Issue No. 21: Three Things
“Teach her to love books. The best way is by casual example. If she sees you reading, she will understand that reading is valuable. Books will help her understand and question the world, help her express herself, and help her in whatever she wants to become—a chef, a scientist, a singer, all benefit from the skills that reading brings.”
- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
After the last issue of The Art of the Edit in which I explored the journey to find fulfilling work and included a mention of my father, he told me, "Now you need to write about the three things I told you every day." So, Dad, this one is for you.
I've come across more and more discussions about how to raise girls to be empowered, confident, and secure women. This was one of many topics discussed in a recent conversation between Dax Shepard and Gwyneth Paltrow (Dax has two young daughters with actress Kristen Bell and Gwyneth has one), and it was the topic of a whole book by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, which was published in 2017. (These are just two examples.)
I have zero experience when it comes to raising children, much less girls who know they can rule the world. But I was once a young girl, and I have a father who made sure that my younger sister and I knew what we were capable of every single day. He did this by repeatedly telling us three things:
Girls have the power.
If he hits you, leave. (No questions.)
You have a million choices in life. (To which I add — even if you don’t like any of them).
He would also often tell me, “You’re going to go to Stanford and become a brain surgeon,” which was his way of telling me not that his expectations were veryhigh but that I could do anything that I put my mind to.
I share this with you not because my sister and I have moved through this particular world and time as women unscathed (we’ve had our fair share of challenges and insecurities), but because the theme behind these messages he told us daily is everything: You are in charge. Yes, as a woman. And yes, when life doesn’t go your way.
This doesn’t mean there isn’t deep misogyny — it’s very, very real — it just means (in my mind) that we have the power to change it, starting with what we tell the young girls (daughters, nieces, grandchildren, etc.) in our lives every single day.
Staying up way past my bedtime to watch On the Basis of Sex, chronicling RBG’s efforts to dismantle sex discrimination laws earlier in her career.
Investing in good design is always a good idea, especially when it comes to desk lighting with the classic Anglepoise Type 75 task lamp.
Deeming Schitt’s Creek a gem of a TV show; lighthearted, funny and deeply moving.
Asking you to think twice before posting your next Instagram Story.
Having an “aha” moment in realizing how my anxious attachment stylebleeds into my work life, too.
Daring you to (aspirationally) consider going without shopping for a whole year. Okay, maybe just buy less stuff? Or, be very purposeful about what you do buy?
Reminding you to spend more time outside. Why? It makes us more relaxed, more creative, and more socially connected. Oh, and it’s fun.
Taking brand purpose one step deeper to start with what your business believes.Cherishing Alain de Bottom’s letter on why we read books:
“They explain us to ourselves and to others, and make us feel less strange, less isolated and less alone. We might have lots of good friends, but even with the best friends in the world, there are things that no one quite gets. That’s the moment to turn to books. They are friends waiting for us any time we want them, and they will always speak honestly to us about what really matters. They are the perfect cure for loneliness. They can be our very closest friends