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As I watch my two daughters’ childhood days tumble away like leaves in the wind, I find myself thinking about their futures. I wonder how my parenting philosophies, combined with the powerful external forces of our society, will affect the women they will become. And, like any loving mother, I have incredible dreams for my girls.
However, my dreams for my kids are not attached to an ideal profession or a perfect husband. I don’t fantasize about the grandchildren they will give me or how they will become crazy rich and take care of me (although I wouldn’t object to being pampered). Instead, I focus on their overall well-being and I hope to see them find fulfillment socially, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.
As my little girls grow into influential women, I would like for them to have:
1. Real Love: When I think about real love for my daughters, it transcends the typical romantic love from Hollywood movies. The type of love I want for my daughters is not attached to preconceived notions or gender boundaries. I want them to experience consistent unfailing love despite their fluid emotions and human weaknesses. Instead of being loved based on what they can do for a partner, friend, or family member, they deserved to be loved for being themselves.
2. Safe Spaces: As young Black girls, my daughters have a myriad of complex social issues to face. Their brown skin and gravity-defying hair will cause them to beam with pride one moment and bring them unwarranted hatred the next moment. I want my daughters to have safe spaces to come together and bond with other women like them. The blogs, websites, and social groups that my daughters and their peers create should be filled with information, encouragement, and inspiration, and free of infiltration by people who cannot relate to their struggles. And, as women, I hope there are more places where my girls and other ladies can come together and create their own definitions of feminism and true freedom.
3. Jet Setting: The world is an adventure and I want my girls to take advantage of their time on Earth. I hope they travel together and see the Seven Wonders of the World, swim in foreign waters, learn different languages, and spend a Christmas in London. I believe jet setting will help them become passionate and empathetic global citizens.
4. Health Choices: I want my daughters to have access to healthcare systems that are designed to provide a wide range of choices concerning their reproductive system, mental wellness, and holistic health. If they need birth control, then it should not be a complex battle. If they struggle with mental health issues like their Mommy, I want counseling to be easily accessible and affordable. And, I hope they will never be shamed about their bodies or sexual choices by a health professional who should be their advocates.
5. Career Liberty: As my daughters complete grade school and look toward their lives as adults, I want them to truly have the freedom to choose their path. Instead of their school or social circle pushing them toward a supposed “career track,” I want them to feel completely comfortable with wandering for a few years. I would rather see them wander and go through a series of career changes than wake up every morning in misery as they trudge off to a cubicle hell. I often wonder if my bright and beautiful 4-year-old will decide to be a freelance writer or if my sweet yet stubborn baby girl will be an entrepreneur. I hope whatever they choose to do with their lives will bring them success that is not measured in money, but true happiness and satisfaction.
6. Financial Freedom: When I dream about financial freedom for my girls, it is not about being rich or owning a long list of material items. To me, financial freedom is not being an indentured servant to college costs or irresponsible debts. I want my girls to live (mostly) debt-free and to have flexibility in their financial portfolio. Instead of putting their faith into one job, I hope they take a leap of faith and diversify their income. As I begin to teach them how to save, I hope my lessons stick with them as they pay themselves before paying anyone else. And, when they want to jet set or pamper themselves, their financial freedom will allow them to do it without second thoughts.
7. Spiritual Balance: In this increasingly volatile society, I hope my daughters are able to tap into their own inner equilibrium and achieve true spiritual balance. I don’t want them to become so bogged down by the daily stress of life that they forget the incredible power of prayer, meditation, and sitting in silence. I hope their ability to find calm in a raging storm is so inspiring that it spreads to everyone around them.
8. Incredible Memories: Life can be a wonderful journey and I am confident that my daughters will have countless incredible memories. While they are small, I am creating these memories through candid conversations, Saturday projects, and family vacations. But, as they grow older and venture into the world, I hope they surround themselves with people who have a zest for life and create memories that they can laugh about when they are old women.
9. Lifelong Humility: As my husband and I work hard and raise our girls, we are teaching them to be grateful and humble people. Yes, I want them to be proud of the amazing things they will accomplish. But, no matter how many places they visit, how educated they become, or the amount of money they have in their checking account, I hope they will remain humble and never forget where they come from.
10. Emotional Openness: I want my daughters to be in tune with their emotions. As women, it is imperative that they feel free to express joy and pain in healthy amounts. They will be expected to be bitter, jealous, or catty since they are Black women, but I hope they will eschew the stereotypes and be bold enough to display a wide range of emotions in front of the world. Most importantly, if the people around them are not willing to be receptive to their dynamic emotions, then I want them to change their inner circle.
Of course, my list of desires for my daughters is endless. And they may not be able to experience all of these things simultaneously. Honestly, some of them may not happen the way I have envisioned. But, if my girls are able to achieve a life where they can travel, live, love, pray, laugh, express themselves, and have stability, then I will be an elated mommy.