accepting any interns at the moment! Now THAT is confidence!
- Sumaiya Balbale, VP of E-Commerce, Mobile & Digital Marketing
- Chandrika Kasturi, R&D FemCare Director
- Tracy Van Houten, Systems Engineer at NASA, Lead of Mars 2020 Mission
- Sylvia Acevedo, CEO, Girls Scouts of the USA
- Dr. Knatokie Ford, Founder of Fly Sci Enterprise & Former Senior Policy, Advisor at the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy under the Obama Administration
That panel discussion was energizing, and packed with motivation and inspiration galore. I kept thinking, how amazing for these girls to have role models like these, showing them in person just what their potential can be, and how to reach it!
Here are a couple of tidbits some of these ladies shared that really stuck with me and my girls:
5 Ways To Raise Confident Girls: Tips from Powerful Women
1.Recognize the problem out there waiting for you to use your unique skills to solve.
Dr. Knatokie Ford taught the girls all about programming and how there are many ways to reach a desired outcome. The girls had to work in pairs to communicate (without speaking) to organize some playing cards in chronological order. I was fascinating to see each team’s ideas – how different they were, and how they all worked! They were able to trouble shoot their problems and find ways to accomplish their task more efficiently.
2. Don’t give in to the “imposter” syndrome.
You know that feeling you sometimes have – especially when trying something new? That feeling that you’re somehow an imposter and will be found out by everyone! That you just don’t belong? I learned that if you feel like there is no one like you in whatever you are doing, your perspective is needed all the more!
One of the group activities was an improv session with The Harnisch Foundation’s Funny Girls as well as actress Abigail Breslin, which was “super awesome” (according to my girls – and me!). The girls had a chance to express their creativity and build their confidence as they participated in some acting exercises. Some of the girls were unsure, uneasy, and a little shy. I can imagine the feeling. It didn’t take long, with some encouragement and confidence from the session leader, for these girls to realize that what they brought to the group was not only valued, but NEEDED! It helped draw them out of their shells and showed them that they belonged.
3. Let your fear of “What if I don’t try?” outweigh your fear of failure.
Failure IS an option – and sometimes it’s the only path to finding what works. Especially when talking about STEM. I saw this first hand when watching the girls (and women) in our group trying their hand at making slime!
Some of us had never made slime before, while other’s were near experts. But that did not stop everyone from giving it a try! Boy, were the results ever varied! Some found that theirs was a little too sticky. Others had over activated theirs and it didn’t stretch. Still others found the perfect recipe for their ideal result. It was fun seeing everyone let loose and do more experimenting by mixing colors and playing with their slime. What a great example of letting go of the fear of failure and being willing to learn from experimenting!
4. Own the “watch me!” attitude whenever you’re confronted with opposition to your dreams
Tracy Van Houten spent some time teaching the girls how to make a simple circuit using very basic materials.
She intentionally left the instructions vague to allow the girls to use their creativity to find ways to make it work. I found it refreshing to see how, when they had a question, she helped them think the problem through and they discovered that they were more than capable of problem-solving to make it work! Amazing!! When those little lights lit up – so did the faces of the girls!
5. Redefine the world to reflect who we are as women and girls.
Sylvia Acevedo is a wonderful example of this idea.
She spoke about her Girl Scout story where she was encouraged to get her science badge after enjoying the stars at a camp out and learning about constellations. She began to love science and, even though she was a visible minority, she persisted in following her dreams and became the first ever hispanic Chief Executive Officer of the Girl Scouts of the USA! Sylvia also was an engineer for NASA and blasted past boundaries her entire life. She has set the standard for all girls to have the courage to redefine the world in ways that reflect who THEY are!
So, what has made the difference in my girls’ having confidence – especially as they pursue STEM in school and beyond?
I’d have to say that, in our home, the emphasis has never been on the grades – it’s been on the effort, on how they feel in their successes, and how they work through their failures. Failure IS an option, success is found in the trying, and if you believe you can, you’ll be right!
*This post was sponsored by Always and all raving opinions are our own. We love this company and their continued support of confident girls everywhere.