Myself and my fellow Guide leader came away from a meeting recently feeling totally and completely emotionally drained. Our unit is coming to the end of a huge project. We spent 6 weeks before Easter learning about body image and the image myth.
The girls got to design their own self portraits then spent a session with a professional photographer student to take the portraits. They decided they would exhibit them but also added parts they wanted – to invite local news, to have an inspiration wall of people who they admire, quotes that encourage and inspire them. Now that it’s about to all become reality we have found nerves are setting in, and negative thoughts are entering their heads questioning their own value.
We’ve heard statements like “well, I’m not a good person”, “why would anyone care what I have to share?” and it’s so upsetting to hear.
We can see their value. We are 99% that younger girls and their peers will be encouraged by what they have to share. And I wish there was a way that I could teach them that. I thought we had.
Now I realise that we can’t teach them that. They are going to have to learn it themselves. There is no shortcut through those crappy teenage years. And I guess we are trying to strap parachutes on them and hope that when they jump out of the proverbial plane into ‘the real world’ they’ll sail rather than plummet to the ground.
We hope that one day the lightbulb will go on, and they’ll realise that they have a story to tell, that everything they think is learned from somewhere and that they have so much value.
In the meantime, all I feel we can do is keep encouraging them and showing them in word and action how much value we believe they have and hope that one day they’ll realise we weren’t just saying it – we meant it, believed it…KNEW it.
But man I wish those lessons could be taught more easily…! 🙂