Parents are one of the first ways that children discover the world & their place within it. Our mindset, our words and our dreams have the power to shape them for the rest of their lives.
But our children have the ability to shape us as well. Seeing through their eyes can help us redefine our place in the world. They touch our hearts and affect our lives as profoundly as we do for them.
Rose and her daughter, Lily are such positive examples of the beautiful influence that mother and daughter can have on each other. And I was honored to have the chance to interview them both as part of our monthly spotlight on real-life HoneyBee Heroines & Mentors.
In many ways, Lily is a typical seven-year-old. She loves to play. She loves drawing and arts & crafts. As the oldest, she helps to care for and look after her little brother.
“My favorite thing to do is play school because I get to be the teacher,” Lily says. “I get to teach him because I’m the older one.”
Lily is a bright girl--sweet, joyful & filled with exuberance. But listen closely and you begin to notice the patterns & habits of a girl who is already cultivating her own success.
Describing her typical day, Lily says, “I like to wake up early and read my Shel Silverstein books before everyone else wakes up.” After school time is full of activity, from ballet, tennis & violin lessons to play dates & family walks.
And she holds herself to a very high standard. “Even at 7 years old, she is so hard on herself when she makes a mistake or isn’t perfect,” says her mother Rose. “I am trying to teach her that mistakes happen…and they can turn into something beautiful.”
Rose’s dreams for her daughter and Lily’s dreams for herself are more similar than you might expect for a girl Lily’s age.
“My biggest dream for her is that she live a life with no regrets, to love life with zest and vigor,” says Rose. “I want her to wake up everyday with a sense of gratitude and go about her day living her life with a sense of purpose.”
And that zest & vigor are evident in the breadth of Lily's dreams for herself. She says, "I want to be an artist, teacher, author and illustrator. And a dancer too." In fact, she's known that for years, as you can see from a picture of her dated 2014:
The threads of faith & family are woven into Lily’s young life. It shows in simple, everyday things, such as the time that Lily & Rose spend together preparing family meals. But, it can also be found in the way Lily speaks about herself and her world.
I ask Lily what advice she would give to other girls to help them believe in themselves. And in her answer, I can hear the echoes of previous mother/daughter conversations: “Visualize your dreams. Then do what you visualize. Just do your best.”
Rose adds, “I recently taught her how to visualize before her recent ballet exam because she was so nervous.” But even Rose is surprised at the way Lily is able to apply that concept to other parts of her life.
In fact, throughout the interview I’m struck by how many of Rose’s words resonate with Lily’s responses, put in terms a seven-year-old could express.
Children Listen More Than You Think
When I ask her the kinds of lessons she hopes to teach Lily as she grows up, Rose tells me, “I want her to look beyond herself and to always show compassion and generosity.”
Those are exactly the qualities that Lily is developing, even at her young age. I ask Lily, “What makes you proud to be you?” To which, she responds, “I’m kind.”
When asked to share some of the unexpected lessons of parenthood, Rose confides, “I have to be OK with letting her fall and fail. I have to constantly remind myself that I am raising a resilient kid and she will be OK. She will get back up, dust herself off, and become even stronger.”
And that’s exactly the kind of girl Rose is raising! According to Lily, the word that best describes her is “curious"–the foundation of resiliency & lifelong learning.
Planting Seeds for Tomorrow’s Young Woman
Like many mothers, Rose worries about the challenges Lily will face as she grows up and her world becomes more complex.
She says, “I imagine that her biggest struggle [in her teen years] will be being true to herself. I don’t want her to just follow the crowd because it’s the ‘cool’ thing to do. I want her be confident in her own skin, to do what is right, and not care what others think.”
But with a gentle, consistent kindness, Rose is already influencing and guiding her daughter’s future.
I ask her, “Imagine you could write one thing on a slip of paper and tuck it into a time capsule for your daughter to open when she’s an adult. What would you tell her?”
And Rose’s reply speaks volumes about the kind of mother she is, as well as the kind of daughter she’s raising. “No dream is too big. Have faith in God. Follow your heart. Leap and take risks. Be kind. Be silly. And know I am with you every step of the way.”
I’d say that Lily’s already listening.
Mother's Day is right around the corner! This year, celebrate with that most precious gift: time with your little girl.
Buy a kit for Mother's Day by visiting handcraftedhoneybee.com/kits. Let me know in the checkout notes that you're a mom–I'll throw in a little extra something for you as well!