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Stories have the power to awaken our imagination to possibilities; they may inspire and encourage us, challenge and change us.  When we read stories of others’ attitudes and responses to their life situations, struggles and problems, the resources they found, the courage and determination they demonstrated in working through their obstacles towards triumph, we find hope stirring within ourselves.  There is a real possibility of finding a way towards hope, peace and joy even if the circumstances we’re in don’t change.

YOUR story, or even snippets of your story, may be just what someone needs to hear today.  YOUR story, or parts of it, is a gift to others.  Here’s a place to talk life, to share the steps you have taken, the things you‘ve learned along the way and what you have found helps or hinders you.

Let’s Build our Teenage Girls, not Trash Them

What messages do we send to our teenagers in their challenging years?

And why do we send such negative messages to teenage girls, and positive messages to teenage boys?

Katherine Young, a 31-year-old graphic designer, was shocked when she first saw two magazine covers next to each other.

“The worst part for me was ‘Wake Up Pretty,'” she said. “I mean what the hell kind of unattainable standards are we setting for kids? Being a girl is hard enough without thinking you are somehow a failure just by waking up in the morning.”

So she decided to “fix” the Girls’ Life cover and create an empowering version that she thought could be just as educational and inspiring for girls as the Boys’ Life cover had been for boys.
For Young, fighting back against what she saw as the “unattainable standards” set by covers like the one she saw on Girls’ Life was personal.

“I always felt like I wasn’t good enough in my teens and early twenties because my jean size was too big and boys I liked never liked me,” she said. “The popular clothes stores wouldn’t even carry my size. It didn’t matter that I was accomplished, had integrity, and achieved my goals one after another. I thought something was wrong with me because I didn’t ‘wake up pretty.'”

So let’s take the time to be intentionally positive about the meaningful things in a teenagers life that can set them up for the years ahead (and not set them up for failure through unattainable and shallow standards)

Girls' Life and Boys' Life - the real magazine covers

Girls’ Life and Boys’ Life – the real magazine covers.

Girls' Life mock cover - the version that would be so much more helpful and beneficial for teenage girls

Girls’ Life mock cover – the version that would be so much more helpful and beneficial for teenage girls