|With three girls in my house ages seven through thirteen, you can imagine the number of living examples I get to observe of the topics I’ve studied like girl aggression, the female brain, the developmental stages of girls, the psychology of humans and the importance of mental health.
I spent this past week working with girls ages 11 through 13 on the importance of team mindset in their school sports. I was honored to witness the beauty of a group of girls working together. It was so special and I feel a responsibility to be an available support person in their lives – these are the girls of my own small community.
Fast forward to the end of the week when one of my daughters came to me.
“Mom! What did you do???”
I stopped, stunned, searching my brain for something that I may have done wrong.
“What hon? What’s wrong?”
It turned out that her friend was upset with her. It had got back to her friend that the moms were talking about a vicious message that had been sent from one girl to my daughter. The story had gone around blaming the wrong girl.
Let’s pause for a minute here. There are a lot of things at play.
There had been a vicious message to my daughter that broke my heart to read it.
I had chosen to not get directly involved but rather to focus on my daughter’s reaction and helping her create space between the message and how she identified with herself. I intended to focus on building resiliency against future inevitable meanness rather than take it upon Mama Bear to bring the hammer down.
That didn’t stop me from bringing up the message a few weeks later as myself and two other moms conversed over a glass of wine. I quoted it and explained what I was doing with it and asked for input on what to do with some of the meanness going around. I made extra careful to not name any names, partly to protect the girls and partly because I believe that any girl, including my own daughter, is capable of making a snap reaction and sending a vicious message. In this case, the who didn’t matter, it was the what that I was looking to solve.
It only took 24 hours for that conversation to come back to my daughter. One of the moms had made an assumption about who sent the message and passed the story along to another mom who brought it up with her daughter who told… well, you know how this goes…
I’m curious what you might be thinking right now. I know what I’ve been thinking and feeling.
I’m sad that this girl now has doubts in her mind about whether the community of moms supports her or not.
I’m sad that these girls witnessed the gossiping of their mothers and we’ve modeled the same behaviors we tell them not to partake in.
I’m sad that our human nature, our ego and our desire for a story to tell still overtakes our desire to spread love, not harm.
So what did I do? I’ll tell you next week, but I’m curious to hear what your thoughts are – what would you do?
Email me at Tracy@girlsChangingtheWorld.com
But for this week – I’ve got a big spotlight on role modelling behavior and making sure our girls feel that they have a supportive community. I can do better – always.
We can do better.
So if something comes across your feed or you hear a story that seems juicy enough to tell, catch yourself sharing details that could potentially negatively brand a girl with a story for a season, when she’s probably just passing through a chapter. These girls are growing and figuring things out. It’s not a new problem.
Viciousness is not okay but the only way we can eradicate it is if we lead with compassion.
Sending love out to the world today
P.S. Feel free to contact me if you have a group of girls that would benefit from a Team Mindset Workshop. The more girls can recognize the importance of building each other up, the more successes they’ll have, both on and off the court.