Today, my 13-year-old daughter and I worked finished her extreme bedroom makeover. Yep, 3 months after we started it, we committed to finishing it. We both agreed we would commit to the following:
- no whining
- lots of humor and laughter to ward off frustration
- no longing to be outside
- a commitment to working until we finished
- sharing the responsibilities whether they included screwdrivers, drills, hammers, or paintbrushes
Now, I realize as I type this post, you are probably asking yourself, “Where is this going? What does cleaning a teen bedroom have anything to do with gardening, farming or homesteading?!?”
I’ll tell you.
I am raising a girl who will eventually become a woman. I am nurturing her, tending to her, raising her. Just as my parents did for me, I am teaching her skills she’ll need to be independent and self-sufficient whether she follows in my footsteps as a farmer and homesteader or not.
I am amazed that in this time and day that stereotypes still exist about what girls can and can’t do. For example, did you
know that girls can hang a picture and drill a hole, but that we need a pink tool kit to do it. Seriously?!
So how do we raise girls to become women who can not only bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan, but can also launder it, build it, hang it, drill it, hoe it, nail it, rake it, plant it, and on and on and on? Well, here’s what I’m doing:
- Model it–I don’t just fix things on my own, I let my daughter get involved. I show her how to do it first then give them the opportunity to try it herself. My daughter wanted to put all the door knobs on our doors when we started converting our home to a little farmhouse. At 10-years-old, she learned how to accomplish this task. Even if we still have to tighten them time and again, her sense of pride when she was done is worth it.
- Share it–I tell girls about my successes, mistakes, and dreams. I let them know they can do anything. Mistakes are ok, successes are many, and dreams are always attainable.
- Try it–Girls of a certain age have a tendency to feel insecure about their abilities. I show them first then teach them how to do it for themselves. I offer a lot of encouragement as they complete a task.
- Be it–I don’t expect my daughter to pick up skills from tv, magazines, cell phones, and computers. She needs to see me cook, garden, plant, fix, build, etc.
- Talk it–As I “be it,” I also “talk it.” She needs to hear the step-by-step process by which I complete my homesteading/farming/gardening tasks. If she doesn’t participate, I also tell her how much I love being outside, canning jams, fixing things around the house,etc. She may not think they are “cool” now, but I’m planting seeds for the future.
Most importantly, enjoy it! It doesn’t have to be “work.” Make it engaging and interesting. Needless to say, sometimes, teens and tweens don’t necessarily want to do those boring or hard jobs they see us do as adults. It is our attitude and approach, however, that determine if our girls grow into women who can, as Beyonce so fondly sings, “run the world.”
As for my daughter and me, we may not be running the world today, but we sure did install a ceiling fan, hang box shelves, and patch holes in the wall. For today, that is enough.