August 2014 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

I just returned from an amazing experience at the Keds’ Brave Life Summit, re-inspired to seize the opportunity of the back-to-school season. The Summit included an amazing lineup of speakers, including GLI co-founder Rachel Simmons, Fusion host Alicia Menendez, Tony winner Sarah Jones, and our own GLI educator, Maxine Lyle.

All of these women shared personal stories with a similar message for the girls attending the Summit: being brave isn’t usually a public heroic act, but rather countless choices that you make each day. This kind of bravery, which we at GLI call Everyday Brave, is the kind of bravery girls need as they head back to school.

At the end of the afternoon, Rachel asked the girls, “What is one small brave step you can take tomorrow?” Here are some of the inspiring and courageous answers they texted:

  • Try not to stress out so much.
  • Won’t skip a meal tomorrow.
  • Find my true self and listen!
  • Encourage myself and friends to just love who they are.
  • I’m going to come out.
  • Face all of the things that I’m afraid of so have avoided, including that paper I still need to finish for that incomplete.
  • Sing with my flat voice anyway! 🙂
  • I’m writing my brother. He’s been angry with me for a while but he’s in Russia and about to deploy. Maybe it’s time.
  • I’m going to finalize my college schedule.
  • Sending in my application for my first apartment.
  • I am going to get up right away instead of saying “5 more minutes.”
  • I’m not going to worry about my future as soon as I wake up.
  • I am going to start appreciating myself and displaying the self worth and respect that I deserve but don’t show myself.
  • I am going to apply to at least one internship at Seventeen Magazine.
  • Find something beautiful about myself every day.
  • Take a leap of faith!

If you’re eager to empower your daughter with the skills to practice Everyday Brave, there is no better time of year to sign up for a Parent-Daughter workshop with GLI! Click here to see what’s available in your community. We hope to see you this fall.


Simone Marean

Executive Director and Co-Founder

Girls Leadership Institute

“How Do You Feel?”: A Tool To Help with Back-to-School

Back-to-school season is nearly upon us, and for many young girls, it’s a time of mixed emotions.

Do you remember what it felt like to return to school in the fall? The first day of school, perhaps more than any other day, brings to mind the question “What will other people
think?” And the louder this question gets for girls, the harder it is to stay connected to what they think and feel. When girls don’t know what they feel, when they invest in the opinions of others more than their own, it is almost impossible for them to speak their mind, to ask for what they need, and to live a life of leadership.

So this fall, let’s help girls practice being Everyday Brave. While it helps to tell girls, “Don’t worry what other people think!” it is even more helpful to show them that you, their role model, aren’t paralyzed by your fear of the opinions of others.

You can help support the girls in your life by encouraging them to notice, voice, and accept their feelings about going back to school, no matter what those feelings are. One of the ways you can help your daughter do this is by using GLI’s “How Do You Feel?” tool together.

How to Use “How Do You Feel?”

First, print out a copy of the PDF “How Do You Feel?” for your refrigerator. This fun handout helps you and your daughter expand your emotional vocabulary and gives you a shared language.

Next, sit down with your daughter and share with her how you are feeling. She will love hearing that you are embarrassed or insecure sometimes. Ask her to name one or two emotions from the sheet that describe how she is feeling right now. Remember to tell her that there are no right or wrong ways to respond to this exercise! This is all about noticing, accepting, and naming what she’s feeling in that moment.

If she can’t say a word, see if she can point to the face that best reflects how she feels. Her emotional vocabulary will grow quickly with practice and role modeling.

After you’ve both taken turns, share with her that doing this―noticing and accepting how she is feeling―is an act of Everyday Bravery, because when we stay true to our emotions, we stay true to ourselves. Remind her that while she may not love all of her feelings, it’s important to respect them, because emotions contain important information about what she needs and wants. And when she knows what she needs and wants, she can make empowering choices and decisions about her life as she heads back to school.

Bonus: Remember that there is nothing girls love more than a story, so share your own back-to-school story about being Everyday Brave when you were her age. Or better yet, share the real moment when you couldn’t be brave but wish you had. When you model Everyday Brave for your daughter by noticing, accepting, and naming your feelings and sharing your own stories, you’re helping her develop leadership skills that will help her for a lifetime!

Girl Find: How Children Succeed, Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character

We’re delighted to have discovered How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character, by author and educator Paul Tough.

In his book, Paul Tough asks, “Why do some children succeed while others fail?” He explores the story that we as a society usually tell about childhood: Success is about intelligence, and those who score well on tests from kindergarten to college are the ones predetermined to succeed. But new research indicates otherwise. Indeed, in his book, Tough argues that the qualities that matter more for success have to do with character: perseverance, curiosity, optimism, and self-control.

Like GLI’s programs, Tough’s book makes the case for nurturing and developing emotional and relational skills in order to set our children up for success. Read and enjoy!

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