Last week when I picked Miss Lizzy up from pre-school, one of her teachers relayed to me that there had been an ‘incident’. In the two minutes it took me to get upstairs to her my mind raced with images of injuries, fights and a million improbable scenarios. (I wish my brain functioned as quickly in all situations.)
As it turns out Miss Lizzy had been reading a book when all the children were asked to put away their activities and transition to lunch. Miss Lizzy is usually one of the first to do what her teachers ask her to do, but that day, instead of complying, she told her teacher that she wanted to continue reading her book. When her teacher had insisted, Miss Lizzy had thrown the book to the floor in anger. She was kept behind and made to tidy away her book – something that she reluctantly, and after some persuasion, eventually did.
I wasn’t sure what was expected of me in terms of my response to this, but I appreciated the insight into my daughter’s day. I reiterated to Miss Lizzy, in front of her teacher, that she must do what she was told and Miss Lizzy apologised.
Later that evening, over a telephone catch up with my mum, I mentioned how Miss Lizzy had acted at school. My mum’s response was “good”.
Good? I was at least expecting “oh dear”
Mum explained – Miss Lizzy is always such a good girl, always doing what she is told, she felt it showed great spirit that Miss Lizzy had stood up for something that she wanted; that when she really believed in something that she would take a stand.
I tell my daughters every night, before they go to sleep, that I love them and that I am proud of them. That night I was proud of Miss Lizzy for taking her stand.
Today is International Women’s Day. A day of recognition and celebration of the achievements of women around the world. A day when we, as women, join together to fight for women’s rights. A day when we try to initiate positive change in women’s lives.
I do not know what my daughters will achieve in their lifetimes. I do not yet know what challenges they will face, nor what obstacles they will have to overcome. I do not know what equality will look like by the time they reach adulthood.
I have no expectations of my daughters, but I have hopes for them and hopes for me as their mother.
I hope that I will be able to inspire my daughters to realise their potential, to help them find a place of confidence in the world, wherever that be. I hope they understand that education is a privilege not a chore. I hope that ‘happy’ and ‘fulfilled’ have more meaning to them than ‘popular’ and ‘pretty’. I hope that they will always stand by each other.
And lastly, I hope that I can allow my daughters the freedom to take a stand when they really believe in something.