Video & Podcast: What Does Being An Ally Look Like?

Wait, before I talk about me and Rosalind, I have to share something else.

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The same day that Rosalind and I had our webinar, her sister, Zoe Wiseman, dropped our interview on her podcast. Zoe represents a generation of folks, who in her words, think they’re doing everything “right.” In the description of the podcast, Zoe said:

I’m starting with someone that I know, well, that can help me have this conversation because even though I am a liberal NYC person who believes that they are consistently doing their best, I know I can do better.

Furthermore, embarrassingly,  before talking to her, I actually didn’t really consider myself a white person.

Yes, yes I know, this could sound crazy. But growing up Jewish, I never considered myself in alignment in any way with the blood soaked hands of the original sinners that built this country. If anything I kind of thought of myself as living in allegiance with the black community. But what I’ve come to find out is that I have been benefiting from racism and slavery since I was born. Who knew! Yes I am embarrassed. Trust me.

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Zoe and I on vacation.

No topic was off limits. We talked about Ahmaud Arbery, Amy Cooper and even what can white people do. Zoe is marvelous at what she does. She is loud, raw and real so here’s the caveat; have headphones on or listen in the car when you’re alone and not around children. I’m so glad we had this talkYou don’t want to miss it. 

Ok, now on to her big sister 🙂

Rosalind Wiseman and I have known each other for over two decades. We have worked together, taught together, trained educators together, and even traveled together. And not just work travel, vacation travel!

I sang at her vowel renewal ceremony to her husband, James.

Her first-born slept by my desk every time she would bring him to the office.

No seriously, the exchange would go something like this:
Rosalind would walk in with Elijah in her arms. I would say hello to her, I think 🙂  I waited until they made it all the way in the door and out of the elements. Then I would politely take Elijah for the rest of the day. The way I saw it, the only time he really needed to see Rosalind was for his meals. Other than that, he was mine. #bestcoworkerever 🙂

Even when we both left Washington, DC, and moved to different states, our relationship was always there. Always.

I share all of that because it’s important to know what you’re about to witness.

With so much going on in our country in regards to racism, police brutality, allyship, and systemic racism, Rosalind and I have been talking a lot to one another. It’s what we do. It’s what we’ve always done. And the conversations haven’t always been easy but, they’ve been always been intentional and honest.

During one of our talks over the past couple of weeks, we decided we were going to write an article together to add our voices to the sea of opinions. And while sharing our plans with her colleagues at Cultures of Dignity, they (James) couldn’t understand why we were writing and not talking.  I mean, we do both speak for a living.

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So with that encouraging nudge, we decided to have one of our conversations with people in the room. With nearly 1,000 registrants, Rosalind and I took to Zoom and spoke candidly about racism, privilege, power, and what it really means to be an ally.

Here is our conversation.

After watching and listening, I’d love to hear your thoughts. You can comment below or drop me an email

Again, we don’t have all the answers but we do know something has to change. We’re committed to being a part of that change. Together.

With Gratitude,

Shanterra

 

Summertime Dreams In March

Yes, I know it’s just March but, how many of you are already starting to think about summer? I know I am! And with that in mind, here are a few options to keep in mind as you plan for your summer. Whether in Texas, New Hampshire or even Morocco, there are plenty of options to keep us connected as we remind girls they were born to be marvelous! attachment-1 (12)

MIDDLE SCHOOL GIRLS

This summer, Marvelous University will once again host Girls Leadership Camp: Marvelous Girls Lead. This a ONE WEEK day camp is a part of Summer@Hockaday and is for girls who are currently in grades 4th – 7th. Let’s face it, if you’ve been around middle school girls for longer than 7 minutes, you know middle school is a time when most girls are trying to find their voice, their way, and their ear pods! It’s a time of complete internal chaos and sheer delight. This week-long experience will guarantee a week where each girl will be seen, listened to (even if her voice isn’t the loudest), liked, and laughed with– because we LOVE a good laugh! Registration for Summer@Hockaday 2020 is open NOW. 2019-06-07_10-16-08_765

Another amazing opportunity for Middle School girls is the Girls Leadership Camp in New Hampshire!! This will be our 10th year for GLC so expect a party! Girls’ Leadership Camp is a ONE WEEK overnight camp located in the heart of the Upper Valley in New Hampshire. GLC programming, designed for middle school girls, promotes assertive self-expression, teaches important life skills, and allows the practice of leadership in a variety of settings.  GLC is a unique and transformational program that inspires girls to reach their full potential! And well, it’s always always MARVELOUS!

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HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS

Remember last summer when I traveled to Peru with some super smart, talented and marvelous high school Girl Captains? Well, this summer we’re traveling with some smart, talented and marvelous high school girl leaders back to Morocco!!

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Here is the link ➡️ https://www.girlcaptain.org/ for all the information. I would LOVE for your high school girl to join us. We only have one or two spots remaining so hurry. Questions? We’ve thought of a few and they’re all on the website.

THANK YOU
As always, please let me know if I can answer any questions. And feel free to forward this on to someone who you know would benefit from it. Hopefully, you’re following Marvelous University on Facebook and following on Instagram as well. There has been a LOT of wonderful things going on and oh it’s been a marvelous ride! If you’re not already subscribed to the calendar, you should. And if you think we should come to your community, please let us know.

In the meantime, continue to enjoy this marvelous March. Remember to wash your hands with soap and water, while singing your favorite song, always stay kind to one another and most of all, love one another.

With Gratitude,

Shanterra

 

 

Why Wait?

We have a few more weeks until the calendar tells us we should remember why we’re thankful but, why wait? 9eb1a6d4d

I don’t know about you but, there are so many reasons I’m thankful right now and one of those reasons is YOU!

Thank you so much for being a supporter of Marvelous University.

Thank you for being a member of the Marvelous University family.

Thank you so much for following the journey whether it’s here on the blog or on Facebook or Instagram or even YouTube and Twitter. You have allowed me to be myself and live out my purpose of reminding young people, and those young at heart, they are absolutely MARVELOUS!

IMG_1370And as we enter this season of gratitude, my hope is that I will be more intentional in seeing you and those around me, that I will listen more to understand, and that I will be quicker to love and slower to judge.

My hope is that you will continue walking with me and those who join me, as we continue to grow. There are some REALLY exciting things happening and I hope you’ll be able to join us on the journey.

Quick Updates:

Marvelous Girls’ Summit
We had the 4th Annual Marvelous Girls’ Summit October 26 and ohmygoodness, what a time! A longer update is on the way but, if you’re following the Marvelous Girls’ Summit page you were practically there 🙂

QCommons Dallas
In the same week of the MGS, I was invited to be a local speaker for the two-hour live event to educate Christians on how to bring hope and leadership to their communities in a critical moment for America.

The Boost at Maderia 
Ok, you’re not going to believe this, but the day after the MGS, I was on a plane to Washington, DC to join my dear Girls’ Leadership Camp sistafriends, Brook, Em, and Kelly, as Kelly hosted a Boost on her campus. We had a BALL!

Attachment-1 (3) There was even a podcast released where I shared a very personal story of how healing from the impossible is possible, no matter how long it takes.

And that was all in the last week in October.

GET READY

So, here are some things to look forward to. If you’re anything like me, you’re already planning summer experiences. I would love for you to join Marvelous University and I for every single one!

Here in Dallas, we’ll be partnering with Summer@Hockaday again for Marvelous Girls Lead, a week-long day camp for middle school girls at The Hockaday School. Registration for their summer programs opens on February 1, 2020, at 10:00 AM.

For our high school girls, we have a super cool experience where you can come with me and Brook and some marvelous Girl Captains as we head back MOROCCO!  Registration is already open and there are limited spots so…let’s go! 🙂

We have some exciting things in the works for parents and mentors and those who love working with young people so stay tuned. There are more updates and things to look forward to, including where I’m speaking, on the website.

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Our marvelous t-shirt

On the website, you can also find some really cool Marvelous Merchandise, including the new Marvelous University t-shirt designed by Erika Jones. Don’t you just love it!!

As you can see, there is soooo much to be grateful for! So much has happened and there is so much more to come! And, if you have an idea or know of a place that would welcome a Marvelous University program, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

May you have continued moments where gratitude takes your breath away.

 

Love,

Shanterra

PS: Feel free to share this with others. I have learned the best way for folks to learn about Marvelous University is through supporters like YOU. 🙂

Racism Is Not Mental Illness

photo by Jerónimo Bernot

As you struggle to explain to your children why two mass shootings happened over the weekend, one definitely caused by racism and white supremacy, please refrain from blaming mental illness in your explanation.

Yes, it’s easy to say that the two mass shooters were sick individuals but, please be careful with that kind of language, especially to young people.

The truth is racism is not a mental illness. Even when it’s difficult to understand how one hates another human being because of the color of their skin or the country of their birth, it is not a mental illness.

Even when it’s difficult to understand how people, including elected officials, remain silent or give excuses for blatant racism, it is not a mental illness.

Tell them the truth about the motive of these mass shootings, especially when talking about El Paso because we know the shooter’s motive.

Tell them the truth.

Statement of APA President in Response to Mass Shootings in Texas, Ohio

“Routinely blaming mass shootings on mental illness is unfounded and stigmatizing. Research has shown that only a very small percentage of violent acts are committed by people who are diagnosed with, or in treatment for, mental illness. The rates of mental illness are roughly the same around the world, yet other countries are not experiencing these traumatic events as often as we face them. One critical factor is access to, and the lethality of, the weapons that are being used in these crimes. Adding racism, intolerance and bigotry to the mix is a recipe for disaster.

Don’t sugarcoat racism, bigotry,  xenophobia, misogyny, homophobia, white supremacy, and any other ism plaguing our society. And when they ask why are people this way, pause.

Pause before you say they’re just sick individuals.

Pause before you say they were raised that way.

Pause before you say they were bullied.

Pause before you say they didn’t know any better.

I’m asking you to pause and think about the answer because whatever you say will become their truth. Whatever you say, they will believe. Whatever you say will cause them to view the world a certain way.

Tell them the truth.

Then give them the space to reflect on the truth.

Then, hopefully, they will be inspired to make sure they are not silent when they hear racists statements, regardless of who they are from.

Hopefully, they will be able to recognize statements and behaviors that are coated in hate and violence and not stand for it.

Hopefully, they will be the change and we won’t ignore them or silence them because of their age.

Hopefully, we will tell them the truth and that way, together, we will do something different for our future. Different for our now.

Tell them the truth.

Still Hopeful,

Shanterra

 

Where is Shanterra Speaking Next?

#IWD2019

53551246_2296026313763672_1531602848335265792_oHappy “Every Day Is” International Women’s Day! 🎉♥️🤗👏🏾 My life is richer because of the conversations, the experiences, the disagreements, the food, the laughter, the tears, the hugs, and the love from the women I’ve met over the course of my travels. From women in Morocco and South Africa to women in New Hampshire by way of Jamaica and China and many many more. One thing I appreciate the most, women are all connected. If we take the time to see one another, hear one another, believe one another, be there for one another, wait for one another, take care of one another, we can really impact our 🌎 .

To learn more about some of the absolutely marvelous women I’ve met from around the world, visit my Instagram post. You’ll also get to learn about some amazing organizations like Amal Women’s Training Center and Moroccan Restaurant in Marrakech and Masimanyane Women’s Rights International in East London, Eastern Cape in South Africa.

International Women’s Day, observed on March 8, was made a public holiday in Berlin, the German capital, in January. It has always been a way to celebrate women’s achievements and to call attention to all the work still left to be done on a global scale. The theme for 2019 is “Balance for Better”: seeking gender balance in the boardroom and elsewhere.

I know many people get nervous when they hear the words “gender balance” for fear that the balance will somehow exclude men, dehumanize men or shame men. 🤔 I have realized balance doesn’t mean exclusion.

Balance is about inclusion.

It will always baffle me how a woman who has been deserted by her family, whether through tragedy or disinterest, who wants to learn how to care for her family, how to feed her family or how to even just grow herself,  feed herself, or take care of herself, somehow becomes about excluding men. 🤔 🤷🏽‍♀️ So for today and all the days to follow, can we stop flipping the script? Including her, including me, will always be about increase… you’ll see 😉🤗💗💜💚

So how can you be a part of this balance, now? Think about how you’re including girls in the conversations and in the space of changing the world, now. Here are a few ways:

Girl Captain
Remember last summer when I traveled to Morocco with some super smart, talented and marvelous high school girl leaders (Girl Captains)? Well, this summer we’re taking some smart, talented and marvelous high school girl leaders to PERU 🇵🇪 !! 💗💜💚 Here is the link ➡️ https://www.girlcaptain.org/ for all the information. Would LOVE to take your high school girl with us! The spots are filling up fast!

Middle School Girls
This summer, Marvelous University and Generation Change will host Girls Lead, a ONE WEEK day camp as a part of Summer@Hockaday. This day camp is for girls in the 5th – 8th grades. Following Girls Lead, Marvelous University will return to Hockaday for the second summer to host, Marvelous Girls’ Soar, a two-week elective class. Summer@Hockaday 2019 Camps & Classes information is available here. Yes, registration is open.

Hope to see you this summer! attachment-1 (12)

It’s Personal 
So, the past couple of months I’ve had a chance to get a little more personal with the world and wanted to share with you as well. One is a testimony I gave at the IF: Gathering and the other is a podcast with two worship pastors called The Worship Spot. Both will give you a little more entry into who I am, why I do what I do and what I’m trusting for my future.

What’s Next:
As you can see, there is so much to be excited about for Marvelous University. Please stay tuned for more updates and if you ever want to know where I’m speaking, you can always check the calendar to see if I’ll be in your neighborhood. Also, we will have a link for how you can get the Marvelous Girl merchandise for yourself very soon.

If you have questions about anything you’ve read, please free to comment below or send an email.  And remember, balance is about inclusion…balance is about inclusion…balance is about inclusion.

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February 11

On this date, 29 years ago, Nelson Mandela, leader of the movement to end South African apartheid, was released from prison after 27 years.

This past summer while speaking in South Africa, I visited Robben Island, one of the prisons where Madiba was held. Taking a tour of the prison was truly surreal and proved that a prison is a prison, even when it’s converted to a museum. It took me a while to process the visit because it was heartbreaking and even at times eery.  I will never forget how the tour guide (also a former prisoner) kept saying he waited years before he could go back to the island because it is still a prison. The way he spoke about his missing his family, the segregation even within the prison, the treatment…it was something I will never forget.

If you ever make it to Cape Town, please make time to visit Robben Island. You must see it for yourself.

February 11 is also a great day to remind you of the wonderful things happening within and around Marvelous University as we are getting ready for summer.

I know you’re thinking, summer?!?!

It’s FEBRUARY and depending on where you are, you could be shoveling snow or on a delayed school start because of ice. ms-xQu1Wk

But, we also know, one can never be too early in getting ready for summertime fun!

So with that said, here is what’s coming up:

HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS

Last summer I traveled to Morocco with some super smart, talented and marvelous high school girl leaders (Girl Captains). This summer we’re taking smart, talented and marvelous high school Girl Captains to PERU 🇵🇪 !!
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Here is the link ➡️ https://www.girlcaptain.org/ for all of the information. The website has a lot of details, with much more to come. Feel free to ask questions. We would LOVE to take your high school girl with us!

MIDDLE SCHOOL GIRLS, DALLAS

This summer, Marvelous University and Generation Change will host Marvelous Girls Lead, a ONE WEEK day camp as a part of Summer at Hockaday, June 3-7. This day camp is for girls who are currently in the 4th – 7th grade. Look for New! Girls Leadership Camp: Marvelous Girls Lead on the Summer at Hockaday website.

Following the one-week day camp, Marvelous University is back for a second year to host Girls Soar!, a two-week elective, June 10-June 21. This is a 2-hour class. Look for New! Girls Soar! on the website. All information for Summer at Hockaday 2019 Camps & Classes can be found here.

2018-06-22_17-51-56_044One more quick note. There is a 10% discount for all registrations received by March 20.

MIDDLE SCHOOL GIRLS, NEW HAMPSHIRE 

If you’re up for some adventure for your middle school girls, you should send her to New Hampshire for Girls Leadership Camp! I’ll be there along with some other amazing, wonderful, marvelous women and girls. Here is the link to see all of the information and I’ll be glad to answer any more questions. There are LIMITED spots and trust me, it’s so worth it! GLC is for girls currently in the 5th-8th grade.

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As you can see, there are some great things coming for Marvelous University. Please make sure you’re following the calendar on the website to see when we’ll be in your area.

FEBRUARY 11

Know what else makes February 11 so special? It’s my marvelous mom’s birthday!!!

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My Marvelous Mama, Esther Armstead

My mom is truly the best! I love putting her on full blast because I need the world to know just how blessed I truly am!

As always, if you have any questions or want more information about the wonderful things ahead, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

With Sincere Gratitude,

Shanterra

 

“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”

― Nelson Mandela

Talk To White Boys

This is why I want to speak/teach/talk with young white males. I know, I know. Some of you are like wait, I thought you worked with girls? I do but, it has been on my heart for quite some time to speak with white males, specifically those in the 10th grade or younger. I have a theory and it looks like it’s being proven more and more every day.

If we don’t talk with them, teach them, and yes, even listen to them when they are middle school age, but especially by the time they’re sophomores in high school, we will lose them.

If we don’t include them in the work of inclusion, diversity, equity, and justice, we will lose them.

If we don’t put our egos aside or the negative thoughts about bad parenting and how they parents shoulda/woulda/coulda, we will lose them.

If we don’t take the time to explain and listen to them “gripe” about feeling invisible, we will lose them.

If we don’t let them ask the hard questions that we feel like they should have the answers to our questions they shoulda been taught or questions they’re afraid to ask, we will lose them.

Why is this important? Because when they get to their college campus (because THEY are going to college), there will be a group of people who look like them who will tell them how important they really are.

Who will tell them they should never feel invisible let alone be treated as if they are invisible. Who will tell them how much power they have and how they should even take what appears to be a threat to them.

Who will tell them they can march down any street in any city with tiki torches that they happen to have on their fraternity house patio and give them the weapon they need to feel powerful. They won’t need a gun. They will have a torch from Party City. And they will march together. They will be surrounded by young men who look like them and who will validate their feelings of uncertainty, insecurity, and doubt.

Those same young men will encourage them to stare others down, not to understand; to back down even when there isn’t a fight; to not give up, even when there isn’t a battle; to stay focused on pleasing his peers, not treating the person who doesn’t look like him with dignity. Those guys are waiting to welcome them in!

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via Twitter @lulu_says2

All I’m saying is, I want to talk. I want to listen. I want to help them understand or at least try. Someone has to because this…this is another example of our country repeating its ugly history.

Who’s with me?

 

 

Get Ready For Valentine’s Day

High school is a wonderful, magical, stressful, spectacular time for girls and those are words to describe the first day of school! When you add thoughts and conversations about crushes, dating and Valentine’s Day to those emotions, you’ll get a variety of feelings and answers. Love in high school is…

Ok, maybe you’re not ready to think about that, especially for your high school daughter. You’re not ready to think about her being in love and all giggly about someone. But, well, one day…maybe…it will happen. 574090_original

It will happen and you know from experience, crushes, likes, and love is different in high school than how it was in middle school.

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So, what if we partnered together to prepare her for this natural change? What if there was a gathering for high school girls to chat about crushes, likes, break-ups and how to navigate Valentine’s Day at school, all while skating, laughing out loud with new friends, and answering the question for herself: Love is…

Regardless of where your daughter finds herself on the crush/dating scale, from she’s not interested in dating anyone, EVER, to not using the word dating because who really knows what that word means any way to all of her friends have relationships and she’s like “HELLLLLLLO! Does anybody see ME!” to she’s in a serious relationship, Love Your Jiggle & Skate!  is for her. It promises to offer high school girls the space to learn, to talk, to laugh and oh yeah, to SKATE! attachment-1 (12)

EARLY REGISTRATION is open now!

Questions? Feel free to email or comment below.

Attention High School Girls! 🙌💗💜💚

Happy New Year!

I hope this note finds you absolutely marvelous!

I’m stopping in quickly to say thank you.

Thank you for asking and thank you for waiting.

You have been so patient in your waiting.

You have asked nicely: So, when are you going to do an event for high school girls? 🙂

Or, you have asked with a hint of curiosity: 🤔 Do you not LIKE high school girls?! 😕

Or you’ve asked with frustration: You never do anything for us😩.

Sometimes the ask has been in the form of urgency: Shanterra, you MUST do something for these high school girls 😳.

Well, save the date because it is coming! 🎉🙌🏾🤗

All of the details will drop Monday but, for right now, reserve February 9 for high school girls and Marvelous University!

Until then, think about this: when was the first time you knew, and I mean really knew, you were in love? 🤔🥰

Talk to you Monday,

Shanterra

She’s Not Ignoring It.

This post was originally posted in December of 2017. During this time there were several stories in the mainstream media of brave women coming forward to share their experiences of sexual abuse. This movement is now referred to as the #MeToo movement, a term coined by social activist and community organizer, Tarana Burke.

In 2006, Tarana started the me too movement to “help survivors of sexual violence, particularly young women of color from low wealth communities, find pathways to healing.” The phrase and subsequently, the hashtag (#MeToo), developed into a much broader movement when sexual abuse survivors of former Hollywood producer, Harvey Weinstein, stepped forward.

Well, with the recent Supreme Court nomination and now hearing, we are there again. There is language in the mainstream media. There is a woman who has come forward to tell her story, her experience.

Because language is important.  Because words are important. Because experiences are important, I thought it would be a good idea to repost this blog.

I hope that you’re already having this discussion with your preteens and teens. I hope this enhances the conversation. And if you’re not having the discussion yet, I ask you to talk about it.

Please.

So she can be aware and be prepared.

There’s more information at the end if you want a partner in this conversation. I’ll be glad to partner with you. And to the new members of our community, welcome. We’re glad you’re here.

Love,
Shanterra

— December 12, 2017 —

SEX

It doesn’t matter how old your preteen or teenager is, there aren’t too many folks rushing to talk about sex.

You try to shield them from even hearing the word but, with the way our news cycle is set up, you can’t avoid the subject, even if you wanted to.

Sex is being talked about at all hours of the day because every day, for the past few months, particularly the past 30 days, there has been a story in the mainstream news about sex. And not just sex but, inappropriate sexual behavior. Sexual assault. Sexual harassment. Sexual misconduct. Sex.

You may be thinking, Shanterra, why are YOU talking about this? What does this have to do with marvelous girls or preteens or parenting, etc?

A Lot!

Fear of Sex

In my book, Love Your Jiggle: The Girl’s Guide To Being Marvelous, chapter 3 is titled “Decide When You Want to Have Sex and Stick To It.”

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How folks respond when they see the title of chapter 3

Because of this chapter, some parents have shared they are hesitant to give the book to their middle school and even high school daughters. I have been on the phone or in email conversations explaining how I am in NO WAY encouraging sex, promoting sex or telling girls to have sex. It’s actually quite the opposite.

Yes, I would like for girls to wait. I would like for girls to come up with their OWN plan for when they decide to have sex. I would like for girls to think for themselves instead of someone else (who is usually a peer who is just as inexperienced or just as unprepared or just as immature or just as ill-informed) making strong suggestions of when they should have sex or even talk about sex.

I would like for girls to think where they would like to be when they have this moment. What they would like to be changing out of? Do they have to love the person? Does the person have to love them?

A girl knowing the answers to those questions will not make her go out and have sex.

Instead, the questions make her think…for herself.

Like you, I would love for middle school and high school girls to just do what I say and not ever have sex because we know best, right? I would love for them to never experience pain or hurt or discomfort in this season of adolescence. I would love for them to avoid all roadblocks and tearstained-pillow nights. But, that’s not realistic.

So since they will still go through adolescence, with or without me, I am mindful of my approach and hope to help prepare them for when they encounter questions from other people and one of those questions will be about sex.

My First Exposure Experience

Considering all that’s been in the news lately, I’ve been wondering how folks are having the conversation with girls about what is being reported. How are we addressing what they’re hearing? Do we understand how it could be connected to them more than we realize? How?

Well…

The first time I saw a boy’s penis was in my 5th-grade classroom. The boys in 5th grade seemed to be so proud of their penis and wanted all the girls to see it. Without any prompting from the girls, the boys, at their desk, would unzip their pants and show their penis. And not the whole thing, just enough for the girls to be completely embarrassed and grossed out. I don’t ever recall a friend near me asking for the boys to expose themselves, like, “oooh lemme see!” The boys would just unzip and bam!

Not a big bam but, bam.

I don’t recall anyone ever telling our teacher and I can only assume she didn’t know this was happening. But, it is something I will never forget. We were 10. Even without anyone ever telling us, the girls in my class excused their behavior as boys will be boys. Yup, at 10-years-old.

Schools Say No

This may surprise you but, I’ve had schools, where I was invited to speak, purchase my book for their girls and then decide not to distribute the book to the students. Why? Because of Chapter 3.

I always suggest administrators read the book first because I know how schools feel about sex. I was an assistant principal at a high school and every school administrator would like to believe all our students are unblemished and not even interested in sex. Even though they’re young people and youth development and puberty are real!

We admit their attitudes are changing.

We’re semi-comfortable acknowledging their bodies are changing.

But their thoughts? Nope. Nope. Nope! Attachment-1 (11)

Even when they’re exposed to language and images every single day, and that’s just on regular television, billboards, and social media.

I’ve come to realize it’s not just sex that makes parents and schools nervous, it’s the idea of girls thinking about sex that terrifies a lot of people. Our culture is comfortable and even accepting of boys talking about sex. Because, ya know, “boys will be boys” and sex (wanting it, lying about it, simulating it) is a part of them discovering their manhood. I call a flag on the play!   flagontheplayBut, until we admit what we believe, girls are going to keep being left in the dark and boys are going to also be left in the dark while their behavior is excused.

Listen. Talk. Share.

I get it. There are many parents and educators who want to be the ones to introduce sex to their 11-year-old or 15-year-old or 21-year-old. But, seeing the news cycle, may I make a few suggestions to make sure there is clarity on what the preteen or teen or young adult in your life is hearing? To make sure she has the definitions of what she’s bombarded with, especially without your consent or her consent.

Here are some definitions that I hope will help.

Sexual harassment is unwanted and unwelcome sexual attention and behavior.  The behavior is defined as sexual harassment by the person who is receiving it. Period. Yes, this can also happen at school. Yes, sexual harassment can happen between peers. No, it is not just in the workplace. No, we do not excuse sexual harassment as kids just being kids.

Sexual Assault, according to RAINN,  refers to sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the victim.

Rape is a form of sexual assault, but not all sexual assault is rape. The term rape is often used as a legal definition to specifically include sexual penetration without consent.

Sexual misconduct is a broad term encompassing any unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature that is committed without consent or by force, intimidation, coercion, or manipulation.

I know this is uncomfortable. But, my hope is to inform you with what I can, not to ignite fear. This is just a little information and more can be found here. I love this resource, especially for parents.

Decide When You Want To Have Sex And Stick To It

I know this post was not a typical post but, I hope it was helpful and informative. I also hope that you’re willing to allow your girls to read Love Your Jiggle: The Girl’s Guide To Being Marvelous.

Friendships, body image, sex, decision making, healthy risks…are all a part of adolescent development. The beauty is by creating a plan, she’s more likely to stick to it instead of being caught off guard. The other beautiful part is most girls plans are to wait, wait until marriage, wait until they’re in love, wait until they’re not in their school uniform, wait until they’re ready, wait!

But, that happens when a plan is in place. A plan she’s created.

With that said, Love Your Jiggle: The Girl’s Guide To Being Marvelous is also a great book to read together. This way, you create time to talk with her about your plans for her and why you want her to have a plan. It gives you a chance to hear what the girl you love is thinking about and perhaps even what her friends are talking about.

And, if you ever have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out.

As always, I am thankful to partner with you as you raise the marvelous girls in your life.

If you think this is something others would find helpful, please share with them. Post it on your own social media sites. Email it to others. And most importantly, talk to your marvelous girl.

With Gratitude,

Shanterra

Questions to Ponder:

  1. Was this helpful?
  2. How will you use this post to converse with your marvelous girl?
  3. Does your marvelous girl have a plan?
  4. Does your marvelous girl’s school need a speaker like me to come in?
  5. What other information would you like me to share or talk about?