Our oldest daughter is unabashedly proud and vocal that she is smart. She will tell you she is smart if you ask her. She will not hedge her answer or make herself seem less intelligent than she actually is.
It’s marvelous to watch and we’ll never ask her to change. We won’t sit her down one night and ask her to be more quiet about everything she knows or to “let her brains do the talking.”
She isn’t “overconfident” and she isn’t “showy.” She simply knows she is good at math and science and is happy to be that way. For a kid who is pretty quiet otherwise, it is exceptionally breathtaking to hear her talk about her love of numbers or desire to come inside to do another science project.
We can’t tell girls to get excited about these things & then when we see how good they are at it suggest they be quiet about it. To tell them that doing so makes them look cocky or could make other people around them feel jealous.
Throughout her life she has been and will continue to be told over and over how cute or pretty she looks in an outfit or how great her backpack looks. She’ll be told far less frequently how awesomely brilliant she is, how that math test she got 8 out of 8 on brings out the best in her brains.
So if she’s the one who wants to scream about the math problem she figured out, I’m going to amplify that message times infinity. I’m going to cheer her on when she figures out a math problem she has asked me for help with before I can figure out how to help her. I won’t get angry when she says “never mind dad, I understand now, you can go away.”
If you are someone who thinks girls talking about how smart they are makes them arrogant, fix yourself. Girls are strong, smart, and are sure as hell going to continue to make an impact.