Karyn ColeKaryn Cole Karyn Cole is the lucky mom of 2-year-old girl/boy twins, Mia and Miles. After teaching elementary school for over 15 years, she now spends her days trying to enrich her class of two and organizing the chaos that is her household. After bedtime, she enjoys baking, crafting, and watching bad reality TV.

How can I raise my daughter to be brave in all aspects of her life?

Recently my husband sent me a TED talk he thought I should take a listen to. The subject was “Raising Brave Girls,” and the speaker, Caroline Paul, was captivating. She was a firefighter, a paraglider, and an all around bad a$$ woman. Pretty much my polar opposite in every way.

I am not known for my bravery, and I sometimes feel like I have missed out on some of what life has to offer because I was afraid. Afraid I would get hurt, afraid I would make a fool of myself, afraid others would judge my actions. I want better for my daughter. So I watched the TED talk (twice) and vowed to try not to show my anxieties when she wants to go faster, climb higher, jump farther. She might have a few more battle scars, but she will also learn to pick herself up after a fall and try again. Through trial and error, failures and successes, she will become a more confident young woman.

But the talk also got me thinking about other types of bravery.

Because while I think it is important that we raise our daughters to be physically brave and know they are just as capable as our sons, I think it might be even more important that I teach Mia to be brave in ALL aspects of her life.

I want her to grow up to be academically bold. I want her to be unafraid to ask questions, to risk giving wrong answers, to share her ideas freely.

I also want her to be emotionally brave. Hopefully Mia will always be as free with her feelings as she is today. As a strong-willed almost 3-year-old, she wears her every emotion on her sleeve. At some point, however, it becomes harder to share your innermost feelings with others.

She is a long way from making her way out in to the big wide world on her own, but these are the days when I can help shape her personality. I can encourage her to be brave, to be bold, and to jump into life with both feet and her whole heart. And that is the bravest act of all.

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