Imagine a world where your daughter has personal power, sovereignty over her own body, a broad understanding of beauty that includes her, the confidence to trust her intuition, healthy relationships and healthy boundaries, and a connection to the natural world around her. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?
Families Need a Network of Support
Families need a network of other supportive people involved in their daughter’s upbringing- coaches, mentors, teachers, etc to counterbalance the negative messages from politicians, main stream media, the public education system, and peer pressure, to name a few. They need other adults in the community to link arms and provide a net of support for girls- physically, emotionally, mentally, socially, and spiritually.
What Do We Hope For?
Katharine Krueger, founder of the Journey of Young Women program, asked, “What do we hope for girls on their journey from girlhood to womanhood?” Her answers inspired me to earn certification as a Journey of Young Women coach…
- To believe in her self-worth, regardless of popularity or looks
- To be safe and make wholesome decisions
- To claim her gifts, talents and strengths with self-confidence
- To have good friends and to be a good friend
- To speak her truth- to those in power and to peers
- To understand, honor, and care for her changing body
A Retreat for Girls (ages 8-12)
I designed my retreat around qualities that every person has in some measure, qualities that need to be nurtured and supported in our young girls, such as compassion, wisdom, and self-care. I integrated stories of the Divine Feminine, movement, role playing, conversation, and creative expression to support each theme in a meaningful way. There was no “direct teaching”; everything was experiential, relevant, and fun!
When we talked about Kuan Yin, we made vessels to hold our own water of compassion.
When we spoke of Aphrodite, we looked through magazines geared to women and girls to see what messages were being sent. They are savvy, perceptive, loving, kind human beings with wisdom beyond their years. They recognize that the definition of beauty goes far deeper than makeup and far broader than a thin body (no pun intended).
Beautiful Inside and Out
The most poignant moment for me took place after our discussion of beauty. Each girl held a mirror and said her own name followed by “You are beautiful inside and out!” Already, at this young age, two girls couldn’t bring themselves to look in their own eyes and say that. One couldn’t do it at all and the other asked, “Miss Susan, can I just say I’m beautiful on the inside?”
With encouragement from me and the other girls, she finally smiled and told herself what she needed to hear, “I AM BEAUTIFUL ON THE INSIDE AND OUT!”
Because meaningful rites of passage are woefully lacking in our culture, the retreat ended with a sacred ceremony that honored each girl individually as she walks the path of puberty and womanhood and also honored them as members of “The Nature Girl Tribe”.