Monday, May 3, 2010

Je Ne Sais Quoi: Wisdom from the Mouths of (Teenage) Babes

This past Saturday I had the pleasure of attending a girls' night out. It was an event where I was at least twice as old as the average attendee (which made me feel both young and old at the same time!).

The evening was packed with fun activities and lots of boldly colored snacks. We decorated the covers of journals with collage; we applied sequins and paint to tote bags; and we enjoyed the customary slumber-party makeovers.

Needless to say, it was a blast. And during the evening, I had an opportunity to ask the girls a lot of questions about what it's like being a teen today. And so we talked about clothes. We talked about boys. And we talked about body image and confidence and gossip. And I concluded that apart from the radical change in technology (ie Facebook, texting, etc.), being a girl today isn't that much different from when I was a girl.

The last request I asked of the girls was for their advice. If you were talking to a group of young women your age, I inquired, what would you tell them?

And the answers, I think, are good for women of all ages to hear.

In a nutshell, the wisdom they shared was "be yourself." Don't let boys or friends persuade you to be someone else. Don't let magazines and television convince you to change your looks. And don't be one person on, say...MySpace, and another with your parents and teachers.

It was simple advice, but poignant.
I went into the evening expecting to talk about the usual issues: "sexting" in schools, online bullying, dress code dilemmas, and the like. But what I had overlooked was the underlying issue: authenticity.

I am extremely grateful to the girls for sharing their thoughts, especially since they challenged me to consider the bigger picture with a timeless pursuit: being true to ourselves.

My plan is to not let their good advice go to waste. I'm currently preparing a seminar/workshop for girls (and moms!) just their age, and I can't wait to talk more about being authentic in today's technological era.

So thank you, ladies, for your insight!
You're already well on your way to je ne sais quoi--

If you could give advice to young women today, what would it be? Share by posting your thoughts below--


  1. Cherish this time in life and cultivate a sense of confidence in the woman you are becoming. May sound crazy but look for someone older (like Steph) that can mentor you and who has been through this stage in life before! Someone who can challege, encourage, and build up your confidence in who God created you to be! You don't have to know exactly who you are at this point in life but begin to have an idea of what you want to be and go for it!

    Jessica Frank

  2. Finding a mentor is great advice for any age! Great tip, Jessica!

  3. Hey Steph! It sure was a fun night! My advice to girls would be to dream and hope. Don't settle on the mediocre relationships, the people who tear you down instead of lifting you up. Dream about that guy God has planned for you and start praying for him now. And allow God to be your romancer so that when the time comes and the right guy comes along, you can see God's love through him. Thanks for writing such a great blog! If you are bored and feel like reading mine it's I just started posting things again since you are inspiring me :) Have a blessed day!


  4. Thank you, Emily! Great advice--especially the part about not settling for mediocre relationships! And I Will check out your blog!


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