Yesterday, B’s class went to our local event of One Billion Rising, the worldwide gathering to protest violence against women. B was all about the flashmob dancing and the fun of being in a crowd, but some of the substance sunk in.
Her teacher wisely used the event to talk to both the boys and the girls about owning your power and being confident — age-appropriate messages on how to protect yourself as you get older and life gets more complicated. For B, the whole notion of her body being holy — a lyric in the song — made her light up like a candle.
But it also seemed right that she get a small sense of the darker side what people were rising for. Because she’s always peeking over my shoulder when I check my computer, last night I let her and her sister see the headlines about Oscar Pistorius. She had noticed and admired him this summer at the Olympics — who hadn’t? Yet horribly, right here and right now, was exactly what all the marching and dancing had been about.
It’s excruciating to bring this stuff to my girls’ attention. To juxtapose both on Valentine’s Day adds a strange irony. Neither girl wanted to spend a lot of time on it, so we didn’t, except to talk for a little while about how looks and image can be deceiving and potentially dangerous if you don’t use your head.
But it’s time to start slowly dealing the dual messages — yes, your body is holy. Don’t let anyone see it otherwise. Proceed openly but cautiously. Listen to your intuition. Don’t get cynical but protect yourself.
Learn what really happens out there in the world, but darling, in the process, please, please, please, don’t lose your magic.