Diamond-Cut Life

How To Be Rich In What Matters

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Advice For Aubrey As She Becomes A Woman

August 18th, 2013 by Alison · 17 Comments · nature, relationships, spirituality

This week’s post is something I’ve never done before: a short video of me speaking, instead of writing. In it I  answer the question: what would I like my friend Aubrey, 12 years old, to know about as she becomes a woman? The daughter of my friend since seventh grade, Aubrey played this video at her bat mitzvah celebration last week, since I wasn’t able to be there in person.

Aubrey and her brother are the friends with whom I got to see the gorgeous dance of rattlesnakes mating earlier this year. She’s a wonderful person: loving, smart, and incidentally a dancer like the title character of my novel Revelle. (I’ve had some great garage rock ‘n’ roll sessions with Aubrey and her mom and dad.) Aubrey gave her permission for this video I made for her to also be available to DCL readers. See it here.

A core premise of the diamond-cut life is that our relationships matter more than how much stuff or money we have. And when we focus on our relationships and nourish them, we typically feel less needy of material stuff. Love can fill us up. So can God (however we experience God) and nature.

What advice would you give a girl as she becomes a woman, or a boy as he is becoming a man?


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17 Comments so far ↓

  • Kathy

    I really appreciated your message to Aubrey, Alison. Short and sweet, yes. But I love that you brought up to a young girl, who is about to figure this out on her own, if she hasn’t already, that while everything about our culture will scream at her that being pretty is the most important value, kindness, wisdom and intelligence are oh so more important in the long run. I love that you addressed it directly to a 12-year old. In my experience we talk about this as adults and educators when talking about development and such but I don’t often here people talking about it directly with teens and pre-teens. Kudos to you for doing so and a great reminder that I can do so too.

    • Alison

      Thanks, Kathy. To be honest, the video was unrehearsed altogether. I was surprised by what was coming out of my mouth. Reminds me of the chapter I just read in Matthew, where Jesus was telling people not to worry about what they were going to say, because God would step in and take care of that. Seems like She did, in this case.

  • Jacqueline Gum (Jacquie)

    Very heartfelt and I love that you told her that becoming a woman is a lifelong journey. I wish someone had told me that! LOL I assumed that by a certain age, I should have it all figured out. It left me a little unprepared :) Nicely done.

  • Debra Yearwood

    We often under estimate the value of sharing our knowledge because we assume what seems so obvious to us is obvious to everyone. As Kathy noted, although we know our culture promotes many poor values we need to be explicit and tell young people that so much of what they see and hear around physical beauty is unimportant. I think the building blocks of kindness and wisdom are an amazing place to start.

    • Alison

      Good to hear you feel this way, Debra. My emotional experience recently around aging helped bring all this home to me. Still, I find myself in front of the bathroom mirror falling prey to our culture’s ridiculous standards of what we are “supposed” to look like. I have to keep working on following my own advice to Aubrey about the right priorities in my life.

  • Colleen

    I love all of what you told her. To answer the question you posed at the end of your post, I’d tell a girl or a boy of 12 all the things you said, plus to be bold in all their kindnesses. To go out on a limb for someone (or a larger cause) reaps benefits not only for others, but for the giver, too. Kids need to hear that, for sure, but adults modeling it -like you do- conveys the message even louder.

  • Suzanne Fluhr (Just One Boomer)

    I was glad that I was checking out your post when the rest of my household (husband and dog) is asleep, so that I could watch the video. I sometimes skip over podcasts and the like because I’m often not in an environment where I can add sound without intruding into others’ “space”. Even more than your life advice for Aubrey, what resonated for me was your unconditional positive regard for and genuine affection for Aubrey that came through. You mentioned in the beginning of your video that there is something about women together that can be so warm and supportive for each other and for our younger sisters—like Aubrey.

  • Susan Cooper

    What a wonderful sentiment you gave to this young girl. Finding your path in today’s world is hard for adults and it can be even harder for our youth. :-)

  • Joanne

    When my kids first started Kindergarten, the guidance counsellor wrote an article basically saying, teach what you can to your kids now. Don’t hold back because when they reach 11/12 they’ll most likely seek advice from their friends than from you. And that’s what I have tried to live by - so far, so good, knock on wood.

  • Arleen

    Wow that was an incredible video. You could see all your emotions welling up. I would love to know what was your friend’s reaction. I have always believed that honesty is the best policy and give your children the strength to believe in themselves.

  • Mick Wiley

    Al. I really enjoyed your message to Aubrey- very loving & supportive.

    Advice I would give to any young adult-
    strength isn’t really about muscle. It’s about resilience & self confidence.

    Life is full of setbacks and failure. We experience those sometimes in order to find our true cling.

    LAUGH! It reduces stress and keeps us young at heart.

    Forgive when possible. We all need forgiveness and a second chance.

  • Jeri

    What a wonderful heartfelt video. This week was the first time I’ve posted a video of myself speaking as well ;)

  • Libby

    I am so grateful that Aubrey has Auntie Alison in her life. It is amazing that we first met when we were Aubrey’s age, isn’t it, Al? I truly wish that I had such beautiful and important words shared with me at that age. My journey, and I know my daughter, Aubrey’s journey is much sweeter with you in her life. And, Mick, yes, you are so right! forgiveness is crucial. We need to let go and not hold on to the negative. Live in the moment, be present, and be grateful for each day-each day is a wonderful gift.

  • Aubrey

    Wow I am very overwhelmed with all these very positive comments about me! I am so glad Auntie Alison, that you sent that beautiful video for my special day. All my friends and family felt very strong emotion and me and my best friend Madeline were crying to how beautiful and meaningful your video was. It really touched my heart and I will keep that forever. As for your text you sent me, I am so glad we can keep in touch, it’s very fun texting you! You asked me what kind of gift I wanted for my Bat Mitzvah, and I really don’t mind. you don’t need to get me anything! just your wonderful video, and our strong relationship with my family and I, is all I want. I love you so much. And our encounter with the rattle snakes was amazing! I always tell my friends about that amazing encounter, and they are always shocked, and they say they want to meet you! Well thank you for everything and for being the best, and I will see you soon! love you so much!- Aubrey

    • Alison

      Aubrey, I love that what I said in the video struck a chord for you and your friend Madeline. (Our friendships with other women are sooooo important). It means so much to me that I was able to reach across the miles for your Bat Mitzvah. I’m excited that I’ll get to see you and your family again next month. And please remember that Thor and I love for you to visit us here in Portland. I love you, too.

  • Stephanie

    Thank you for stressing the importance of being smart and kind! Girls are often taught, as they approach womanhood, the importance of grooming and appearance from every angle (tv, peers, parents, even siblings) while the weight of intelligence and kindness aren’t impressed on them. I think if the emphasis was placed on these things you would see less bullying and more development of collegiality among women.

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