You may be wondering about the purpose of The Truth for Girls. This is where as a positive psychologist and an educator I showcase two great books for girls, The Truth (‘m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) and Secrets: You Tell Me Yours and I’ll Tell You Mine…maybe. These books, part of The Truth Series, are diaries written by a girl who encapsulates the hopes, dreams and reality issues that young women face growing up. She is wise and yet still a child struggling with every growing up issue from crushes, to sibling problems, parental fights, having to move, a death in the extended family, a new baby, girlfriend problems, bullying, trouble in school, and having to figure out a way to grow up strong, happy and resourceful. The girl gives kids, parents and teachers a way to enter into fruitful discussions around all of these critical subjects.
How can we not be influenced by a young girl who has the courage to remind us that it is painful to listen to swearing. It is painful to have a teacher who is dismissive of our thoughts and answers. It is painful to have parents fighting over trivial subjects. And it is painful to worry about growing up and not feel that there is anyone who can take the time to really listen or to answer questions.
Also, how can we not fall in love with a girl who has such courage and determination to make the most out of her life? Whether it is a small thing like feeling the wind as she rides her bike down a hill, or a big thing like finding a way to hold on to some secrets that make it easier to grow up, she is going to be a winner. And isn’t that what we want for all of our kids?
I wrote The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) for many reasons. Perhaps the most important was to help girls hold on to their inner child as they grow up and to help us adults get back to your inner child. Did you realize how precious she really is?
Do you realize that she holds many of your dreams, your wishes, your hopes, your aspirations? She even holds your strengths and potential. She has your coping skills all neatly there from childhood if you need to grab them again! She can guide your to what will bring you true happiness.
Find out what I mean in the following video I need for Askimotv.
When I was in the third grade I couldn’t read and I was ashamed. I pretended to read by trying to memorize some pages in the reader. I sat in agony hoping the teacher didn’t call on me. Phonics just made no sense to me. I couldn’t understand what the teacher was trying to teach when she gave us different sounds that different letters made. I loved Miss Johnson, my teacher, but school was scary. Someday everyone would realize that I couldn’t really read past the first grade level!
But Miss Johnson was going to save me! And that is what you will find out now by listening to my video. She saw more than I realized and she knew how to turn a deficit into a talent!
And see, not only was I saved, but I ended up writing two easy to read books for girls and tweens, The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) and Secrets: You tell me yours and I’ll tell you mine…maybe, so that other kids could feel comfortable reading about growing up in a way that didn’t task their reading skills! There is enough in life to task all of us!
Sometimes as parents or teachers or grandmoms we forget the pain and suffering that go with certain milestones in growing up. One of those milestones is Valentine’s Day. In America we celebrate the day with fervor and make a lot out of it.
I remember in elementary school it was very important to me that my mother let me buy packages of Valentine’s for the whole class. Some years they were finished Valentine’s and some years I had to punch them out of the paper that held them. And some were more personal than others with cute sayings. I would have a method to my madness and of course my closest friends got the most pretty and personal cards. I supposed most of the kids had the same method. And there in lay the first potential trauma of that day. Would my best friend Lynne, send me one of her best?
I would only know once the Valentine Box had been opened and some lucky child was picked to be the first person to hand out Valentine’s. That was a treat also. Sometimes I was chosen, but often not. It only took 4 or 5 children to get them all passed out. I was only at peace that day when I opened my Valentine’s and felt remembered.
My video is here to remind all of us grown-ups that children have very deep and powerful feelings:
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.