Raising a daughter in today’s society is unlike any time in the past. With all the opportunities open to women, we need to encourage our daughters to believe in themselves and develop their talents. Life is competitive and much more unpredictable than in past generations. Women need to be strong and self-reliant. Many will be the sole support of their families.
I’ve tried to raise my daughter to believe that she deserves to get everything she needs rather than just teaching her how to give to others. This is not to say that I’ve encouraged her to be selfish. A women needs to develop her abilities and to have pride in her accomplishments before her gifts can be valued and appreciated by others.
We have all seen career volunteers who are on duty for every cause, staff every event, and seem compelled to serve. This can be admirable or dangerous. If a woman does not have a satisfying life outside of the giving arena, she is at risk of giving her all and having nothing for herself. Worse, her gifts may not be valued as much because her talents are undeveloped. It is a recipe for disappointment, hurt and resentment.
Every child is a unique and unrepeatable act of God.—Pope John Paul II
Unless we actively cultivate and seek to enrich and expand our talents, we are empty vessels when the work is done. Secure in the knowledge that we are giving from a wealth of abilities, we not only make a more valuable contribution, but in the giving, we receive something in return on which to build. In doing so, we fulfill our part in God’s Plan and make the world a better place.
This philosophy applies to love, as well. We cannot truly love others unless we first love ourselves. If we don’t see our own strengths, it’s unlikely that others will. Again, an emotionally needy giver feels empty and can feel resentful and unloved by others. A woman with well developed self-esteem and confidence in her capabilities can give almost endlessly without ever losing and, in fact, becomes a stronger, more compassionate and satisfied person in the process.
Don’t take my word. Examine your own life patterns, thoughts, values, and talents and your daughters. You alone set your goals and limits. If you’re not maximizing your potential, you’re cheating yourself and everyone else.
So, what are you going to do first? It’s up to you.