My daughter, Evi, and I watched Little Women this past weekend. It’s been on our must-see list for a while. On Saturday, we set aside an evening for mommy/daughter movie night. We snuggled on the couch, pulled two comfy throws over our laps, and started the film.
I didn’t know if my girl, who’s ten, could follow the storyline but I was willing to take a chance. I wanted to introduce her to this classic story of the March sisters. From the very first scene, Evi was completely engaged in the lives of Jo, Amy, Meg, and Beth.
But, it was Jo’s free spirit that captivated Evi’s attention the most. We paused the movie several times to talk about the struggle Jo faced to have a voice, express her thoughts, ambitions, talents, and fully claim her deepest desires and dreams.
In an emotional scene, Jo talks to her mother, Marmee, about whether or not she should have accepted her neighbor and best friend Laurie’s marriage proposal.
“I just feel like women, they have minds and they have souls, as well as just hearts,” Jo says. “And they’ve got ambition and they’ve got talent, as well as just beauty.”
Marmee asks if she loves Laurie—really loves him enough to marry him. When Jo stalls, Marmee points out gently, “That’s not loving.”
Evi and I paused the movie, again, to talk about this moment in the film.
“What does all that mean, Mommy?”
“I think what Marmee is saying is that it’s really important to be true to yourself and not to hide from who you are, in order to fit in or to keep up with expectations.”
I sat with my thoughts for a minute. As an adoptee, I’ve disguised what was going on inside of me because I wanted to be accepted and loved. These choices never brought me happiness or fulfillment because rejecting what is real means abandoning what is true.
I looked at Evi’s beautiful face and into her big, brown eyes and said, “I always want you to be exactly who you are and who you want to be. Here’s one thing to remember: Never abandon your truth.”
She smiled and replied, “I know, Mama.” My girl is wise beyond her years!
Watching Little Women with my daughter got me thinking about how to mother—wild and free. Marmee was offering Jo the freedom to be her bold and spirited self. Her words were an affirmation for her daughter to never compromise who she is.
Little Women may be set in the 1860’s, but its message is timeless and current.
The greatest gift we can give to our children is the freedom to be exactly who they are in the deepest and wildest parts of themselves.
How many adopted children feel a pressure to be perfect and to please; a pressure to be someone they’re not in order to be someone who’s loved?
Marmee shares valuable wisdom by:
- Reminding us how important it is to encourage our children to be true to themselves.
- Emphasizing how vital it is to support their decisions.
- Helping them to be who they really want to be.
How can you assure your child that they’re safe to connect with the truest and purest parts of themselves and be who they really want to be?
Begin by letting them know that you believe in their excellent and unlimited nature. In other words, you believe in them. What an empowering foundation that sets for a child!
How can you be an example to your child of living wild and free, honoring your dreams, and breathing life into those dreams?
Children learn so much about living through watching how their parents live.
I want my children to see a woman and mother fully living and realizing her deepest and wildest dreams. I want them to feel safe and to know that they’re free to realize their dreams, too. I won’t try to control their dreams. Control shatters trust, it’s counter to love.
When we live and love true to who we are—when we live wild and free in this way—we offer to our children the freedom to do the same. There’s no greater gift!