Mamas&Papas :: Editor's Letter
March 2016 issue Volume 8 No. 75

Daughters Of The Future...

We are preparing our daughters for failure.

There’s no other way of saying it. All spheres of society prepare the girl-child to marry from as early possible with fairy tales of a prince charming whisking her away on
her wedding day. The reality, however, is far from the whimsical image we paint for our children. Today he might be here, but tomorrow he can be snatched away from her while she is left to pick up the pieces.

It is time we stop the subliminal messaging to our daughters about what makes a wife. The books and toys we buy them, the chores we assign them in the home, and the way we let their male family members treat them all engrave in their psyche an understanding of their future role in society – one of subservience to and dependence on men. How many parents teach that the end goal of happiness is marriage with children, rather than a life of personal growth and self-fulfillment?

While marriage is indeed a blessed union between a loving couple and can be a life-changing experience, we have to equip our children for the reality that their life may not have that particular ending – and that is okay! Let’s equip them with the education, knowledge and the skills to fend for themselves emotionally and financially, so that they are never reliant on a man for their self-worth and existence.

When asked what our daughters bring to the table, they should be able to declare that they are the table! They will have been imbued with a culture of independence and self-respect, as well as completeness of being so that they never have to seek meaning outside of themselves. Let us throw away terms like ‘broken homes’, which insinuate that children whose parents are no longer together are damaged or imperfect souls. Instead, we need to teach our children that they are perfectly loved and not lacking in any way so as to be thought of as a ‘broken’ child. Their contribution to society will be as solid as the emotional and personal investment you make in your child today… this moment.

As society as a whole marches forward with the times, our culture remains stuck in the past. Single women are not always afforded the same respect or consideration as their married counterparts, even though they may be better off and happier. Their social standing in the community is questioned, their reputations frowned upon and their opinions discarded as insignificant. Our daughters observe this perpetual injustice and unless we establish in them a true sense of their place in this world, the paradigm will not shift.

Consider the conversations you had with your parents and elders decades ago. The content of the discourse was not as important as the manner in which it was conducted. Respect was the foundation of any interaction with another person, yet today we are bombarded with news media that smacks of disrespect, anger and hatred. Where does this come from? There is more to your parenting responsibilities than your child’s economic emancipation, so the next time you enter a fast-food drive-through or take your shopping from the bag lady in the supermarket after standing in a long queue, remember the power of your words. Your child, your daughter, is watching everything you say and do and she will one day blossom into the being that you have nurtured.

More importantly, when the women in the family gather together, celebrate everyone – the grandmother whose husband is long gone; the single auntie with children and no husband; the auntie who cannot bear any children of her own. Show your daughter that every woman in the family has a voice and demands respect from the men around them and society at large. Teach your sons and your daughters to respect not just humanity, but all living things. Happiness doesn’t come in a lucky packet. It is not the absence of conflict, but an internal state of being that can only be achieved by a greater understanding of their place in the world – show your children your happiness!

We care…

Nawaal M


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