Strong Girls Can
“I am me and I am good enough”
This is a phrase that has become an integral part of my life since we started delivering Strong Girls Can in secondary schools across the UK during 2019.
What started off as a saying to represent our programme is now a phrase which invades my life in a positive way and genuinely influences how I make decisions and how I react to other people.
In short, it has quickly become a mantra by which I live my life by.
SGC is about building confidence in teenage girls, about helping them to recognise who they are, what they want to be and ensuring they realise that they are good enough just as they are. They don’t need to change to fit into their own, or others opinion of ‘normal’.
The programme has been two years in the making from conception to design to delivery and it has been amazing journey. Being on the ground to deliver this programme and seeing its impact has been truly inspirational.
Not only that, but as I talk amongst my colleagues, fellow professionals and with my female friends and family, I have realised that the phrase ‘I am me and I am good enough’ applies to us all, whatever our age.
It is a message that needs spreading far further than just female teenagers. It affects teenage boys, younger girls and boys, mothers, fathers and everyone in between.
The over-riding message that we are taking home with us after every SGC day is the huge amount of self-doubt that young girls carry.
It really has been incredible and a stark realisation for all of us as to how so many teenage girls feel about themselves.
We are meeting girls who have never congratulated themselves on their achievements. We have seen girls who haven’t even recognised that they have achieved things in life, girls that have never thought of themselves as ‘worthy’ and girls who only see their perceived flaws without recognising their very best bits.
Our workshop on positive self-affirmation is the hardest of the day. Try getting a teenager to tell herself “I love you” and speak out loud about what she is good at!
The second strong message coming from the SGC programme has been a fear about being judged by others. And that fear is never about being judged by parents or teachers, but always by their peers. It is really important that we, as adults with teenage girls in our families (as well as the girls themselves) talk about this. That the girls realise that they are not alone in feeling judged and that they have to make sure they do not let this fear stop them from being themselves or from reaching for their goals.
Sometimes this fear has gone so far, that girls are even afraid to tell their closest friends their dreams and ambitions. Just last week in one workshop, a young girl told us how she dreams of being a song-writer and that she has 10 songs already written but that she is too afraid to tell her friends in case they laugh at her.
At the time, her friend (sitting next to her) replied with: “You should have told me and we could have tried singing them together, that’s what we will do this week”.
The look on the face of the future song-writer was a priceless gift as her friend supported and encouraged her. This is why I love delivering a programme I feel so passionately about.
The third and final lesson that has hit me from the programme is how very few teenage girls had realised that they are part of a team. A female team, within the school, who could work together to build each other up, support each other and be a positive influence in one another’s lives.
The girls are so unused to complimenting themselves that this seems to carry over into how they treat and speak to one another. We work very hard, during the day, on the concept of saying positive things to one another – friends, family members and even those within school that we don’t know well. The compliments we saw being passed between two 15-year-old girls would bring a tear to your eye!
“You’re really pretty and I have never told you that.”
Going forward, we will be delivering the programme further across the country and spreading our message of being good enough to teenage girls. Then we will start on the boys, then the female adults and males because everyone is good enough, just the way they are!
According to an article released on March 4th 2020, Child obesity levels have DOUBLED in a decade. The article in the Daily Mail claims that the 2008 Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives strategy aimed to reduce obesity in children, but that the latest data reveals severely obese children in Year 6 has doubled in that time, & that now one third of children are overweight by the time they finish primary school…
Staying safe in the sun
It is that dreaded time of year for PE specialists in primary schools. It is the time of the ‘Christmas play’ or carol concert, or nativity. The time when we hear the words ‘the hall is unavailable today because………..” You can put your own next sentence in here;
“Year 1 are rehearsing”
“the Christmas tree is being put up”…
After a long summer, spent away from work and predominantly with my children it has occurred to me that I need a rest. Not a rest from them (although that would be welcome) but a physical rest. For 8 weeks I have taken part in almost every physical activity I can think of…
Watching the England Lionesses this summer has been a real treat for me. Especially as I have watched all the games with my two young sons and some of their friends. In particular for me, I have loved hearing the girls and boys of our younger generations talking about the players; who their favourite is, who they would like to be like when they grow up, who is the best striker of the ball, who should take the penalties.