Thursday, January 23, 2014
G Day For Girls
Life is so simple when you are 4 and 5 years old- your friends are usually relationships of convenience more than anything- relatives and neighbours. It's easy to find common ground- play is fun- snacks are fun- Curious George is fun- no one cares what you look like or what brand of jeans you are currently sporting. The general rule of thumb is as long as everyone is being kind to one another, sharing toys and not hitting the play will continue- small children quickly come to realize that if co-operative pay is not established the end result will be no play- the goal of play is to continue playing as long as possible and this is achieved through getting along with one another. Life is good.
Fast forward five years to the pre teen years- while my own daughter is not at this stage I do remember it well from my own childhood. I vividly remember the time when girls stopped wanting to play and became more interested in clothes, hair and attracting the opposite sex. Personally I was really confused- I was much more interested in riding bikes, building forts and burning ant hills and with the same boys that my friends were all trying to lure into a dark closet- yeah I was that girl. I also had the universal prank of developing early blessed upon me- so my body and my heart were decidedly at odds. I felt so trapped in my developing body and could not express the thoughts and feelings whirling around- my Mom tried her best but I didn't feel like she would understand. We lived far away from our extended family and so any support I may have found in my aunts was too far removed- I had no one to turn to with my questions and felt very alone. At the same time I felt incredibly betrayed by my girl friends who had changed seemingly overnight- I was different than them- still wanting to be a little kid and unable to express that.
So you may at this point be wondering why I am spilling my guts today- why am I exposing my vulnerabilities? The entire reason lies in my desire to participate in a conversation about supporting our youth and making the path easier for the young ladies of this generation. While both of my kids are still quite young I can see they are dealing with very personal emotions that are a struggle for them to talk about- I want to create a safe environment where they can express themselves- especially my girl. Not too long ago our society was a village or a tribe if you will- women worked together- not just to get physical work accomplished but to survive- to celebrate womanhood, marriages and births. I feel that in our modern society we have lost that connection to our tribe- the saying "it takes a village to raise a child" is still as true today as it ever was even if we have to go a bit farther afield to make it happen.
With all this in mind you can imagine my excitement when I first heard about this wonderful group of women who were creating a safe place for 10-12 year girls to learn about and empower themselves as they move out of childhood into adolescents. G Day for Girls is a new day long workshop designed to do just that- filled with inspiring speakers, yoga and dance, crafts and journaling as well as making connections with their peers. The very first G Day for Girls is taking place this coming April 28- tickets are on sale now! I have a young friend who will be going and can't wait to have her share her experience at G Day with us all here on the blog. She is ten- she is a fierce spirit- she is kind- she is Miss Lo's favourite person (besides me)- she is crafty- she is creative- she will learn to celebrate herself!
I wish G Day for Girls had been around when I was this age- instead we all awkwardly sat around a classroom - both boys and girls learning about sexual health- it was clinical and impersonal- the instructor I'm sure had a deadline to meet and was not interested in sensitivity- there was no time for questions. As a Mom I want my girl to have a healthy relationship with the changes that will be happening in her body- I want her to be sensitive to others going through the same tricky transition. As a Mom I can only hope that I don't scar my girl- that she won't be embarrassed to ask questions- that we will continue to have an open relationship. As a Mom- when she is old enough- I will utilize all resources to help me accomplish this- including G Day for Girls!