Lessons I have learned propel me to raise my daughter to know her own needs and to understand the importance of having them met.

Furthermore, that in our home and family, her voice is equally weighted with others, despite it being quieter, and that she must fight, when necessary, to say it is her turn to speak and that others are drowning her out.

When I was young, these things were not protected in society, and although we had our strongly supported voices at home, by our empowering parents, we obeyed signals from other authorities, and the gender biased culture, which said, “sit down, be quiet.”

Being young and impressionable, I obeyed, and allowed my life, and my voice, to be insignificant to myself and others. I squandered time playing to the desires and expectations of others, instead of my own. Even more tragically, I suppressed my intellect and leadership abilities, as they rendered me unpopular and undesirable to some, and it was far easier to be popular and fun, than smart or convicted.

In recent years, this realization has driven me to reclaim myself, my time, and my life; and so my daughter will be taught how precious her every thought, passion, and desire, truly is, and to be excruciatingly protective of her thoughts, time, mind, and heart.

I have this same hope for ALL GIRLS. True equity and confidence start with every word spoken at home, school, and in our communities. Let us be cognizant and extend great effort to protect them from the loss of themselves