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Never grow a wishbone, daughter, where your backbone ought to be.

"Never grow a wishbone, daughter, where your backbone ought to be."- Clementine Paddleford.

I came across this wonderful poem by poet and teacher Sarah McMane. While I enjoy its empowering sentiment, and I would hope my own daughter would be thus empowered, I couldn't help but feel.....that decision rests with her.

In today's age, where being empowered is the buzz word on everyone's lips, often that empowerment is interpreted as bossiness by those whose children are not quite so. An ugly twisted label to calm our own insecurities. As parents we thrust our expectations onto our kids, and when we see that our kids aren't the way we were or the way we wish them to be, are we open to accepting them the way they are? What if, our daughters are content with being the follower, being the simpering 'girl', 'delicate darling' , or the princess dressed in pink and frills? For me empowerment is my daughter deciding for herself who she wants to be.

When you buy books for your daughters, expose them to a rich variety of female heroes, SHEROES!! Books have a wonderful way of sowing brilliant ideas, inspiring and influencing.

Picture credit: Lyn Campos.

I share this poem because I love its sentiment but to me a truly empowered girl will be who ever she wants to be!!

For my Daughter

- Sarah McMane

Never play the princess when you can be the queen: rule the kingdom, swing a scepter, wear a crown of gold. Don’t dance in glass slippers, crystal carving up your toes -- be a barefoot Amazon instead, for those shoes will surely shatter on your feet.

Never wear only pink when you can strut in crimson red, sweat in heather grey, and shimmer in sky blue, claim the golden sun upon your hair. Colours are for everyone, boys and girls, men and women -- be a verdant garden, the landscape of Versailles, not a pale primrose blindly pushed aside.

Chase green dragons and one-eyed zombies, fierce and fiery toothy monsters, not merely lazy butterflies, sweet and slow on summer days. For you can tame the most brutish beasts with your wily wits and charm, and lizard scales feel just as smooth as gossamer insect wings.

Tramp muddy through the house a purple tutu and cowboy boots. Have a tea party in your overalls. Build a fort of birch branches, a zoo of Legos, a rocket ship of Queen Anne chairs and coverlets, first stop on the moon.

Dream of dinosaurs and baby dolls, bold brontosaurus and bookish Belle, not Barbie on the runway or Disney damsels in distress -- you are much too strong to play the simpering waif.

Don a baseball cap, dance with Daddy paint your toenails, climb a cottonwood. Learn to speak with both your mind and heart. For the ground beneath will hold you, dear -- know that you are free. And never grow a wishbone, daughter, where your backbone ought to be.

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