In August 2011, the Iowa West girls High School Volleyball team was getting ready to start a new season after winning a state championship the year before. The team was led by their All-State setter, a 5-foot, 8-inch ball of joy named Caroline Found. Nicknamed “Line” or “Liner,” Caroline had an infectious zest for life. She made teammates better athletes on the court, but also lifted people’s spirit’s off the court. Everyone loved Line because she loved them first. There were even times when a match was about to start and her coach couldn’t find her because she was off talking to members of other teams. Her story and the story of the West girls volleyball team is told in a great movie called The Miracle Season.
That August, Line was driving a moped on her way to see her mom Ellyn in the hospital. Ellyn was in the final stages of cancer. Line lost control, struck a tree, and was killed instantly. In the weeks following the tragedy, the community came together in admiration of the life Caroline led. They made shirts that read, “Live Like Line.” The volleyball team would go on to win back-to-back titles in her honor, but Line’s legacy is much bigger than a championship. It is the impact she had on every person she came into contact with. How do we raise our daughters to be people to admire? Here are 5 ways.
1. Teach Her to Put Others First
There are too many people in this world who think of themselves first. Challenge your daughter to be different. Teach her to think of others before herself. Encourage her to be an initiator of relationships. There are many lonely people in the world just waiting for someone to invite them into the group. Train your daughter to look for those people. Teach her what empathy looks like.
There are many lonely people in the world just waiting for someone to invite them into the group.
2. Teach Her to Take Advantage of Every Opportunity
Every day is a gift. If today was the last day of our lives, how would we spend it? Teach her to live like this is the last day. Place a high emphasis on enjoying the small moments that make life rich, time with loved ones, expressing our feelings, taking a stand, and raising other’s spirits.
3. Teach Her to Have Joy and Gratitude
Life can be really hard. Teach her to smile and make it a family goal to add joy to at least one person’s day. There is a lot of darkness in the world in need of light. Joy is bolstered by gratitude. Show your daughter the things in life to be grateful for. When we take stock of the things we have and respond with gratitude, we prepare our souls to give. Help your daughter prepare her soul to give joy to the world.
4. Boost Her Self-Esteem
In a world that says you need to be sexy to be attractive, your daughter’s confidence in her appearance is vulnerable. Constantly tell her that she is beautiful and that there is nothing wrong with having an attractive body—but also that she doesn’t have to reveal her body in order to attract attention. Boost her confidence in other areas—in her talents and her intelligence. Teach her to value her character and her spirit and she won’t need to show off her body in order to build self-worth.
5. Be a Positive Influence
It’s no secret that preteens and teens are vulnerable; they are at a transition stage in which they are especially susceptible to outside messages and will imitate what they see around them. So you have to do more than just try to remove negative influences from your daughter’s life — you have to give her examples to follow. One of the best ways to do this is to be a positive example yourself; your daughter watches and remembers everything her parents do. You and her dad have the ability to be powerful role models for her.
What qualities do you admire most?