I have an 11-year-old daughter. Some of her greatest role models are the female animal-control officers on the Animal Planet show “Animal Precinct.” This show is very popular with kids. It’s important to encourage girls when they are much younger to adopt role models like these real-life heroes, rather than one-dimensional fictional characters on TV sitcoms. She plays soccer and Mia Hamm is also a great role model to her. She has a female piano teacher who has become a role model. We go to a church with a female priest and she is a role model for all the girls in the parish – she is relatively young and pretty hip for a priest. We have a wonderful youth group at our church and a great group of teenage girls who do tons of community service, sing in the choir, babysit the younger kids, etc. My daughter can’t wait to join the youth group next year. It’s positive peer experiences like this, I believe, that are more important to provide to girls than “good girl” characters on TV shows.
And her most important role model, quite frankly, is me. I have worked full time since she was born and I still have found time to teach her to knit, sew, cook, bake cookies, and play soccer. She thinks I am the greatest mom in the world. She has learned from me that you do have to work, sometimes more than you want, to buy the creature comforts that so many kids take for granted. She has learned that making something herself is much more satisfying than buying it. She has learned that you don’t give up if you don’t get something right the first time, or even the second time. She knows that girls can go out and have careers and make lots of money, and still be moms and have fun. She has classmates who are very selfish and snotty and fashion plates and all that stuff, and she doesn’t want to be one of those girls.
I suppose it’s possible that when she turns 15 all that stuff will go out the window and she’ll turn into an obnoxious, materialistic slut. But I doubt it.