Sometimes we need to give our kids a break from inspirational quotes and just let them have a laugh. My 13 y/o daughter in particular is bombarded with ‘you can be/do anything’ messages:
Are you on your period? Why not ride a bike in tiny shorts! (Here’s an old favourite featuring a soundtrack by Dr Alban. He’s not a proper doctor).
Are you a girl? Declare yourself a goddess! And a scientist. And a philanthropist. And a footballer. All while demonstrating heightened levels of wokeness and self-care and an ability to raise up your fellow goddesses.
I will admit to being complicit in this. I keep an especially watchful eye out for my daughter and ensure she has a ready supply of kick-ass role models whether it’s in print or repeatedly pointing out to her that there are women we know who are scientists and sensei’s and generally all-round awesome human beings.
The worry I have is that by constantly pointing out to our girls “they can be/do anything” and that they must accept themselves fully, we’re building in a sense that the world at large doesn’t accept them in the first place. And then there’s the question of being even-handed with our boys… My son doesn’t have a book of inspirational ‘man quotes’.
As a family, we point out inequality, call people out when they make generalised statements and demonstrate to our children how fortunate they are to have the number of opportunities they enjoy. They understand the lottery of where you are born and under what circumstances you come into the world. But it can get a bit well, you know, earnest. And it leads me to believe that sometimes we need to take a break from all the #inspo and let our kids have a bloody good laugh.
This need was beautifully illustrated today when my daughter presented me with her art homework.
The brief: Use words that are meaningful to you to create a typography portrait of yourself.
Her response: “Hello all” – the catchphrase of the marvellous, misguided, bewilderingly off-kilter Jim in Friday Night Dinner 😀
I regularly perform stand up about family life (much to my children’s horror). Want to book me? Get in touch at email@example.com.
Update! Having tweeted my daughter’s work, the creator of Friday Night Dinner, Robert Popper, retweeted it to his 50k+ followers. In doing so, he absolutely made my daughter’s day. Something that wouldn’t have been achieved had she used an inspirational quote for her homework 😉