Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Please Don't Call Her Bossy - It's Leadership #KidsDeserveIt

I'm a dad, I have a daughter and please don't ever call her bossy. 

For years as a teacher when I was still in my 20s I would hear it, from parents or other teachers. That girl is bossy, she tells people what to do, she doesn't listen, she always takes charge. It hasn't stopped -  at school, at the pool with neighbors and of course in the media.

I've seen it for boys also- he's a leader, strong, captain, takes the initiative, someone you would follow. Why is there such a difference in how we describe our children based on their gender? 

At my last school where I was Principal there was a very strong girl who was often referred to as bossy. I'd always refute those people and explain my position. I finally called her parents one day to talk. Telling them how important I felt it was to never use the word bossy. We must keep her fire burning inside to be a future leader in our world, the stakes are high if her flame goes out, she may loose that edge if the message she hears keeps pushing her back. 

After I spoke with the parents they came back to me about a week later. We had another long talk and they expressed their feelings and gratitude for our previous conversation. They'd heard it from others about their daughter as well and had actually been concerned and tried to 'calm' down her leadership. 

I told them to embrace her energy, push her to achieve greatness, never let anyone tell her she can't, open all doors and make everything/anything possible, harness her 'captain' like oratory skills as a leader and to never look back!

As a Principal I'm always trying to build my teachers into leaders. Working in elementary schools my entire life, I've usually been surrounded by female teachers. It's astounding how many amazing women I've worked with over the years that I talk to about being a Principal. 

"You should get your administrative credential, you'd be an awesome Principal!" (me)

"Me, oh no, really, I don't think I could do what you do." (them)

"Yes you can, you'd be an awesome Principal, you're so organized, great with people and see the big picture of a school." (me)

"Wow, thanks, I never thought about being a Principal before." (them)

I never want my daughter to think that it's not possible, that she can't do it, that it's not attainable, that she must stand in the back or out of the inner circle, that someone else should be there instead of her.

She/they must always believe they can, we must tell them they can, we must show them they can, again and again and again. We're fighting an uphill battle for our girls and we can't let up, they deserve it, all girls deserve the opportunity!

This is a huge issue, with so many resources and people trying to empower girls/women in many different ways!

We must empower our girls! They aren't bossy, they're leaders, and our future leaders!

This TED Talk from Sheryl Sandberg is worth every minute to watch. We must empower our girls, please don't call them bossy. They're leaders and must maintain that mindset so they continue to lead and achieve! I also highly recommend her book Lean In, it's a great read for anyone!

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