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Monday, July 14, 2008

All girls course

Here's to being an adolescent female. What a strange and difficult time. I can only remember a few snippits of pain and embarrassment from my own. Now I know why its not all so crystal clear, because it was the worst time of my life, and in order to move and deal I had to do some healthy blocking out. I think they all do, the people that make it that is. The permanent scars though, do travel with us. I think some injuries incurred on this four week adventure with six girls and two female instructors that may last a life time. The time people have on their Outward Bound course is so vivid it can stay present for a while, at least that has been my experience. A few photos here display their good times. Every time the camera came out, it was a good time. For me, every time I had a few sips of coffee it was a good time.

Each day it was a different play with different characters. We had many different characters, from the bully to the nurturer and from mom to sister. It was a roller coaster of emotion and drama. Luckily, I can say at the end, the very end, it all turned around. Many girls "got it", it being what we had been trying to teach them since day one. Many girls had "Ah-ha" moments. The kind when it all clicks and you finally understand why it is you are where you are, when you are there. These Ah-Ha's kind of explain your destiny in a way that you can understand and have ownership in. It's a whimsical idea to think that we have no say in our destiny, that is the idea isn't it? I would say that we have a ton of say in where we end up, and how we are when we are there. Hopefully these girls understood that a bit more after their course than before.
But, back to the bully character. If you work with teens in any capacity or expecting to have one at some point, I recommend a book by Barbara Colorosi, "The Bully, Bullied, and the Bystander." Another insightful read is about solely raising girls is "Reviving Ophelia, saving the selves of adolescent girls". These books have really helped me do my job, which is not motherhood, but has some close relation for a month at a time. Here's what Reviving Opehia Author encourages girls to do:
- Develop a 'hate it but do it' center in their brain that will help them meet long-term goals.
- Imagine themselves on good dates with respectful guys who are interested in where they wanted to go and what they wanted to do. The date should last all evening and include compliments, talk and fun.
- Learn positive ways to be independent.
- Keep diaries.
- Write poetry.
- Observe the culture with the eyes of an anthropologist in a strange society. What kinds of women and men are respected in this culture? What body shapes are considered ideal?
- Learn how to manage pain. Mixed up behavior often comes from unprocessed pain. She teaches girls to sit with their pain, listen to it rather than run from it.
- Learn the joy of altruism. Do good deeds for neighbors.
- Learn how to be independent from parents and stay emotionally connected to them.
- Develop passions and stress-relieving habits, like reading, playing piano, sports.
Maybe these tips can help even us grown up girls.