Advice For My Daughters

I stopped using an alarm clock the day I became a mother.  My daughters became my alarm clock.  They woke me up at all hours of the night and still do sometimes.  I am so tuned into them that they’ve rarely had to wail or scream.  If I heard a slight moan or whisper from down the hall, I ‘d be up.  When they were babies and we co-slept they’d wiggle and kick ever so slightly and I just knew to give them my milk.

These days, for the most part, they sleep through the night, from 7:30pm to around 7am.  Bella usually comes out first in the morning.  Most of the time I hear her door open and the footsteps in the hall.  Then she goes into the living room and turns on PBS.  I officially get out of bed when I know it is 7:00.  I know it is 7:00 when I hear this:

Arthur has been coming on at the same time for as long as we’ve been watching PBS Kids, I hear the song everyday, but today I listened with my heart for the first time.  It truly is a beautiful message to share with our children.  It is the most important advice I would give my daughters, packaged into a song that makes you want to smile and dance!  Here are the lyrics in case you didn’t catch them or couldn’t listen.

Everyday when you’re walking down the street, everybody that you meet
Has an original point of view
And I say HEY! (HEY!) what a wonderful kind of day.
Where you can learn to work and play
And get along with each other

You got to listen to your heart
Listen to the beat
Listen to the rhythm, the rhythm of the street
Open up your eyes, open up your ears
Get together and make things better
By working together!
It’s a simple message and it comes from the heart
Believe in yourself
Well that’s the place to start

And I say HEY! (HEY!)what a wonderful kind of day
Where you learn to work and play
And get along with each other
hey what a wonderful time of day hey!

I want my daughters to believe in themselves.  And I love that this song tells them each time they hear it that that is the place to start.  Because really if they don’t believe in themselves, who else will?  If they do not listen to their hearts they will simply become cogs in the wheel.  I want them to trust their instincts, so that they can recognize trustworthy people.  If they live from a place of love and trust within, they will not be threatened by others.  They can feel love, compassion, and understanding for those who are different.  They will be able to work with others and make thing better.


14 thoughts on “Advice For My Daughters

  1. threegirlpileup October 16, 2009 / 5:45 pm

    I’m with you–I love that song…but I kind of hate Arthur! I finally banned it in our house once I had two kids, because I couldn’t stand the way that the kids talked to each other, especially the siblings. But I’d forgotten all about the theme song–it really is wonderful. Thanks for the reminder!

    • lesleehorner October 16, 2009 / 6:05 pm

      I’ve often thought that Arthur was “too old” for my girls, but this season seems to be tackling some important stuff. It’s actually one of the ones I enjoy. I also really enjoy “Martha Speaks.” Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.

  2. OpinionatedGift October 17, 2009 / 9:35 am

    I can’t believe this show is still on. My 19 year old grew up on this and we still have just about every Arthur character in stuffed toys for her.

    I always loved the opening theme too. But how can you not love Ziggy Marley?

  3. James Findlayson December 10, 2009 / 5:47 am

    “Because really if they don’t believe in themselves, who else will?”

    Don’t you then?

    Sorry, but I’ve grown most when people have believed in me, never when I’ve believed in myself. For, to believe in myself is to try to pull myself up by my own bootstraps.

    If you think no-one will believe in your daughters, maybe it’s because they’re all following this song and are wrapped up with “believing in themselves” that they don’t care about anyone else – unless it’s mutually beneficial?

    I think the song is so depressing, and sums up everything bad in modern society: fixation on yourself, and truth is whatever you make it.

    Maybe the reason for the fear of no-one believing in your daughters isn’t because that’s the way people are? Instead, maybe it’s because everyone’s following the philosophy of that song?

    The more people follow the sentiment of that song, the more lonely and isolated we become. The idea of it bringing harmony and people together is nonsense.

    If you’re trustworthy, your daughters will learn to spot trustworthiness from your example. If you believe in them, they’ll believe they’re believable…

    By believing in others, I’ve watched them grow. The main sentiment in this song is a vile lie. The trouble is, that sentiment is so widely shared unconsciously already, many people conclude, like you, that it’s the last resort, because no-one else will believe in you…

    The sentiment in the song is the cause of the problem, not it’s solution.

    • lesleehorner December 10, 2009 / 9:20 am

      I see your side of this for sure. And you definitely need both (to believe in yourself and have others who believe in you). Maybe it actually is a chicken and egg thing. The most confident person I know grew up with a parent who was CONSTANTLY telling him how great he was and that he could be and do anything. As an adult when he tries to do something he really want to he is certain he will not fail. Me on the other hand, I don’t have a clear memory of anyone ever telling me I could be anything I set my mind to. As a result of that, I never tried to do anything too difficult. I didn’t believe in myself. It was after reading a lot of books that reminded me of the potential within me that I grew the confidence to take on big tasks (like write a novel) and complete them.

      And after reading my response here, maybe you do in fact need someone to believe in you FIRST so you can then believe in yourself. But if you don’t believe in yourself it’s going to be quite difficult to succeed.

      Thanks for stopping by and making me think! Maybe next week I’ll write a post on the importance of “cheerleaders.”

  4. James Findlayson December 11, 2009 / 5:38 am

    Hi there, Leslee.

    Good luck!

    For me, it just increased my self-deception. We’re not just minds and ideas to be believed. You’ve just told me clearly that you don’t believe in yourself, but some books – that told you to believe in yourself.

    In your heart-of-hearts you know it’s a lie, and at best, wishful thinking. Don’t distort your daughters with psychobabble. Love them. The more you try to find them, listen to them, and just be a good mum, the more you’ll see them blossom. I’ve found that parenting is only difficult when I’m wrapped up in myself!

    To relegate your responsibility to your lovely kids to the bizarre teachings of Eckhart Tollle and cronies in some mind-bending experiment on them, is just cruel. How come so many kids today are screwed up? Is it the lack of psychobabble – or too much of it – substituting for the real things in life?

    The only chicken and egg is the way bad ideas can be passed on to one generation to the next, losing something valuable in the process…

    • lesleehorner December 11, 2009 / 8:40 am

      Thanks for the reply, James.

  5. James Findlayson December 13, 2009 / 12:26 pm

    Is that a genuine ‘thanks’ or a, ‘La, la la. I’m not listening?’, ‘thanks’? 🙂

    Seriously, I want to engage because for me, people can’t say why these ‘believe in yourself’ ideas are true, apart from the fact they ‘feel right’ or sound right – but aren’t sound. Do they sound right exactly because they pamper to our own egos – that we more and more hear only what we want to hear if we ‘believe in ourself’?

    Notice how those ideas whilst appearing tolerant, are very intolerant? Because self is put up as the supreme authority – and so the capacity to listen is greatly diminished. I’ve explored both sides, and the other side is more compelling. The difficulty is, the other side isn’t ‘not believing in myself’, but going out of myself in genuine love (self-donation) to others.

    “One commonly voiced assumption is that low
    self-esteem increases the risk of behaviour damaging
    to health among young people – notably drug and
    alcohol abuse and smoking – because it increases
    vulnerability to negative peer group pressure. In fact,
    very low self-esteem if anything reduces sensitivity to
    conformity pressures. It also appears that engaging in
    physically risky pursuits, such as driving too fast or
    under the influence of alcohol is associated with
    high, not low self-esteem.”
    Joseph Rowntree Foundation

    • lesleehorner December 13, 2009 / 3:12 pm

      It actually is not that kind of thanks at all. Your comments thus far have been respectful but since I do not know you I’m not sure if continuing the debate might change that. I’m interested in learning and exploring ideas, not being right. I have been thinking of a response to this comment. I very much see your perspective and have decided to write a blog post instead of putting my ideas here in a reply.

    • lesleehorner December 13, 2009 / 8:01 pm

      I just finished reading the last attached article. I agreed with most everything. I think that’s the issue is that some people hear a song like this Arthur song and read my writing about teaching my daughters to believe in themselves and assume that I am encouraging them to have the kind of self-esteem that leads to narcissism. I know at least one person who fits the descriptions in the article and have been a “victim” of the over-reaction for expressing a different point of view. I think the majority of confident individuals are not over-inflated like this. (But maybe I’ve just been lucky not to come into contact with them.)

      Anyway, I do see your perspective on this. It is a fine line. If you read the post “Believe in Yourself?” you can understand where I stand and how I interpret the song. My thoughts are more in line with this quote from the article.

      “It is not my true self that I must say “no” to, but my poor self-engrossed self, foreign to love and admiration and wonder.”

  6. OpinionatedGift December 13, 2009 / 11:43 pm

    It’s not like believing in yourself and believing and supporting others is a mutually exclusive set of thoughts.

    I agree that encouraging a child to have high self esteem requires more than songs with encouraging lyrics. But I disagree entirely that the lyrics themselves do more harm than good. There’s nothing inherently narcissistic in telling a child to believe in themselves. At worst its just empty words if not backed up by the love and support of those around the child while growing up.

    At best its a good set of words to have in your head when you are having those challenging moments in your life, which everyone has, high self esteem or low. It’s just the way life goes.

    There’s nothing wrong with approaching the issue from all angles.

    There’s no one contributing factor to high self esteem, just as there is no single contributing factor to selfishness or any other psychological approach or condition. There are so many factors that affect the self esteem of a growing human. Words, events, etc.

    The song itself is fine in and of itself, especially when taken with the context of the show itself, where thinking of others is a continual lesson that Arthur and his friends and family learn for the benefit of the kids that watch.

  7. Renee December 14, 2009 / 8:18 am

    High self-esteem for just being alive is narcissistic. High self-esteem through achievement and doing for others is not. And it’s not detrimental.

    And, yes, you need to believe in yourself in order to achieve. Your parents should be supportive and encouraging, but you can’t expect that from complete strangers, so I think the sentiment that they need to believe in themselves because otherwise, who will? is right on.

    There’s nothing wrong with having high self-esteem if it comes from the right place. Low self-esteem, though, can lead people to some ugly places in life.

  8. johncaveosborne March 2, 2010 / 8:59 pm

    hey james, you’re a dick. and you got too much time on your hands, bro.

    go find bono so y’all can continue to scold the rest of us fuck-ups for whatever it is we’ve done so wrong.

    and while you’re at it, swing by walmart and pick up a life. okay?

  9. Jenn March 9, 2010 / 2:50 pm

    I think the detractor’s of self-belief are missing the part of the song that clearly says:

    Open up your eyes, open up your ears
    Get together and make things better
    By working together!

    why is self-love a bad thing? the truest place to be seen is from the heart, and that goes for seeing yourself as well as seeing others.

    have a great day, clicks and all,

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