Encouraging Girls To Stick With STEM And Rid Themselves Of The Fear Of Failure #LikeAGirl
Always #LikeAGirl teamed up with Walmart to continue their mission of stopping the drop in confidence girls experience during puberty. As a mom of a thirteen-year-old, I can tell you with conviction that this is a much-needed project. We need movie companies, schools, celebrities and brand favorites to jump on board because our girls are in need of all the support they can get. I remember those days very clearly myself.
What I wore.
What I said.
How I said it.
None of it was right. Or so it seemed at the time.
The most recent Always #LikeAGirl survey found that during puberty, half of girls describe the fear of failure as ‘paralyzing’ and that fear causes them to opt out of opportunities that would be beneficial to their growth and confidence1. In fact, Always learned that before puberty, 87% of girls are interested in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) but experiencing failure makes 1 in 2 girls choose not to study STEM fields2. What a statistic! Think about it – half of girls choose to push away from STEM fields because they are afraid of the thought of not achieving. Having uncovered this, Always and Walmart have teamed up to support Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) in helping girls pursue and stick with STEM!
Naturally, I had to bring along my little Girl Scout. Or I guess you could say my BIG Girl Scout. Natalie is going for her Silver Award this year and is so very proud of it! The Silver Award gives girls the chance to improve their community and is a step towards becoming a Gold Award Girl Scout⎯the highest award in Girl Scouts. She joined me at work with a few other blogger moms and daughters and spent the day taking part in a STEM Academy program to help Girl Scouts in 6th – 8th grades persevere through failure and Keep Going #LikeAGirl.
Can I get an AMEN!?
Select troops walked through a curated curriculum provided by Girl Scouts, which introduced the girls to engineering basics. It was so much fun to watch. My daughter had the chance to get her hands dirty (literally) and make some new friends in the process. Where did this all take place? At Jet.com HQ (a Walmart company) in Hoboken, NJ!
I love how Always and Walmart even brought in a famous Girl Scout alum to do some introductions. Abigail Breslin was so wonderful to all the girls involved. Not only did she take part in some improv and icebreakers, but she walked around and personally got to know many of the young ladies taking part in the STEM day. Natalie was particularly excited because she’s been following Abigail’s adventures on the big screen for quite some time. It was so nice that Abigail stopped and took a photo for us after the pair stopped talking about their favorite Girl Scout moments.
The day consisted of panel discussions with notable women in STEM and various confidence and STEM-related workshops. Natalie’s ABSOLUTE FAVORITE moment was when she figured out how to make a light turn on using some tape and a battery. To be honest with you, I couldn’t do it. But her table would not give up and when that red light finally turned on, the girls cheered! A totally proud moment for all. We went home and looked for more STEM projects to do with her brothers. Science can be fun. Science IS fun. Never forget that.
It took a few tries. Not going to lie. It took a few different ideas. It took a coming together of a variety of minds. But it happened!! I just loved watching them all in action.
As a mother, I could very easily do everything for my daughter. And I mean that quite literally. Homework time could be cut in half if I just grabbed her pencil and showed her the way. But I recognize that by doing so, I would be hurting her… not helping her. I rather let my daughter attempt to work out a problem as best as she can and then jump in and see where I can offer guidance. The process doesn’t always have to be seamless. Sometimes it’s sticky. Sometimes it’s confusing. But we get to the finish line together. That’s what counts.
The further we get out into the year, the further I let her walk on her own. I encourage her to try the problems by herself. I remind her that we’ve done problems like those in the past. I advise her to reference her notes. I’m still supporting her – but in different ways. I never want Natalie to be afraid of the things she is taught to hate. My last math class was Calculus 2. I graduated a computer programmer. She can be anything and everything she wants and more. She just has to believe in herself as much as I do.
But it’s not all about math and science – although that’s primarily what this post is about. I teach my daughter to be fearless in many different ways. Most of my work is in front of a camera. Live TV is not uncommon for me. Sometimes it’s the TODAY show. Sometimes it’s more local. However, the local news for me is NYC networking… so that’s a pretty wide web that I’m hitting. It’s nerve-wracking. It makes your throat dry up once the countdown begins. But I teach my daughter that she has to dance stronger, sing louder, smile bigger, love fiercer – because we give all that we have to give and then we give a little bit more. Live life with a passion. No matter what that life is. Do it completely.
I want to let you in on a little secret – SLIME is considered a STEM project. WHATTTT???? All this time, I’ve been complaining about my children for nothing. YIKES! 🙂 Just kidding. My kids love to make slime and we even had a slime birthday party last year for Natalie and 12 of her girlfriends. So, we had a blast taking on this science experiment with Always and Walmart. I even filmed it in case you want to try to replicate this action at home with your kids:
For the past 35 years, Always has been championing girls’ confidence, encouraging girls to realize their full potential. And for over 106 years Girl Scouts has been preparing girls for a lifetime of leadership. I am so thankful that I was part of this activation and that I had a chance to bring my daughter along so she could experience a day of STEM with Girl Scouts. Confidence-building is not something that happens in an afternoon though. Parents everywhere need to continue the conversation at home and online. Be sure to follow along using the hashtag #LikeAGirl.
For more information, visit https://www.girlscouts.org/en/about-girl-scouts/our-partners/always-walmart.html.