As a parent, I have always encouraged my daughter to stand tall, literally and figuratively, to be confident in her own abilities and opinions and to surround herself with a positive support network. As she finishes study and starts work next year, a country, but only a phone call away, I know she can cope with the demands of work and life away from family, in the knowledge that we and a good group of friends are always there for her. I know as parents we all build our girls up, and at school we know girls, we provide them with the programmes, challenges, role models and the support networks they need to feel confident in their world.
I recognised early on that at Marsden we have a wonderful culture of celebrating the good that we see around us every day that the girls applaud each other’s achievements, whether they be sporting, academic, cultural or personal. This is very special, and something that does not happen everywhere. I read the article ‘7 ways parents can teach girls to build one another up, instead of tearing one another down’ with interest. Young girls naturally stand tall, but as they reach Years 7 and 8 their posture and confidence may change. The biggest challenge appears to be in how girls treat each other. There may be a mistaken belief that someone else’s success means there is less to go around, that there are limited spots for women. The article states “Girls who perceive that it’s a zero-sum game are less likely to support one another, but the experts say that if girls band together, they can expand their options”. The article encourages us to urge our girls to use social media for good - to share each other’s achievements, and to normalise giving and finding support. Healthy competition is good, but as founder of Beautiful Minds Marina Passalaris says, “you can be a good person with goals, without harming anyone”.
Being loyal and bringing people into your life that cheer you on are positive dispositions that sit well with our wellbeing goals at Marsden. My wish is that every girl chooses friendships that nurture and lift her, that she feels safe and included, and that in turn she is kind and supportive to all those in the Marsden family. And that we all continue to get goose bumps when we experience the wonderful assemblies and special occasions where we see, and hear, our girls build each other up.