In my family, Sunday is football day from September to February (or whenever it starts). So naturally, on Sunday this week, we watched RedZone all day long, which included the pre-game interviews. There was a touching story about Rashad Jennings of the New York Giants. He talked about how he asked his dad to stop smoking and drinking and his dad asked if he believed he could go his whole life, including making it to the NFL, without smoking or drinking himself. He said that to this day, he has never done either of the two. The story of how he believed he could be an NFL player and how his dad helped him through really struck a chord.
Many, many little boys grow up wanting to be a professional athlete. And they make decisions in their lives based on the belief that they can. They see people who are just like them achieve the same dream and they say, “I’m going to do that.” After the story about Jennings and his father was over, I looked at my dad and said, “Girls don’t have that.”
Let me elaborate. I was not trying to say that girls don’t have a desire to belief that they can do it, nor that we don’t have positive role models who are in the position that we wish to be in later in life, or a supportive parent, or a touching story.
Girls don’t have a huge, multi-billion dollar industry of role models that they see in the media on a daily basis. What is the equivalent of the NFL? MBL? NBA? There is nothing of the same magnitude that allows little girls across the country to see and think to themselves, “I’m going to do that,” or “I wanna be just like her.”
Like I said, we have plenty of role models and strong women who we can aspire to be. But there is not one, single, group that allows us to see our future selves that gets the recognition that athletes do.
So my wish, is that someday there will be. My wish is that someday my future daughter will see strong women who they aspire to be like, as often as they see or hear about professional athletes. I can’t think of a single profession that every little girl has aspired to be at one point. Why? My wish is that when I tell my daughter “You can do anything,” that I’m not lying to her. My wish is that one day, we won’t have to tell our daughters that they can do anything because it’s a given, and because they wouldn’t know to think otherwise. My wish is that the day my daughter decides what it is she wants, she goes out and does it.