My daughter Scout returned to Boston yesterday after a week long spring break. She is not a Daytona Beach, drink beer until it comes out of your eyeballs kind of spring break person. This of course makes me love her even more (if that were possible) (and it's not).
Last year when Scout came home for Spring Break, her siblings were in school, my partner was working and I was a full blown Obamamaniac. Not much was planned; I suppose it didn't feel very special. And I'll admit it. Scout returned to Boston before the break was even over. She wasn't furious, At least I don't think so. Not sure we ever talked about it.
As this spring break approached, I was determined to be more thoughtful and at least suggest some activities that a bit special.
So I took her to the White House to see Barack and Michelle.
My friend Brian works in the White House and invited us to participate in the signing of a presidential executive order creating the White House Council on Women and Girls -- the object of the game is to ensure that as policies all throughout the administration are developed, the lens of women and girls is considered. How can policy X provide more opportunity for women? How can policy Y open the window of opportunity for girls just a little bit wider?
So there we were. Strolling through the White House. Scout may have been the youngest of the 150 extraordinarily accomplished women on hand. But she had the opportunity to demonstrate a few unique skills of her own. The new Ambassador to the United Nations Commission on the status of women had a daughter home sick and asked her to take her picture. Then Scout used this moment as an opportunity. She showed Ambassador Frank how to take, save and email a picture of herself to her young daughter home in NJ. You can't tell me she didn't add value.
As we strolled through the crowd, I saw old friends and met new women. Each more impressive than the one before. Scout took it all in, grabbed a few business cards for possible internships and took a few great pictures.
After the event, Scout could not stop talking. And the questions were very, very focused. "How do you get to be Valerie Jarrett?" "Do you have to be a lawyer to be Nancy Pelosi?" "How do these women get these jobs?"
As Scout drove up 95 back to New Jersey that night, I had my Blackberry at the ready and I read her the bios of some of the women in the room that day. Scout took in every word, every part of the path of each of these women. We talked about jobs, connections, civil engagement and the intersection of all of these in each bio.
My friend Brian's invitation enabled me to score a few points with my daughter. I may have won Spring Break Mom of the Year. But the invitation was really a much bigger gift. I thought it was about being in a very small setting with the president. But the real gift was being in the room with those women.
I understand and appreciate my privilege. But each and every one of us knows extraordinary women, extraordinary in ways large and small. Don't miss a single opportunity to tell your daughter the stories of these women. Or better yet, to have these women share their stories with your daughters.
Create your own Council on Women and Girls. Seems to me you might open that window of opportunity for your own daughter just a little bit wider.