Empowering young girls and young women to become brilliant women starts with a changed paradigm about how we see young people in general. We need to see them as leaders, as change agents who are moving our culture forward. I think that’s actually what adolescent rebellion is all about. It’s about breaking the mold of the previous generation and moving the culture forward.
We need to see young women and men in that way rather than as rowdy teenagers who need to be managed and shaped and guided by us. A lot of the tools that I use with adult women I actually think we need to be teaching girls at 12 and 13. What is your inner critic? What is that voice that is talking to you about your thighs being too big or you not being smart? That’s called your inner critic. Here is how you can manage it when you hear it whispering in your ear.
We need to teach them what their strengths are, help them gain awareness of the specific talents that they have and also teach them that the world isn’t finished yet, that in fact, the world has a hole in it that is shaped exactly like them and only by their own sharing their voice and bringing their unique gifts into the world will that hold be filled.
So if they ever feel alienated by the world like their point of view somehow just doesn’t fit, in some sense they’re right. Their point of view is missing, but that’s because the world has a hole in it that is shaped just like them and it needs their voice to fill that hole.
In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think’s studio.
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