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--