In Secrets: You Tell Me Yours and I’ll Tell You Mine, the girl really worries about getting older and how hard it will be to be a teen. She is very aware. Aren’t all of our girls? She is writing a lot of songs, a few of them appear in the book. In one of the songs she says:
“What is in store for me as I get older?
How can I leave behind so much of me?”
Yes, we do leave behind parts of ourselves at each transition in life. And of course, we get new aspects to ourselves. It is very hard to transition. If you have had to move as an adult, or started a new job, or maybe lived through a marriage that fell apart, you know how terribly hard transitions can be. However, sometimes we forget how hard it is to grow up. It is but a distant memory as we go through our busy days. Yet we need to remember and to find ways to help our kids transition.
Can you remember being a kid moving toward puberty, and the teen years? I am asking readers for input. Here is what one reader shared:
“When I was growing up I felt like I couldn’t do anything right. My parents were not ever happy and I was always fighting with my brother and sister. The cool kids in school made fun of me because I was little heavy and most of my clothes were made by my mother or grandmother. We didn’t have a lot of money, in fact I cannot ever remember a time growing up where my parents weren’t worried about how they would pay the bills and put food on the table.
I was thankful that they made my clothes (and in some varity of my favorite color – red) and I wore them proudly but the feelings of shame and confusion because of the kids at school put me in an emotional whirlwind. Sometimes I didn’t know if I was coming or going!
I was worried about it getting worse as I approached middle school and having older kids around that would probably push me about and make fun of me as well. I was scared to death of getting older and things getting worse. I just couldn’t see that life is what I make of it and if I’m not happy with something then I’m the only one who can change it. At that age you are more worried about what your friends think, what rumors are being spread, your school work, and trying to have a little peace and harmony at home then to look at how you can better your own situation and emotional chaos.
Then there was my little sister who got away with everything, blamed me for the things she actually gets in trouble for and who I had to share everything with. We shared a room, had bunk beds, and I never had my own play things. In fact I was stuck with my sister in the same room until I was 17 and my older brother moved out but that is a story for another day and a whole different set of problems.
Growing up is hard, but I think if we stay positive and teach our kids that if they think positive and work towards shaping their life to how they desire it to be instead of following the herd that they can be happy, even during the emotional roller coaster of puberty!”
What a moving story. Our reader overcame many obstacles. And the truth is that most of us do come through puberty and grow up with strong resources, some degree of optimism, humor, caring for others, the capacity to love and many other great traits. But it isn’t easy, and we owe it to our girls to help them through the process with wisdom and support. That’s what I do in my work as a positive psychologist. You may be doing it as a parent, aunt, teacher, guidance counselor, grandparent.
Try reading passages together with your youngster from either The Truth or Secrets. You will find it fascinating, as feelings and thoughts and memories start to be exchanged. This is one of the most therapeutic ways to make sure you have really ‘heard’ and understand your youngster and the bonus is she gets a better chance to ‘hear’ and understand YOU! It is a win, win for both.
Growing up in life your family was your whole world. No matter what was happening you knew that you could always count on them. As with any family you are going to ride a journey of emotions and uncertainty when things change. When changes occur or secrets surface you wonder where you stand, where you fit. You ultimately realize your family is your world, no matter the situation.
For the girl in Secrets: You Tell Me Yours and I’ll Tell You Mine….Maybe, she has to absorb all sorts of changes and emotions that go with growing up as well as dealing with her family. She has to move, get used to a new baby in the family, handle a death of a close relative, learn to navigate the moods and decisions of her parents and lots more. She even has to handle finding out about some family secrets.
I love that I got a chance to share all of this book with two young girls who had just read it. In this short video you get to see Francesca responding to passages in the book, particularly the importance of family in a girl’s life.
You’re not going to believe this! I had the most amazing dream I have ever had in my life last night! And I hope that someday what I dreamed will be the truth.
I was so tired after we got back from Thanksgiving Dinner at the Bailey’s. I could hardly walk into the house. All that turkey and the pumpkin pie and the coffee ice cream. They always have coffee because they know I love it! I ate too much. I flung myself down on my bed in a daze and before I knew it I was asleep. And this is what I dreamed:
There was a boy, about my age, maybe a year older, about 12. And he read about another boy who had been a slave in some far off country, maybe Pakistan? Can you imagine being a slave as a kid? I think he had to help make rugs everyday. Anyway, this boy in Pakistan somehow died and the boy in this country found out. The boy here decided that it wasn’t right that kids should be slaves and he decided to do something about it.
I know just how he must have felt! I want to do things also to make the world a better place. But I don’t always know how. I wish I did.
This boy knew how. He started to talk about the kid that had died and got a group of friends together and they started a club to help slave children around the world.
I can’t remember all of my dream, but I know they called it Free The Children and that eventually the boy went around the world collecting money and got tons of other kids to help raise money to free kids and do lots of other things like build schools for children in places that had no schools.
Just before I woke up I was dreaming about some kids from Minnesota going to Kenya and helping to build a school. Their faces were so radiant. They looked just the way maybe I looked when I won the baking contest in Girl Scouts. I just got to see the new school from the outside in the dream when I heard my mother’s voice, “Get in pajamas. You can’t just sleep all night with your coat on. You’ll get sick.”
And then the dream was gone. I hope someday the dream will come true. I hope I’ll still be alive to see children around the world helping to free other children and to help save the world. And if I am a grown-up by then I hope I’ll remember how it feels to stand up to bad stuff and I be one of their big supporters! Maybe by then it will be my daughter who will be going to Kenya or somewhere to help build a school.
Thanksgiving is next week and I can hardly wait! I love this time of year and all of the family activities. Every year all my family comes to our house and brings something to eat. My Mom calls this a ‘pot luck’ but I have no idea how a pot can have luck so I’ll stick with calling it a family dinner.
It is …
always fun seeing all my aunts, uncles and cousins. Even my Grandma comes and she is so much fun! Sometimes it is stressful though. Sometimes my cousins fight, those dumb boys won’t ever learn to get along I think but it’s funny to hear them fighting like little kids and they are older than I am!
Sometimes my parents fight before everyone gets here and then they try to act like nothing happened but I can see on my Moms face that she is still sad. I’m sad too when they fight. I don’t understand it. Normally the fights are about stupid stuff like if the turkey is big enough or if we have enough plates and some how it just turns into a fight. Maybe it’s the stress of it all? Mom is under a lot of stress for 2 weeks while she plans for Thanksgiving dinner and tries to make sure that everyone doesn’t bring pumpkin pie and nothing else. That would be funny though!
I hope this year there won’t be any fighting and that we can all enjoy the family time because it is so rare that we can get together.
Dear Reader, I also hope you have a wonderful day. Here are a few suggestions and tricks that might help: Doing a special treat for your mom may really help her mood. Maybe you can clean your room and surprise her or set the table before she asks or something else that will make her surprised and pleased. Also look for moments during the day where you can make a real difference. Perhaps you can take the other younger cousins into another room and lead them in some fun games. Or maybe you can graciously offer to slowly walk with grandma in the neighborhood. Anything you can do to make people feel special or to make sure everyone has fun will make a difference. The last thing for the moment, is since your mom worries about the desserts can you make or buy one that will make sure there is a good variety? Chocolate chip cookies never go out of style on any holiday!
(submit your own diary entry to firstname.lastname@example.org)
When Linh and her mother took my first donation to the Orphanage last year they had thought of buying items with my money. But then they decided to let the women who run the facility decide what the children really needed. I think that was a wise decision. However, they did bring the children five big boxes of noodles. Linh said to me at that time in one of her letters, ” If you go to Haiphong, my mother and I will take you to the village to see and explore. The Director said that they wanted to receive more help from you and other philanthropists to improve the village, so they would be very grateful if you gave more gifts. In this mail, I also send you some photos I took in the village this afternoon.”
“Now, I will tell you about the pictures.
There is a photo my mother took in the Vice – director’s room. The woman who was sitting is she. And the woman who was standing next to the table is the secretary. I was standing between them.
Then there is a photo my mother took of the Vanh Khuyen family, when I was giving the certificate to the mother of that family ( the family that brings up handicapped children ).
Then there is the scene in front of the handicapped family.
Then there is one I took with the Vice – director in the large yard.
Oh, I forgot the other picture is of the rest of the village’s extensive yard.
It was very moving for me to get these pictures. I’m very excited that I will be fundraising for the Hai Phong Orphanage.
I hope so much that when a girl or her mom or her grandmom or her teacher finishes reading The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) what will happen next is an open dialogue. That’s why I put in the back of the book questions that naturally lead to deep conversation. Some people think The Truth is an easy read. It may be, but it is a deep read. Just as an Emily Dickenson poem can be very deep in only four lines, so can the thoughts and feelings of this nameless girl who touches our hearts. She is unique, but also one of us. Any girl or woman will identify somewhere in the pages with her. For some it is her energy. For others her ability to solve problems. For others it is her realization that she knows so deeply so many truths. And once we identify then it becomes easy to want to chat and share. I hope you will do so after you read the book. The genuine connection that you will feel with your daughter, yourself and the girl in the book will warm your heart. Please let me know what questions you enjoyed most in the back. You can write to me at email@example.com.
Several years ago I received an e-mail from a young girl in Vietnam who had read The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything), in Vietnamese. She loved the book and decided to write to me. It is a long story, but Linh and I have been penpals for almost two years now. And not only have we written about our lives and our families, we have talked about many subjects, including how important charity is and how important it is to try your best to make the world a better place. Linh shared with my the problems on an orphanage in Vietnam that she is very concerned about. They don’t have enough money and certainly inadequate equipment to try to rehabilitate children with physical and mental disabilities. The women who work at the orphanage try their best, but still the children are not getting the chance they deserve.
I felt for these children and sent money to Linh, mom, Le Thi Hoai Thanh, who took the money for me to the orphanage. Of course Linh went with her. They have actually gone twice and I have been awarded two certificates! Here are a few of the pictures.
Linh and I are determined to raise money for these children and hopefully find some ways to get them the resources to develop their minds and bodies that they need. I never thought I would be working on a cause with a girl I have yet to meet in person, who lives 8000 miles away from me. But Linh has an unbelievable heart and the ability to convince a grown-up like me that we must try to save a small part of the world! These are babies and children and they need our help and resources. Here are some reactions to Linh’s second visit to Hoa Phuong Village:
“Well, Hoa Phuong Village is here again, I thought. I was standing with my mother in the boundless garden of the village. Truthfully, I wanted to visit families there very much ; but first of all, we had to meet the village Vice-director. She was still friendly ; I felt so because she gave me a lot of guavas. They were very sweet and tasty….My mother took a number of photos. After that, a woman took us to a family in which babies and homeless children were brought up. The family had many lovely kids. They were so cute that I just wanted to kiss them, especially an innocent baby. Unfortunately, I don’t know his name. We talked to the two mothers in that family. They were both middle-aged women and they told us a lot about the children. Finally, we said goodbye to the mothers and the kids, and we left with packets of guavas.
I had nice memories after going to Hoa Phuong Village. Therefore, I think all of us-everyone all over the world-should help poor people and children with all our best. To be more exactly, please don’t make them feel lonely and disappointed….” Linh Hoai
For those grown-ups reading this blog: Do you realize that it is the ‘girl’ inside of you as an adult woman, who is your clue, not only to the real you, but to your energy bank of all the positive deposits that can still be withdrawn in your life now. These deposits have within them the sparks of emotional, physical and spiritual energy that you need to move forward to enjoy a meaningful fun life …
Now, do you want to know more about the ‘girl’ inside of you and how to access her?
Also, do you want to know more about how to help your daughters to keep their positive energy alive as they grow up, so their self-esteem will stay strong and their zest for life will be terrific?
That’s what my life work is all about. Give me the an age of a girl or a woman and I can teach the same steps to help her either keep or get back the zest for life and the love of herself that she deserves!
Here are some simple steps to get you or your daughter started:
Take paper and pen and list:
1. What you perceive to be your talents. Not what others tell you. For example, you may know you have a talent to get people in a better mood.
2. List your strengths. Again, not necessarily what others say. For instance, you know that you can think of new solutions to a problem even when others are ready to give up.
3. List your untapped potential. Go for this one. Dream on. Think about early hopes and longings and things you wanted to do. Don’t worry if it doesn’t seem to make sense now. A dream to be a ballet dancer can get reinvented as a person who enjoys square dancing or walking in the sand.
Now circle one item that seems to me the most to you from each list.
Play with how you could use all three items (one from each list) or just one or two to further your happiness over the next year.
Remember PLAY right now in your mind. This is not an exam or scary. Let the creative spark come alive and watch it dance.
I’ve read about your struggles and troubles throughout your diary, and I can tell it hasn’t been easy.Having a mother, for instance, that won’t explain to you the answers of your questions, or your confusion. It was vital to me when I was at your stage of maturing and puberty .It’s never easy, but I know I was glad when I had private talks with my mother about things I didn’t understand, and I too was worried when I’d have my first period, when I’d need a bra, and things like that. My mother did not avoid these questions and I’m glad for that. I’m only a bit older than you are and I would be more than happy to supply you with any help or advice I can, but I still think your parents, especially your mother, should do a better job.Also, about Paul… It’s nice to have a childhood crush, and to want children, I had thoughts about such too. But I need to tell you – you may want to marry your crush, but it’s not a good idea to do it when you’re a teenager, regardless of whether or not your grandmother or other relatives had done it in the past. Let’s just say it’s harmful to have children before you are fully mature, because as a teenager your body wouldn’t handle it as well, and it could hurt you. Whether you had this in mind or not – I warn you….
This young lady has more advice and it will be shared in another blog update. Meanwhile, please get your advice to the ‘girl’ as quickly as possible!