Saturday, January 22, 2011

Exactly As I Am

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While writing Helping Your Daughter Live a Powerful Life (release date: 2011), I read Exactly as I Am by Shaun Robinson, a book filled with advice from well-known women.

Following are some excellent nuggets from Robinson about “what it takes to believe in yourself.”

1: You Are Who You Are

Many teenagers look in the mirror and see less than they desire. I totally get this. The mirror was not a friend of my younger self. Robinson reports that stars such as Janet Jackson, Sharon Stone and Jennifer Love Hewitt also felt the same way. Sharon Stone said, “I didn’t think I was pretty until I was thirty-three years old. Think of all the time I wasted.” It’s important to help our daughters love who they are. If you are trying to change your child, she knows it. Take the lead by loving her for who she is.

2: If You Fall, Get Back Up

Ever watched The Rookie starring Dennis Quaid? This feel-good movie, based on a true story about someone going after his dream, demonstrates the path to dreams isn’t necessarily easy. While you are heading in the direction of your dreams, there will be challenges and upsets. Meredith Vieira, Today Show co-host, shared with Robinson that she was fired from her first television job after being told she didn’t have what it takes. “My father found me crying and asked, ‘Do you believe you have what it takes?’” Veira said. “I answered, ‘Yes,’ to which he said, ‘Then why do you care what anyone else thinks?’” Helping our children learn this message is key. We can model this behavior. When things go wrong, don’t crumble. You may fall, but after sitting there awhile, dust yourself off and reevaluate. Make a new plan. Change the plan. Your child will learn from observing you.

3: Reach for the Stars

In The Rookie the character played by Dennis Quaid almost said no to his opportunity to play professional baseball. He was old. He had a decent job. Change would be risky. The only place your child will reach taking the practical or safe road is regret. How do you help your children? Get to the heart of their desire. Ask them what they are aspiring to do. Ask what they want from a goal. Being famous or rich is not a dream worth pursuing. A dream worth pursuing is the dream your child can’t shake, what she does without reward—one that features her skills and talents. Even if parents cannot see it, there are practical uses for a child’s dream. Author Caroline Myss said her family thought she was making a major mistake pursuing a theology degree. “What do you do with theology?” they asked. For Myss it turned out to be an excellent choice. Her best-selling works are laced with theology. Danica Patrick, world-famous woman race-car driver said to Robinson, “Find something that you love to do and you are good at and make a career of it.”

4: Embrace Your Uniqueness

Loving who you are can be difficult for teen-agers. Eva Mendes shared with Robinson’s readers, “The most challenging time in my life was between the ages of thirteen and eighteen. I felt physically awkward and socially inept. I was so insecure about not only how I looked but about everything I said.” Sharing your own experiences with your children will help them be kinder to themselves.

Shaun Robinson says, “What I learned from all the women I interviewed was about how to embrace yourself—warts and all.” Robinson’s book reminded me of this message. Thanks, Shaun.

Allyn Evans
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