17 things that I would tell my future 17-year-old daughter

At this spring’s National Conference: Guiding Girl Greatness, four girl members spoke to delegates about their own personal experiences with our Mission keys –  confidence, courage, resourcefulness and making a difference – and how they have incorporated them into their lives. Below is an excerpt of one of those speeches. We dare you not to be impressed.

Confidence was not, in the past, something that came easily to me. But thanks to Girl Guides and to the people I work with it is something I have now. Confidence is not an easy thing to gain – it is not even something that is easy to understand – so here are 17 things that I would tell my future 17-year-old daughter to help her in her search for confidence.

  1. June11_MarynaEllDon’t be afraid of making new friends. There are people out there who are just as shy as you, people who are just as different as you, people who are just as passionate as you. They are out there and if you don’t find them, they will find you – if you let them.
  2. Tell people that you are proud of them, that you think their confidence is inspiring, and that you see them as outgoing. Tell them that their efforts are not in vain. Those words can change lives; they changed mine.
  3. Strike a superhero pose once in a while.
  4. When you’re working with younger girls, remember: they are looking up to you and they will take confidence from what you tell them. So be honest, and be kind, and tell them how important they are.
  5. Being yourself can be hard sometimes. Tell yourself that you are awesome and that you will get through this (and you will come out stronger).
  6. When you find yourself being scared, or nervous, or shy, it does not mean that you are not confident. It just means you’re human. Take a deep breath and believe in yourself.
  7. Do not be worried about what might happen. Things happen and you can and will deal with them.
  8. When you start working with Sparks, or Brownies, or Guides, believe in yourself and believe in them. Don’t be scared of what they think; they’re probably going to think that you are the bee’s knees no matter what you do. Do your thing, and do it with a smile and sense of humour.
  9. You are good enough. One day, somebody will try to tell you that you aren’t, and you might believe them. That somebody might be you. It might take you a while to realize that that somebody is wrong. But someday, maybe a few days after you hear those words, maybe even a few decades later, you will understand that you are enough. You are more than enough; you are you.
  10. Girl Guides is a safe place. You do not have to be worried about speaking up or speaking your mind. Guiding will give you what you need; it’s your job to accept it.
  11. When that Spark walks into the room with tears on her face because she doesn’t know what to expect, take her under your wing. Tell her that she’ll be okay, that it will be fun, and that she is brave for trying this out. Tell her how you felt when you were a Spark – and show her where you are now.
  12. Do not ever let anybody – especially yourself – hold you back. Don’t let them tell you that you’re too shy, or too quiet, or not confident enough to do anything. If you tell yourself that you can’t do it, then honestly you probably won’t be able to do it. Even if you can’t get past thinking these things, at least don’t let them get in your way. Tell yourself that you can do it – it’s amazing what can happen.
  13. When you notice how exceptional somebody is, tell them. Congratulate them. When that Spark finds her confidence, praise her for being brave. Nominate her for a Girl Greatness Award; her level of confidence will skyrocket higher than you – and she – thought possible.
  14. Have a solo dance party once in a while.
  15. Mistakes do not set you back. Mistakes help push you forward. They help you learn.
  16. Sit or stand up straighter. Look whoever you’re talking to in the eyes. Sometimes it will be hard, sometimes you will feel like it’s not worth it, but I promise you it is. Wear high heels once in a while – the clicking sound they make is incredibly powerful and it will probably make you walk a bit taller.
  17. As tumblr user this-is-realitea’s brother put it: “Confidence is not ‘they will like me’. Confidence is ‘I’ll be fine if they don’t.’”

Guest post by Maryna Ell. Maryna, or Giggles as she is often known, is a Ranger, Girl Assistant, and recent high school graduate from Sooke, British Columbia. She has been working to improve confidence in herself and others since her first year of Sparks in 2002.

Be sure to check out our previous post on how girl members are living our Mission: Small Things Really do Make a Difference

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