How Your Daughter Feels Different Matters

Raising Daughters | Feels Different


Strength lies in celebrating every girl’s unique story, fostering a world where differences are cherished, not judged.

All girls feel different in some way & they need our unconditional love & support

Here’s to the kids who are different poem

How you feel different circles at my camps & school programs

Ways girls feel different:

Size: tallest girl, 1st to start puberty, short, heavier build, “fat thighs”, long legs, muscular arms

Appearance: big nose, red hair (research great GM), curly hair, 1st to have braces, 1 finger on both hands, no fingers on 1 hand, cochlear implant with hearing aid b/c deaf, dark skin, birth marks, cleft lip

Behavior: stutter, tics, fear of vomiting, misophonia, impulsive or can’t sit still, not a girl-girl, confide in pets or stuffed animals

Labels: ADHD, depressed, anxiety, social anxiety, shy, loud, too sensitive

Family: adopted, divorced, only child, embarrassed to have Fs over b/c Ps fight a lot, have 2 moms, brother with autism, sister with Down Syndrome, wild sister who’s always in trouble & fights with Ps and cops called, dad in prison, Iowa Ps with drug problems (meth), introvert in family of extroverts, artsy in family of athletes

Things: not have a phone or on social media, not get to watch TV shows friends do, no free time b/c so many activities, uncommon hobby

Ability: Gillian Lynne story; schoolwork is hard, dyslexia, think they are stupid, worst athlete at recess, slow runner, uncoordinated, last kid chosen for games, all siblings with straight A’s & they struggle for Bs & Cs, feel behind socially, family of achievers & they want to do hair

Lessons & gifts from their differences

Stories of eminent people who didn’t fit the mod as kids:

Choreographer Gillian Lynne, Sculptor Olga Ayala, American artist Benjamin West

For more information about Dr. Jordan’s weekend retreats, summer camps, and Strong Girls Strong World School Program, check out his website at

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How Your Daughter Feels Different Matters

I want to start with a poem. It’s one of my favorite poems of all time, and it goes like this, “Here’s to the kids who are different, the kids who don’t always get As, the kids who have ears twice the size of their peers and noses that go on for days. Here’s to the kids who are different. The kids they call crazy are dumb. The kids who don’t fit with the guts and the grit, who dance to a different drum. Here’s to the kids who are different. The kids with the mischievous streak. For when they have grown, as history has shown, it’s their difference that makes them unique.” I love that poem.

I’m not going to talk about kids who are “different.” It was inspired by my first week of summer camp. One of the things that we do at our camp sometimes is do an exercise where we go around the circle, and everybody shares one way they feel different in a way that they don’t like. There are lots of ways we may feel different. We like being that way but there are some ways that we judge ourselves.

Each girl goes around. They share something. Sometimes, the girls will get a little nervous. They’ll say, “Can I pass?” We’ll say, “Sure, we’ll come back to you.” I’ve been doing these how I feel different circles for a long time, camps, retreats, and school programs. I’ve never had kids not share, eventually. What happened at camp was we went around the circle. The girls all share. We went back to 2 or 3 girls. Some of the girls said, “I have another one,” so we went around a second time.

Girls like to share. It’s valuable for them to hear that they’re not the only ones who feel like they’re different and they judge themselves in some way. Unfortunately, many kids are teased, made fun of, or put down for being different in some of these ways. It’s oftentimes by their peers. Sometimes by their siblings, parents, and teachers.

I heard a good story a long time ago about this little girl who was distracted in school. She had a hard time paying attention, especially in regular classes like Math, Science, Reading, and English. She was focused when she was drawing pictures. One day, this little girl had her head down when she was supposed to be paying attention. The teacher walked up to her desk and said, “What are you drawing?” The little girl replied, “I’m drawing a picture of God.” The teacher said, “Nobody knows what God looks like.” The little girl looked up at her, grinned, and said, “They will in a minute.”

A lot of kids who are different in lots of different ways aren’t seen for who they are. They’re judged. We try and change them into being more “normal” to their detriment. What I’d like to do is share a bunch of ways that kids have told me that they feel different in my counseling practice, but mostly in my retreats, my summer camps, and my circle time in schools.


I heard a lot of these but I’ve also heard them at other times. One of the ways that girls feel different is in their size. A lot of times, in about fifth and sixth grade, girls start puberty earlier, especially the first girl who goes through puberty because they’re taller than not just the girls but also all the boys in the class. They start getting a little curvy. They get upset because they feel so different.

I’ve had a lot of girls who feel like they’re fat and stuff when they’re getting curvy because they don’t look like they’re little stick figures, little girl-looking friends. Girls sometimes feel different because they’re short. They may have a heavier build. I’ve had a lot of girls in my circles feel fat because when they sit down in a circle with their friends at school like if they’re at the swimming pool, they look at their thighs compared to their friend’s thighs, especially girls who are athletes, gymnasts, and swimmers, or whatever the sport, they have strong legs. They have muscular legs, but those look different than the little stick legs that some of their friends have. They interpret that as being fat.

There’s one girl who is in seventh grade. She’s a tall, fairly thin girl, but she’s also strong. She plays lots of different sports. She said she felt different because her arms were muscular. She didn’t like it because, in her mind, it looked so much different than her friends and her peers. She had athletic-looking arms. They weren’t big. She wasn’t ripped. She had strong arms but she was feeling different because of that.


Appearance is a big one that a lot of girls in my circles will say they feel different. I’ve had girls tell me they feel different because they have big noses. There was a girl who felt different because she had red hair and she was the only one in her family who had red hair except for her great-grandma, who had passed away.

Raising Daughters | Feels Different
Feels Different: Appearance is a big one that a lot of girls will say they feel different.


One of the things I remember encouraging her to do was to talk to her mom and grandma to get stories about her great-grandmother because she loved her great-grandmother. She seemed so much more like her than the rest of the family. I said, “You need to do some research and get a sense of, ‘how am I like her besides the red hair?’” She said, “I know that already because my grandma was spunky and she had a lot of spirit. People called her that.” This girl is the same way. Instead of judging herself as being different in a bad way, she could connect with her great-grandma and realize, “I’m glad I’m like her.”

We had girls who felt different because they had curly and wavy hair. One girl was the first girl in her class to get braces. We had one girl who was born with both hands with one finger on her hands. She felt different because of that. We had a girl at a weekend retreat who had one hand that had no fingers on it. She was born that way. We had a girl at a retreat who was born deaf and she has cochlear implants. She felt different because of that.

We’ve had kids talk about feeling different because they have dark skin, especially if they’re in a school where there are few African-American girls, girls from India, or places of that sort. I’ve had several girls over the years who felt different because they had a cleft lip, a cleft palate, or birthmarks. Lots of girls had maybe hemangiomas like red spots on their faces or different parts of their body because that’s the way they were born. They felt different because of that. It made them stick out, especially if they’re teased by it or about it.

We’ve talked in this show in the past about how girls, especially when they get into fifth, sixth grade, and up, compare themselves to their peers. They don’t look like their peers or act like their peers in any sort of way. Sometimes that makes them look or feel different. Appearance thing is a huge one, especially in middle school and high school.


Other ways that kids feel different is with their behavior. I had a girl who stutters a little bit when she gets anxious. Another girl, when she gets nervous or anxious in big groups or if she’s giving a talk, has little facial ticks that come out. You don’t normally see those, but when she’s anxious or nervous, that’s when they come out.

I’ve had girls in past circles who said they feel different because they have a fear of vomiting. They may have thrown up one time or maybe had a friend who threw up in school. That got in their head, “I don’t want to be that or do that again.” They get so anxious that they get a stomach ache. When they get a stomach ache, they’re afraid they’re going to throw up. That go and loop in their head.

I’ve had several girls in the last several years who shared how they feel differently. They have misophonia, which is being sensitive to noises. Of the two girls I can think of off the top of my head, one of them was about several months ago. She talked about how one of her younger brothers eats loudly. He chews loudly and it drives her crazy. She felt different because she was sensitive to that. I’ve had girls say they feel different because they can’t sit still. They’re impulsive and restless. They tap their foot, pick their nails, or always crack their nails.

I’ve also had a lot of girls, especially in the last several years, who feel different because they’re not girly girls. One of the girls who’s been to our camps dresses down. She likes to wear her hair shorter. She’s got a lot of male energy. She’s very athletic. She feels different because she has a hard time connecting to girls her age because they’re girly. They’re into clothes and boys. She’s not there. I’ve had some girls who are getting into middle school and beyond who felt different because they still talk to their pets or even talk to their stuffed animals when they felt down because they felt like they had nobody else to go to. That made them feel different.


Another way the girls feel different in our circles is that they have a label. There were two girls in our circle who felt different because they had ADHD, and that made them feel different. I’ve had girls who’ve been diagnosed with things like depression, anxiety disorder, or social anxiety. Some of them may or may not be on medication, but because of the labels, that made them feel different in a way they don’t like.

There are some girls who’ve been labeled as being shy, loud, or out there. There’s a girl in one of my high school retreats who said she’d been labeled by her family as being sensitive. Her family is more stoic. They’re quiet and this girl is out there but she feels her emotions outwardly. Her family is a family of stuffers. When she cries during movies and things, she gets criticized by her family for being too sensitive. At least in her family and beyond, it makes her feel like she shouldn’t be that way and she feels different.


There are a lot of ways kids feel different because of the way their family is, different parts of their family, and the way their family acts. I had a girl who was adopted. She said how she felt different in the circle. She felt that way because she’d been adopted when she was a baby from Russia. Kids who have been through divorce feel different because they had to go to two houses. They may feel different because they don’t see their dad very much because, after a divorce, their dad may have moved and has a new family.

Raising Daughters | Feels Different
Feels Different: There are a lot of ways kids feel different because of the way their family is, different parts of their family, and the way their family acts.


I’ve had kids feel different because they are an only child and all their friends have siblings. I’ve also had a lot of girls in the past, and one of these felt different. She said she doesn’t want to have her friends over to her house because her parents are always bickering and fighting. She doesn’t want that to happen when her friends are there because that would embarrass her.

I’ve had kids, especially in the last several years, who feel different because they have two moms or two dads. I’ve had kids say they felt different because they have a brother with autism. One girl in one of our weekend retreats felt different because she had a sister with Down syndrome. I had one girl who had a brother who was on the spectrum and who was a year or two older than her. Sometimes, in school, he blows up and has fits and meltdowns. From the office, they called her to come down to the counselor’s office to try to quiet him down. He gets made fun of at school and harassed. She feels different because she has to handle all that for him. She’s been taking care of him her whole life.

I had a girl in my high school retreat who said she felt different because she had an older sister who was a wild child who was always in trouble and was getting into such bad fights with her parents sometimes that they had to call the police because they couldn’t get her to calm down. She felt different because of that. I’ve had several girls over the past who feel different because they have a parent who may be in jail. Several dads were in prison for doing different things.

We did a school program a couple of years ago. The community had a big problem with meth. There were several girls in our circle who said they felt different because several of them had parents who had drug addictions to meth, and two of them had parents who were in prison because of it for selling it. I had a girl in camp who said she felt different because she’s an introvert in a family of extroverts. She has a dad and a brother who are loud, and she has a mom who’s that way too. This girl is more quiet. She likes her alone time. In her family, she feels like she doesn’t quite fit the mold.

I’ve also had a lot of girls in the past, including a girl who said she felt different because she loves art. She’s an arts and crafts kid in a family of athletes. Her sister and her brother are these top athletes people. Her dad’s into sports. Her mom was an athlete in high school. This girl is not into sports and hates competition, but she loves art. She’s gotten pressure in the past from her family. She should be more into sports. They also don’t support her artsy stuff as much as they support her sibling’s sports stuff.

The Little Boy

Years ago, I found a story, and I can’t remember where I found it. The story is called The Little Boy by Helen Buckley. It’s a little bit long but bear with me. One day, a little boy went to school. When he had been in school, the teacher said, “We’re going to make a picture.” “Good,” said the little boy. He loved making pictures. He liked to make all kinds of things, like lions, tigers, trains, and boats. He took out his box of crayons and started to draw. The teacher said, “Wait, it’s not time to begin.” He waited until everybody looked ready.

The teacher said, “We’re going to make flowers.” “Good,” said the little boy. He loved making flowers. He began to make a beautiful one with his pink, orange, and blue crayons. The teacher said, “Wait, I will show you how.” The teacher’s flower was red with a green stem. The teacher said, “Now you may begin.” The little boy looked at the teacher. They looked at his own flower, and he liked his flower a lot better than the teachers, but he didn’t say this. He turned his paper over and he made a flower like the teachers. It was red with a green stem.

On another day, when the little boy had opened the door from the outside all by himself, the teacher said, “We’re going to make something with clay.” “I love making things with clay. I like to make snakes, snowmen, elephants, cars, and trucks,” said the little boy. He began to pull and pinch this ball of clay. The teacher said, “Wait, it’s not time to begin.” She waited until everybody looked ready.

The teacher said, “We’re going to make a dish.” He liked to make dishes, and he began to make some. They were all shapes and sizes, but the teacher said, “Wait, I will show you how.” She showed everyone how to make one deep dish. “Now, you may begin,” said the teacher. This little boy looked at the teacher’s dish. He looked at his own, and he liked his dishes better than the teachers, but he didn’t say this. He rolled his clay into a big ball and made a dish like the teachers. It was a deep dish. Soon, the little boy learned to wait, watch, and make things like the teacher. Pretty soon, he didn’t make things of his own anymore.

It happened that the little boy in his family moved to another house in another city. The little boy had to start another school. On the first day he was there, the teacher said, “We’re going to make a picture.” “Good,” said the little boy.” He waited for the teacher to tell him what to do, but the teacher didn’t say anything.

She walked around the room and came to this little boy. She said, “Don’t you want to make a picture? “Yes. What are we going to make?” said the little boy. “I don’t know until you make it,” said the teacher. “How shall I make it?” said the little boy. “Any way you want,” said the teacher. “Any color,” asked the little boy. “Any colors. If everybody made the same picture and used the same colors, how would I know who made what and which was which?” said the teacher. “I don’t know?” said the little boy. He sat down, looked at his paper, and began to draw a red flower with a green stem.

I’m afraid our whole educational system does that to children. We beat the creativity out of them. There’s a good author, Ken Robinson, who’s written some good things about creativity in schools and the educational system. Ken Robinson did a good TED Talk. It was one of the top three most-watched TED Talks of all time. Because of the way kids are treated and the way we educate them, a lot of times, we’re missing out on some great artists, musicians, and writers because we don’t value that stuff as much as we do the ABCs, especially in this day and age.

Our whole educational system beats the creativity out of children. Click To Tweet

You may have one of those daughters or sons in your home. I want you to be very conscious about the way you support them. I want you to value that stuff as much as you value their select soccer teams. Other things I’ve heard in my How You Feel Different Circles. Sometimes, it’s about stuff. I’ve had girls say that they feel different because they don’t have a cell phone. Their mom and dad don’t believe in that and aren’t letting them have it yet, and all their friends have one.

The same thing goes sometimes for social media. I’ve had a lot of girls in the circle say, “I feel different because all my friends are on TikTok and I’m not.” There are some girls who also say they don’t get to watch a lot of the TV shows that their friends do. They feel different. I remember several years ago, my wife and I were at a school. It’s an all-girls school and we were working with the sixth-grade class. The second time we were there, we did our How Do You Feel Different Circle.

I remember one of the girls said that she felt different because she was so busy with all of her sports and activities that she didn’t have any free time and downtime. When she would hear about her friends doing fun stuff together on the weekends, she felt different because she didn’t have time to do those things. That was a telling testament to our culture. A lot of kids feel different because they don’t have that time. Girls have told me that they feel different in our circles because they have different uncommon hobbies. They’re into anime. I had a girl who loved to draw comic strip characters. She wants to do that as a career, but none of her friends do that, which makes her feel different.


A last area that I want to give you some examples of is when girls feel different because of their abilities in different kinds of things. As an example, let me tell you a story about a woman whose name is Gillian Lynne. In the 1930s, Gillian was an eight-year-old, and she was taken by her mom to a psychologist because she was doing badly in school. She was late turning in her homework. She was a poor test taker. She was always fidgeting and disrupting the class. She couldn’t sit still.

After the psychologist listened to the mom’s information, talked to Gillian, and observed her, he said to the mom that he wanted to talk to her in private. They left the room. Before they did, he turned on the radio to a station that was playing dance music. He and the mom walked out. They went around the corner and started to watch Gillian through their two-way mirror. As soon as they closed the door and were watching, Gillian started gracefully dancing around the room like she was in her own little world.

The psychologist wisely turned to Gillian’s mom and said, “Gillian isn’t sick. She doesn’t have a diagnosis. She’s not a problem. She’s a dancer. Take her to dance school.” Her mom did. She found a school that focused on that. On her first day at the dance school, Gillian walked in and saw a room full of kids like her who couldn’t sit still and who had to move.

She had many years of dance training and eventually joined the Royal Ballet. During her illustrious career, she worked with the producer Andrew Lloyd Webber, creating dances in the choreography for shows like Cats, the Phantom of the Opera, and many more. She became a world-famous choreographer. Thank goodness her mom found someone who helped her learn how to support her daughter instead of judging her. I don’t know Gillian, but I think because of her story, she felt different.

Other ways because of ability that kids might feel differently. We had a girl in our circle who felt different because school was hard for her. She has some learning disabilities. She looks at her friends who were breezing through school, not even trying hard and getting As. Here she is working her butt off to barely get Bs and Cs. She thinks she’s stupid, and she feels different.

There is a girl at a retreat who has dyslexia. She also thought she was stupid and felt different because she had to have a person come into the classroom and give her special attention like a teacher’s aide. That made her feel different. There are a lot of kids who feel different because they have different issues that cause them to have to leave the classroom to get services like physical therapy, occupational therapy, or speech therapy. That makes them feel different.

Raising Daughters | Feels Different
Feels Different: There are a lot of kids who feel different because they have different issues that cause them to have to leave the classroom to get services like physical therapy, occupational therapy, or speech therapy.


I’ve been to a lot of school circles. One springtime was one of the times. Kids will talk about how they feel different because they’re the worst athletes at recess. For boys and girls, a lot of times, it’s those top athletes who rule the playground. If you’re not coordinated, you’re the slowest kid, and you’re the last kid who’s picked for teams, which makes you feel different in a bad way. You feel like you’re not good enough.

There was a girl at our camp who felt different because all of her siblings got straight As and they were top students. This girl was struggling to get Bs and Cs. There are some girls who tell me that they feel different because they feel like they’re behind socially. They’re not doing some of the things that their friends are. They are not watching those TV shows. They’re not on TikTok and social media.

There was a girl who was at our teen camp who came from a family of high achievers. The mom is a lawyer. The dad is an architect. She has two siblings who are in professional schools for college. This girl does not want to go to college. She wants to go to cosmetology school. She wants to do hair. She’s one of those kids in the last few years of high school where she’s the one where everybody goes before proms and homecoming dances. She does their makeup and hair. She loves it, and she wants to do that, but because everybody in her school and everybody in her family is doing the more traditional “way,” that one path thing I’ve talked about, she feels different.

How To Support Our Girls

I’ve talked about this in the show many times before. Every kid, in some way, feels different. I’ve done those kinds of circles for many years, camps, retreats, school programs, all those things I’ve talked to you about. I’ve never had a circle where someone wasn’t able to share at least 1 or 2 things about ways that they judge and they’re different in a way they don’t like.

I guarantee you that your daughters, for those of you who are reading this, in some ways feel different and they judge themselves for it. I would love for you to have conversations with them about what ways you might feel different and help them to reframe it. First of all, it’s nice to sit in a circle of peers and hear, “I’m not the only one who judges myself. I’m not the only one who feels different in some way.” That’s a gift. It’s a blessing for girls to know that they’re not the only ones. Sometimes we’ll tell them that, but they don’t believe it until they’re in a circle and they hear it.

Your daughters, in some ways, feel different and they judge themselves for it. Click To Tweet

It is also good for girls to start to identify the things that they’ve learned because of the way they’re different. What are some of the blessings and the gifts that have come from that? One of them is empathy. I read a story about a pet store owner. He put up a sign in the store one day that said, “Puppies for sale.”

A little girl walked into his store and she said, “How much do you sell the puppies for?” The owner said, “Anywhere from $50 to $200.” The little girl pulled some change out of her pocket. She had $12.37 and asked to look at the puppies. The man whistled and the mother came in. Behind her came six little tiny puppies. One of the puppies was lagging behind, limping badly. The little girl asked what was wrong with her. The owner explained that she was born without a hip socket on one side and she would always limp.

This little girl told the man that’s the dog that she wanted. The man said that he would give it to her for nothing. She insisted she wanted to pay because that dog was worth as much as the others. She says she’d pay $2.37 and $0.50 a month until he was paid for. The owner looked at her and said, “Are you sure you want to buy this little dog? She’s never going to be able to run or jump and play with you like the other puppies.” The little girl reached out, pull up her pants leg to reveal a badly twisted, crippled left leg that was supported by a big metal brace. The little girl said, “I don’t run well myself. That little puppy is going to need somebody who understands.”

You can think about the ways that we’re different and you can judge it in a way that makes you feel separate, or you can use it to feel more empathy for people that you understand. We don’t have the exact same differences that somebody has, but we have the same feelings that we felt along the way. We look at people sometimes and we see we’re different because we have a different skin color or they’re into sports, and I’m not.

We’ve done our What Do You Have In Common Exercises at camp. We’ll pair up girls like that who are “different.” They look at each other in a superficial way and say, “I wouldn’t be friends with her because we’re different.” When they sit down and listen to each other, they realize, “We have a lot of things in common that we would never know if we superficially judged each other. That causes us to be separate and not to hang out together.”

Parents and educators have a huge role in making sure our kids don’t get stuck or held back by their differences. Let me tell you a couple of my favorite stories about real-life people and eminent people that you might relate to. One of them was about a little girl named Olga. She grew up with a mom who was depressed. She had bipolar disorder. Her dad would tell her to take care of her mother whenever he went to work.

This little girl’s mother had always wanted to be an artist, but she lived in Puerto Rico. She stayed home with her husband’s work because that’s the way it was done in Puerto Rico at that time. When she was about five years of age, her mom was sitting at the kitchen table and she was doodling on a grocery list. She drew a picture of Mickey Mouse, which shocked the little girl. She said, “I thought she was like a god.” I told her, “You have to teach me how to do that. That’s amazing.”

From that day forward, this little girl was always drawing. She got in trouble at school because she had a low focus except for art. At a parent-teacher conference, her teacher said, “She’s not doing her lessons. She’s always drawing.” Her parents’ response to that was, “We need to buy Olga more paper at home.” This mother continued to aspire her and her work. She became a famous sculptor. She is famous all over the world. She is Olga Ayala.

Another story is about a little boy named Benjamin. When he was seven years of age, she was put in charge of his little niece when his mom went to work one day. He was fanning flies over her crib. The baby was laughing. He grabbed a pen and paper. This little boy started to work to try and capture this little baby’s charms. He was inspired by her.

As he finished, his mom returned and caught Benjamin off guard. He tried to hide his drawings, but his suspicious behavior drew his mom’s attention. She said, “What have you been doing?” Benjamin begged his mom not to be upset as he handed over his drawings. She looked at them and she declared that those drawings looked like his little niece, Sally.

The following year, his aunt sent him a box of paints and canvases, and Benjamin disappeared the next morning with his supplies, forgetting all about school. His mom was upset when she found him in the attic and was about to scold him when her eyes fell on his drawings. Instead of reprimanding him, she picked him up, covered him with kisses, and promised to explain to his dad what kept him from his studies. The famous artist was Benjamin West, an American painter. Later in life, he was often heard to say, “It was my mother’s kisses that made me an artist.”

I’ve heard many girls in the last several years in my circles in schools. When I asked them, “What do you want to do after high school?” They say, “Go to college.” I’ll say, “Do you have any idea what you want to do with your life?” Many of them say, “I wanted to be a teacher but I’m not going to school and do something different.” I’ll say, “Why?” They’ll say, “My parents said you can’t make enough money.” Some of the girls will say, “I’ve always wanted to be a writer or an artist in some way.” They get the same message. You can’t make enough money.

We’re losing our artists, writers, poets, musicians, and dancers because we have so much energy around money. Therefore, our kids who have different talents and gifts don’t get support for it like Olga Ayala and Benjamin West did. We need to learn to see our kids through their highest light and to support them, even if it looks different.

Remember the words from my opening poem. Here’s to the kids who are different. The kids with the mischievous streak. When they have grown, as history has shown, it is their difference that makes them unique. There are lots of stories about people like Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison, who were different when they were kids. Pablo Picasso used to draw sixes. When he started to draw the number six, he said, “It looks so much like a nose. He couldn’t help but make it into a nose and make it into a face.” Here’s to the kids who are different. Those kids need support.

Let me end here with a good story. It talks about a way to support kids who are different. There’s a little girl who grew up knowing she was different because she was born with a cleft palate. When she started school, her peers teased her about her misshapen lip and her crooked nose. She had lopsided teeth and garbled speech. When they would ask her what had happened to her lip, she’d tell them that she had fallen down and cut it on a piece of glass because that somehow seemed more acceptable than admitting she’d been born differently.

She had become convinced that no one outside of her family could ever love her. Luckily, she got a caring and loving teacher in the second grade. All the kids adored this teacher. One day, all the kids were doing their yearly hearing tests and she was embarrassed because she was virtually deaf in one of her ears.

In the past, she had passed the test by pressing her hand lightly against the good ear so she could hear what the teacher was saying. The teacher’s instructions were, “Hold that ear tight so you can’t hear that ear,” and then she would test the other ear. The teacher would do that and they would say phrases like, “The sky is blue. Do you have new shoes?” The kids were supposed to repeat it. That was their hearing test.

This little girl knew the gig. It was her turn in second grade. She waited for the phrase from her teacher. She was expecting to hear, is the sky blue? Do you have new shoes? Instead, she heard seven words that changed her life. The teacher whispered into her ear, “I wish you were my little girl.” That unconditional love and acceptance of kids for who they are, even though they’re different, is what’s going to allow them to become who they’re supposed to become.

That unconditional love and acceptance of kids for who they are, even though they're different, is what's going to allow them to become who they're supposed to become. Blog marker: That unconditional love and acceptance of kids for who Click To Tweet

You might encourage your kids to sit down and read this blog with you. When you see stories in the news and books, have them read biographies about people who have differences or, better, share your differences. I’m sure every one of you reading this, every parent had it said at some point in their life, felt different in some way.

Think back to when you were in grade school, middle school, or high school. There are lots of ways that we’ve all felt different. Share those with your daughters so they know you can understand them. They know you can resonate and connect with their story because you two have felt that way at some point. Tell them how you overcame it. Instead of judging it in a negative way, how do you learn to embrace it and turn it into a positive?

Stories are valuable, like the stories about Gillian Lynne, the dancer, and the story about Benjamin West, the artist. All those kinds of stories can help kids learn that it’s good to be different. It makes them unique. That’s going to be part of the way they’re going to give their gifts to the world. Thanks so much for tuning in. Always feel free to pass these on to your friends and people you know who have kids. I will be back with another episode. Check out all of my programs, my books, and everything else that I do in my online parenting courses at


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