This past week, our community had the opportunity to hear from Rachel Simmons, author of The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence. Rachel spoke with parents, staff and our girls from Grades 4-12 over two days about a variety of issues, including healthy relationships, respect for differing opinions, and mindfulness.
Rachel’s message to girls and parents about the importance of working on one’s inner resume as opposed to just one’s paper resume stood out for me. As she points out, relationships take work, and girls need to develop the skills to be able to successfully navigate their intricacies. Rachel shared her thoughts about the need for girls to focus on being self-aware and assertive, and to work to develop courage and create personal authority. The tension arises as girls work to understand that there are positives to stumbling and failing, and yet they are asked to highlight all of the seemingly ‘perfect’ areas in which they shine for their post-secondary applications and paper resumes.
While we may not be able to change the fact that the post-secondary application process requires our girls to demonstrate their interests and capacity on paper, we can work to support them in developing relationship skills. Anyone who is trying to please others at the expense of herself ultimately loses her identity- something that we do not wish for anyone but particularly our bright, capable Clementines. As parents and as a School, our role is an important one; we must assist in not only acknowledging the tension that exists between allowing for failure and working to gain access to top-notch university and college programs, but also in assuring our girls that they will be the better for having stepped outside their comfort zones, stumbling and thus learning and growing.