Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Wheels On the Bus

A few days ago I boarded a bus with about 56 fifth grade girls, 8 other moms, loads of gear, and one cool bus driver. We were headed to an overnight field trip near the little mountain town of Scofield.

The girls, as soon as we were moving, shouted (that is the primary way of communication for 10-year-old girls) to the bus driver to play the Mile Cyrus song, Party In The USA. The super-cool bus driver obliged them and cranked up the song. Here is the surprising part: I was sitting next to my daughter (that part is NOT surprising, she still likes me--I know, my days are numbered). When the chorus came on, ALL the girls on the bus sang and danced along. By the time we returned to school the next day we had heard the song a total of 7 times. I had never heard this song before, I didn't know my daughter knew it either. I looked at her dancing and singing along and smiled.

My daughter, who is in a special advanced class, knew the songs, knew the bands, and knew what all the fifth grade girls knew--even though she is surrounded by braniacs. It was a great moment!

Part of the fun was that all the girls had fun. There weren't many pouters. There weren't many mean girls. These girls still had self-confidence--they hadn't been shot down by the trauma of middle school. It was just pure fun. And I got to be there and have fun with my daughter. It was a once-in-a-lifetime shot to be with her.

Sadly, the wheels of time will roll for these girls. They will grow up, they will suffer through adolescence, they will make decisions that will make us cry. I wish I could instill in every girl a knowledge that they are amazing, that they will survive if they will just persevere. I wish someone could tell my girls that they are special (they won't believe me, they know I am too biased).

Maybe we should take some time to tell these girls that they are special. Each one of them is amazing and bursting with potential. Maybe we can be the difference in a girls life because we took the time . . .


  1. That was beautiful, DJ, thanks for that.

    Yesterday I was at an activity with 15 girls (all between the ages of 8-11) and they had a journaling exercise to write one thing they liked about themselves when they looked in the mirror. I was very surprised to hear my daughter say, "Nothing." It broke my heart and made me realize the challenges girls face in this world. I agree that we should all take the effort to let them know how special they are!

  2. Bravo, DJ. A great point and a wonderful example to illustrate it. I think if we all made an effort to sincerely compliment a girl at least once a day it would make a difference. Pop culture just bombards them with perceptions of what girls "should" be like, and it's not very positive.

  3. Don't underestimate yourself, DJ. My parents taught me who I was from before I can remember and I always believed them. I also don't remember too many times when I didn't want my mom around. She was one of my best friends through school even though she never acted like anything more than my parent. But I agree with you, girls need all the positive examples they can get!

  4. Beautifully illustrated, DJ. Loved the posts today. Ditto to everyone.