The Importance of Getting Involved
Well-rounded girls (and adults as well) have a variety of activities in their lives. They don't just go to school or work; they take part in sports or clubs or hobbies. Getting your daughter started in such activities at this age is a good way to steer a girl toward a well-rounded adult life.
The push by colleges for kids to have community service experience and the push by many high schools to require community service hours for graduation is a good thing for our girls and can help them learn that the world does not rotate around them, that there are issues more difficult than those they face every day, and that they have the power to help others. Many schools have clubs that mentor foster children, raise money for world hunger, battle drunk driving, or help the elderly. Ask your daughter to bring home a list of clubs her school has and go over it with her. Talk to her about what moves and motivates her, and then help her find a place to help the world.
A study done by Lifetime Television found that volunteer work ranks as the most important aspect of their lives for women in their twenties. Women looking back on high school and college years saw it as the greatest influence on their adult selves.
Be sure to encourage your daughter to stick with what she chooses and not slack off on her duties. Clubs can sometimes be a lot of work, but she can learn from the work in a way that can help her grow as a person and — bonus! — help her in school. Many an essay for English class has come from such experiences, and other projects have as well. And on a day when she might feel like everything went wrong (a fight with a good friend; boy troubles; a so-so grade on a test), she can always look at what she has done to help the world and know, even on the worst days, she's making a difference.
Another bonus to social activism is this: there are many awards out there for kids who do for the world to win. Even if your daughter is not one who will ever win an academic scholarship, she might just be a star in the social activism world. Two of the most prestigious awards given to students who help the world are the Prudential Spirit of Community Award and the Do Something Award. Encourage your daughter to Google these awards and read about the other kids who have been honored. She might just be one of them someday.