We have a dance teacher in our village who really has something special. Her name is Miss Sophie.
I wanted to introduce the girls in my monthly girls’ group to the notion of acquiring mentors as they make their passage through life. I wanted to show them that they probably already have a few. I wanted to make it more conscious, so that they would appreciate those relationships and invest time in them, so that they would be aware of the circle of women that surrounds them and draw on that support when they need to.
I began by spending time with the group reviewing our lives. We thought about seminal experiences, defining moments, and key people who had made a big impact on us. Each girl was asked to select three women who had had a powerful influence in her life. It could be a relative, friend, teacher, coach, neighbour, internet acquaintance, chance encounter – and, of all the girls in the group who knew Miss Sophie, each one picked her as one of their three.
Recently Miss Sophie put on a dance show with all her students. While watching the show I was struck by how many children she had performing. We live in a small village and yet a significant proportion of our six to seventeen year olds were up there on that stage. I wondered what Miss Sophie and her special group of co-teachers are offering our girls that they flock to class and continue dancing long into the years when exams and socialising and romance call to our teens. I think it might be love – her students feel loved, and share in her obvious love of dance.
My daughter, who was in her show, and my son, who watched it, were so inspired by the experience that they vowed to create their own dance show. And they did, in three days, with ten friends, and performed it to over sixty people in our village hall. But more on that another time…
My point today is to remember to delicately help our daughters make the most of the special women that they have in their lives. While it can be fine and fun to follow the movements of a favourite pop idol or movie star, and women in the media can be very inspiring, there are real and special women who live in our neighbourhood that touch our children’s lives.
I also want to remember to celebrate the Miss Sophies, and the kindly neighbours, generous teachers, grannies, aunties and lollipop ladies who are inspiring and supporting our daughters.