A girl’s determination

Partner and I sneaked off to London this week on a work day, and one of the instructors who covered my Taekwon-do classes texted me in the evening to say how well behaved the students had been. “They were so determined” she said.

Her use of the word ‘determined’ really struck me. It leapt out of the phone screen and filled my heart with pride. I said it out loud to myself, “determined”, and smiled with satisfaction once I’d done so. It is surely onomatopoeic, as you can only say it with a sense of purpose in your voice. Here is a word that is so full of possibility, that for a negative to be the outcome of its usage would be a travesty.

Wanting to keep my thoughts of this wonderful word positive, I thought about it in relation to the book that I have written, ‘Raising Girls who can Boss it…and Staying Sane’. Because if there is one thing in life that girls are going to need in order to boss it, it is determination. Determination to smash their way through stereotypes. Determination to make sure their voice is heard. Determination to close the gender pay gap. Determination to be taken seriously. Determination not to be sucked into a fake world, that is based solely on looks and likes.

By hovering over our daughters and protecting them, we are diminishing their determination. By expecting too much of them, they are losing their determination to succeed. The obsessive nature of the waterfall of social media, too easily dilutes a determination to be happy with who she is and what she has.

To me, the word ‘determination’ screams of resilience, resourcefulness and independence. It shouts to me of a girl who is single minded and confident. One who has success in her sights, whatever the odds that are stacked against her.

Say this word out loud: “determination”. Its power is already there linguistically; you have just given it a strong voice.

This is the voice we must give our daughters. The voice of determination is what they are going to need to boss it in this world and its strength almost speaks for itself.

13 thoughts on “A girl’s determination”

  1. Hi Alison
    A less flippant response from me, for once! Anything that applies to girls applies to boys also. Self esteem is wafer thin in boys too and bringing them up properly is just as important. All our children need to be taught to be kind, caring, resourceful, strong, thoughtful and determined. Making change will come through reasoning with people. Remember the fable of the person who removes his layers through the warmth of the sun rather than the cold blow of a wind.

    To use an analogy, as a committed vegan, I have passion/anger flying round inside me all the time when I see so many people using abusing and eating sentient beings on a daily basis. And yet I know that the only people I have convinced to go vegan has been through quiet and rational discourse. All the images of animals being abused doesn’t bother people who are determined not to care. People care when they see how it affects them – e.g. the way we paw and fawn over our own pets but happily allow dogs to be bred and experimented on in the name of animal research… I could go on A LOT!!!

    Women are equal and, in many many ways better than men and deserve equal treatment for the following reason – WE ARE THE SAME!!! Forget all the Men from Mars and Girls from Venus stuff. We should be treated the same because we are the same. Boys and men have insecurities too. There are also lots of horrible women (present company excepted, of course!)

    My own view is that my children should feel equal and should act as such. No better or worse. To my mind, there are polite and impolite people. Unfortunately, I think there are more impolite people than polite ones but this is not a gender issue… it’s an educational one.

    You strike me as a brilliant mum though and a great role model.

    1. Yes, I totally agree that many things need to be applied to boys too. The thing is, I’ve written a book on raising girls and so was relating this post to my book, which is only about girls. Children should be made to feel equal and parents of boys need strategies to bring them up feeling this way. I disagree that boys and girls are the same. In many ways I think they are and in some ways I think they are different, partly through nature and partly through nurture. The focus of this post was relating my initial thought to my book, which is only focusing on what I know the most about dealing with and as you know, that’s girls! Thanks for your (non flippant) comments. They give rise to a huge debate. As you said, I could go on! x

  2. It’s an interesting word isn’t it? And sometimes used in an almost derogatory way implying an obstinate nature or an unwillingness to compromise. I like your definition more! Yes, resilience and independence are so important. #ablogginggoodtime

  3. Determination is great and I try to teach the same ethos to my boys, my mantra is never give up. I use it myself as a woman and it’s served me pretty good so far:)

  4. A powerful post, I love an onomatopoeia. I don’t have a girl to raise but am raising a determined son that will also respect and encourage determined women. I hope you had a wonderful time in London. Thank you for linking to #stayclassymama xx

  5. Love this post! Determination is so important for us all, and I like your definition of this, independence and resilience. I think sometimes we helicopter parent but we have to remember it’s important for us to let them be who they want to be. Thanks for sharing with #stayclassymama!

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