Hillary Clinton almost broke the most-toughened glass ceiling in the world. Almost. I know: Almost does not count. But to little girls like my daughter, this one has got to count.
"To all the little girls watching this," Hillary Clinton said in her concession speech, "Never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams."
Our little girls need role models now more than ever before. Why, women in public service have joined men in looting sprees. Plus, with the sliding south of morals, between school and sponsor, girls are increasingly opting for the latter.
My daughter turned 10 just the other Friday. And this is just the perfect time to teach her that value and power lie not in possessing a big derriere, but in pursuing a big dream.
Little girls can do all things
"The boys we were riding bicycles with gave me a head start in the competition because I am a girl," Pudd'ng recently told me.
"Remind me again; that Bible verse says I can do ..."
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me," Pudd'ng parroted.
"Aha. Tomorrow, politely refuse to have a head start, right?"
She did like I asked her. And? The boys thrashed her.
I am teaching my daughter that she must fight for every position, like there is no affirmative action. Because, like they say, the law giveth and law taketh away. Besides, my little girl will not shatter glass ceilings with special seats, but by a special kind of courage.
Little girls can concede with grace
When Pudd'ng joined a new school, she was excited when they were asked to put in their candidature for class prefects.
In her former school, she had been a class prefect. I guess she thought this too would be a breeze. The elections came and went. She never told us what transpired, but her deafening silence let on what had gone down. "It's alright to tell us that you did not get the seat," I counselled Pudd'ng on the Friday after she finally told me that another more popular pupil was elected as the class prefect. "You are not going to win every competition or seat." "You have lost a contest, not a kidney. On Monday, congratulate the new prefect, and wait to fight another term."
"But how do I do it?"
"You do it with grace, girl. Or else you will look like a sore loser."
Little girls can stand up
A couple of Sundays ago on our way to church, the matatu we were travelling in was full to capacity. But, as is the case when Kenyans are in a hurry, more passengers kept boarding. I had paid for Pudd'ng's seat, and so I was not concerned when some passengers were standing.
Back in the day, in public service vehicles, kids – even grownup kids or bad boys – always gave up their seats to adults. This was an unwritten law, which has since been "repealed". And this Sunday, my "good boy" instinct kicked in ...
"Let's give this lady our seat, although we have paid for it," I whispered to Pudd'ng, who willingly obliged.
The lady thanked us profusely us when she got off three stages later.
"Sometimes it is not about your rights, but about getting out of your comfort zone – even if there is no immediate gain – and standing up for other people," I told Pudd'ng. "There will be times you will pay the price, and other people will enjoy the fruits."
"Dah-dee? I don't get it."
"One day, in the fullness of time, you will; trust me."
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