THE best gift for any child: finding their tribe

Meg was terrified of public speaking, and when it was her turn to speak as the valedictorian of her 8th grade class, she froze, requiring her mom to escort her down from the stage. She went to NYU to study journalism and to become a writer, occasionally doing commercials to pay her bills. She landed a role on the soap opera As the World Turns and found that she loved moving in acting circles. Meg moved to L.A. after graduation, and enrolled in an acting class that included newcomers Michelle Pfeiffer, Sean Penn, Angelica Houston, and Nicolas Cage. She said it felt like being in a big, nutty family, and for the first time in her life she found people she really connected with. Meg Ryan had found her'd

A tribe is a group of people who ‘get’ you in a way that most others don’t and who see the world as you do. It’s where you feel a sense of belonging, where you feel the most natural and the most you. It’s incredibly freeing to be accepted and affirmed for exactly who you are, and to be inspired and pushed to be your very best. Every girl needs to find such a group.

Connecting with people who share your enthusiasms and passions lets you know you are not alone. They validate that what you are engaged in matters no matter how different it appears to most people. Encourage girls to read biographies of adults who share their interests in order to connect them with mentors who can mirror who they are and want to become. My favorite books with stories of how people found their tribe and passion are: The Element, by Ken Robinson; The Right Words At The Right Time, by Marlo Thomas; Smart Girls Gifted Women, by Barbara Kerr; and Everyday Greatness, by Stephen Covey.

I talk to a lot of quirky girls who are bright, creative, strong-minded, and who don’t fit the pattern of your ‘normal’ adolescent girl. They waste a lot of time and energy resisting parent’s and teacher’s attempts to mold them into the norm, and many decide that they are weird and unlovable and outcasts. A tribe of like-minded people shows them that there are others like them, and that it’s okay to be exactly who they are. Dropping old negative beliefs about themselves and any rebellion frees up energy for creativity and to fully engage in their passions.

Help your daughter understand the value of finding her tribe. When she discovers her “peeps”, you will see her at her happiest and highest self.


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