Every morning when I brush my daughter’s hair for school she says, “princess hair.” She pulls her hair to the side and strokes it – and I start to get a little scared.
I respond with, “You know, you can be a princess with short hair and long hair? You can be a princess if you play soccer, and if you paint and if you play the harmonica.” “Oh yea?” “Oh yea,” I say, happy to have planted a few more seeds in her brain. Then we keep arguing about how toothpaste isn’t for eating.
I want my daughter to be kind and fulfilled and joyful – beyond that – I truly don’t have a path I want her to walk. She can be and do all the things that bring her joy, including be a princess with long, shiny hair.
But what I don’t ever want my daughter to think is that there is a certain mold she must fit into if she wants to be a princess, or fun, or smart, or a biker or a circus performer. And for the longest time I didn’t have the right language for the idea that was bouncing around in my head, but then I read a post by Jessica Honegger, CEO of Noonday Collection and she described my experiences and she coined the term, #choosingand. Perfect.
Since then I’ve tried to remove OR from things that have to do with my daughter’s identity. Instead, I’m trying to infuse AND. I’m choosing AND.
So many of the decisions I made growing up and as a young woman were because I thought I had to be one or the other. I had a very hard time reconciling loving Jesus and also liking rap music or being taken seriously and being light-hearted. I always thought I had to choose – and it took me a long time to learn that I could be a little of this and a little of that. The lines of my life didn’t have to be perfectly drawn and I didn’t have to color inside of them either.
I didn’t have to be this OR that. I could be this AND that.
So, to folks who create movies and book and television programming for our kiddos — Because let’s get serious, our littles are inundated with media.
Could you please create the biggest, widest open space for our kiddos? Could you please give them 347 ways of being to choose from? Could you please nurture their curiosity and their creativity? Could you please create characters and story lines that help empower them?
As mamas, we are trying our best and giving our kids the best we have to offer.
And we kindly ask that the products you create do the same.
Can we please have some princesses with long hair, and short hair and maybe even no hair? Can we please have softball playing, bow-wearing girls? Can we have boys who love to sing and paint? Can we have princes and heroes that are short and pale and not in the 100% percentile of the growth curve? Can we take our kiddos to see movies where the characters model kindness and quirkiness and joy? Can you help us give our kiddos the best shot at reveling in their authenticity?
Mamas, here’s to giving ourselves and our families enough grace, freedom and encouragement to choose AND.