Protect The Girls

When I think of October, I think of all kinds of color.
The colors of autumn leaves, orange and red and gold.
The colors of Halloween, orange and black.
The colors of a flannel shirt, red and green plaid.
And the color Pink.

Pink because October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. So I’m asking you-are you aware? Has breast cancer impacted you? How? The statistics I came across show that 1 in 7 women will be affected by breast cancer. Now my own personal statistics don’t hold to that. What about for you?
Have you seen the Facebook status reports this month? Women are writing “I like it——–” and then they write down a place. The first one I saw said “I like it on the kitchen counter.” I thought, well that’s a little too much information for me. What they are actually sharing is where they like to keep their purses. Interestingly and kinda mysteriously, the post is done to support breast cancer awareness. Don’t ask me: I don’t know where someone keeping their purse has anything to do with breast cancer, but what I don’t know doesn’t matter. What matters is that this year, people are talking about it more. All because so many women are on Facebook posting “I like it blah, blah, blah.” It has created a topic of conversation. See? It is raising awareness for breast cancer.
When I looked up to see what was going on with Breast Cancer Awareness month, I came across this stream of quotes where people are saying that Breast Cancer Awareness month no longer serves any purpose. That it should be terminated. That everyone everywhere are all very aware by now.
I disagree.
My grandmother was a breast cancer survivor. And I had no idea. None.
Not until relatively recently did I know.
Back when my grandmother had breast cancer (in the 1970’s), people didn’t talk about it. I think they hid it. Now, people talk freely about it. They help each other through. That’s a good thing. Now women get together and race for a cure. They form new relationships to help the cause. Women and men are thinking PINK now.
Interesting video clip:
THINK PINK THIS MONTH. Talk and learn. Share. Get a mammogram if it’s time. (Not as bad as you think.)(Promise.)
Speaking of PINK. Now let’s talk about our OTHER girls.
We must protect them as well, OUR daughters.
My daughter began a ballet class this year. She was required to wear PINK to ballet class. The first week I took her to dance class I was speechless when I saw the dance instructor. She wore sweat pants, cut off below the knee and the waistband rolled down (which revealed the top of the tattoo on her backside.) She didn’t wear ballet slippers. Her top was a small, tight strappy camisole.
This was ballet attire now?
No, couldn’t be. Because my daughter and all the other girls were required to wear a specific outfit. PINK leotards and PINK tights and PINK shoes. No similar standard for the teacher?
What I didn’t like is that in this particular setting, this woman was in a position of influence over my daughter.
In my day (yes, a million years ago) the ballet teacher looked and dressed like a ballet teacher. She was graceful, elegant, regal and  commanded respect. The ballet teacher of my youth set an  example of discipline and loveliness.
So I did what I believe we all should do when it comes to OUR girls.
I spoke up.
I talked to the owner of the studio and expressed my concerns. I told her it was unacceptable for ME and MY daughter for her ballet teacher to be dressed like that while she taught the girls ballet. I talked to my daughter in depth and at length about it.
Yes, I’m conservative. Yes, this was a small thing.

But when it comes to our daughters (and grand-daughters), it’s really up to us, the women they look up to. We have to help them find their way.
We can’t rely on schools or Hollywood or the media to teach our girls values and morals (and modesty).  We can’t rely on their friends. Or their instructors. Or even church.
It’s up to us, the women who love them. We must instill and teach OUR values and morals to OUR girls. We’ve got to walk the talk too. OUR girls are smart: they’ll call us on it if we don’t. It doesn’t work to say, “Do what I say and not what I do” with OUR girls.
We’ve got to set the standard and live by it as best we can. We’ve got to learn to say “No” to them. And “Good Job” as often.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m totally NOT saying that everyone should be conservative like me. What I’m saying everyone should be cognizant of the world around their daughters. And their roles as Moms. You decide what’s best for YOUR girls. Don’t let others mold YOUR girls. Don’t let them mold themselves. It’s up to you to mold them.
So share two things with us if you can. Tell us how you are molding YOUR girls. And also tell us how breast cancer has impacted you.
Until next time, Friends, savor the flavor of life!

Lots of love, The City Farmgirl, Rebekah

  1. Melody says:

    I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997. When I was 41 I had my very first mammogram and that’s how it was found. So, get your mammogram!!!
    I decided I wasn’t going to sit around and feel sorry for myself, so I started a Charity called Because There Is Hope "Faye’s House". We offer lodging to cancer patients that come to Spokane, WA for treatment. We currently have host homes where volunteers in the community have opened their homes to the patients. Our ultimate goal is to have a house "Faye’s House". We are currently raising the funding needed to have the home through, donations and fundraisers.
    I never dreamed that I would have breast cancer. But, I did not let it stop me from helping others.

  2. L Ream says:

    I thought you were also going to say this in your post when the title spoke of taking care of your "girls" during Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Do your monthly self-check! I know it’s slang, and personally I do no call mine any cutesy name like that, but some people do. So to all our farmgirls out there, take care of your girls, and take care of your "girls", too! 😉

  3. carol branum says:

    hi rebecca,loved the post…When I was recently at our Barn Yard Days event,they had scarecrows made up all in pink with spray painted pink pumkins for heads and pink pumkins all around,it was awsome,but my camera broke and I did,nt get any photos,it is a wonderful event here,and all of the companies have things you can purchase in pink.As for your daughter,some of us had mothers that tried and failed,mine tried,and I still had a wild streak.But,I diffinately think that you did the right thing with the instructor,I wrote a similar story on my blog about good grooming and the underpanties story.Women showing there underwear is a real pet peave of mine.So,I would feel the same about the instructor.There can never be enough information out there about breast cancer awareness,I just wish there was the same out pouring over men,since I lost a dear male friend to testicilar cancer.Take care of those girls,and that girl,good job,blessed be,carol branum

  4. Barb Klein says:

    Our office of 21 women lost a co-worker to breast cancer. She was diagnosed, stage 4, at 40. She fought valiantly and thought it was whipped. Four years later it was back and she was gone in months. Statistics say we will have two more here. We are fighting that by insisting our ladies get mammograms and pap smears. It is always in our minds, not just in October.

  5. JoEllen says:

    Such a great and timely post Rebekah! I’m so glad you took that responsibility to protect your daughter so seriously and took the time to follow through with your concerns. Even though my personality would be to let things go when my girls were young, I knew that if I didn’t stand up for them and protect them, there may be no one else that would. We have to set aside our insecurities to be the role model our children need in this changing world. They are great mothers today and are modeling those same attributes to their daughters and follow through with their concerns too. As far as breast cancer, I have not been personally touched by this disease in my family, buy some of my friends have been. Race for the Cure is a terrific organization of knowledgeable people and survivors coming together to support each other, and I try to support them too in all the ways that I can.

  6. Bryden says:

    Wow. Good for you. I have two girls of my own and I am looking out for them because everything says you should look this way or that. You should be anything but you.

    I agree 100% that the beauty we convey to out daughters as leaders in their lives will have the biggest impact on them. Truly standing for what you value will give them a beautiful picture of beauty in action. Our uniqueness is what we have to offer.

  7. Cat says:

    While I would normally have no trouble with that as "dance practice" attire (hopefully changed before out on the street), and have a tat myself, I am so with you that if the girls were required the teacher should be the example par excellence not the exception. I saw the same thing at each of my older sons’ 8th grade promotion parties. There was a dress code for the kids that the teachers didn’t live up to! Seriously! And sadly at my church there are girls with skirts way too short and I know their dads, who are *leaders* in our congregation! Not fair to the young men, like my sons, who are taught to be gentlemanly to girls who dress like they’re at the beach! (We live near one, but that’s no excuse for that kind of clothing choice at church of all places.)
    I have 3 boys and just the one girl…she and I both wear skirts all the time with what we call "modesty shorts/pants" or leggings underneath…for her esp cus she likes climbing etc, for me cus I hate stockings, and for both cus they are just more comfortable as well as better coverage. I try to help her see/feel the diff of dressing modestly…besides being courteous and feeling feminine it’s also more comfortable than having skin showing everywhere…

  8. Victoria says:

    Rebekah, I don’t consider myself particularly conservative but I completely agree with your stance with the ballet teacher. She is in a position of authority and it sets a tone of hypocrisy to not follow the rules herself, or at least to dress in traditional ballet attire if that is required of the girls themselves. I have a stepdaughter who is living with me now for the first time at 17. I am proud of her and her mother has done an amazing job of raising an aware, brilliant and appropriately modest young woman. I also have a teenage son and we have long had conversations about respect for women (and everybody) and about what is appropriate at his age and what is not. This liberal mom had to step in and put a stop to, what I felt was, the very inappropriate PDA between him and his slightly older girlfriend. I never thought I would be the one to say to someone else’s daughter that if she didn’t want people to think she was intimate with my son in the fullest sense of the word, she shouldn’t behave in public as if she is. But, I had to and I did and I honestly think it was a relief for her to have another adult woman care about her.

  9. Cait says:

    Yesterday was my 4 year anniversary of my diagnosis with breast cancer. I was 57. Thank you for again stressing the importance of mammograms…it cannot be said enough. My breast cancer was found ONLY in a mammogram, so tiny it could not be felt by the radiologist when she was on top of it with ultrasound. The tiny 6mm was removed in a lumpectomy and I only needed radiation, no chemo, to give me a 98% chance it will not return. But the other way to take care of our bodies is to stay fit and healthy and at a weight appropriate for us. When I was diagnosed I had just lost 95 pounds with a healthy eating and exercise program. The radiologist told me that if I had still weighed 240 pounds, the chances of a mammogram detecting my breast cancer so early would have been slim to none. So along with your mammograms and self exams, really look at a lifelong committment to getting and staying healthy and active!

  10. Jackie says:

    AMEN!! First breast cancer does not run in my family, but I know several women who have/has battled it. I am very fortunate that heart disease and cancer are very limited-I worry about liver disease in which I lost my Dad to 10 years ago today.
    In respect to raising my daughter, we talked last night and I have told her many times to make a way for yourself in life and do not depend on others to support you. BE ABLE TO SUPPORT YOURSELF. We had a great mother/daughter discussion (with tears) and she said she is proud of me because she thinks I am a strong woman. I am a single mom and struggle, but I am strong and will make it in this world myself. We, as women, cannot depend upon anyone to make our life-we must do it ourselves. I also explain to her to be modest. The clothes girls where now-a-days I think is wrong. What ever happened to modesty? Thanks for sharing a great blog today.

  11. Jennifer says:

    Breast cancer has had a big influence on me of late. My coworker and friend was diagnosed in April of this year. All summer she has been going through chemo and this Friday she will be going in for major surgery. She is the first person I’ve known and been close to that has gone through this. It’s almost surreal watching her struggle with the side affects of chemo. It’s like even though she’s told me she has cancer, even though I see her tired and sick, even though she’s lost her hair, I still can’t wrap my mind around the fact that this person who sits right next to me almost every day has cancer. It’s been inspiring because I think that her positive attitude has lent some normalcy to the situation and this is why it seems so unreal that she has cancer in her. She goes about her daily business. She’s a mom and a woman and like all of us, she does what needs to be done. I’m very proud of her.

    As for taking care of my girls, I don’t have any girls to take care of yet. I will say that I agree that is up to each of us to be a positive role model for the young girls around us, and not just our own daughters. However we can only do so much. I think you’re wrong in saying that we can’t let them mold themselves. They will be their own people and they will make their own decisions regardless of what we do. I would never want to raise a daughter who wasn’t independant enough to think for herself. All we can do is show them the good paths to go down. It is up to them to make the decision of what paths they will follow.

  12. Loreta says:

    I personal don’t have any one in my family with breast cancer but I have had mamograms and think it is important . It important that we teach our girls modesty. and why is it that even the news women have to have half there breast showing to give the news I wish they would set a better standard. Its no wonder there are so many unwed mothers in this world.

  13. fran hooper says:

    thanks so much for writing this piecs, rebekah. i am recovering from breast cancer and thought your piece was so timely and sensitive.
    my hope and prayer is that one day we will be able to have targetted treatments and women will be able to keep their "girls". i miss mine,(and my eyebrows,too), but i feel so lucky to be alive and able to share this wonderful life.
    thanks again for your words, rebekah, i have enjoyed reading your blog in the past, but just never left a comment.
    frannie in texas

  14. Reba says:

    My mother had breast cancer when I was 2 years old; she passed away when I was 24yrs old, but NOT from cancer, praise the Lord! She was a 22 year survivor!! I love to tell others how long my Mom "whipped" it! She did have a radical (and I mean radical, not modified as they do now)mastectomy. But that was the best way that they could treat it then. As far as my girl, she took ballet from fantastic instructors that dressed in the ballet attire just as the students did. I am thankful that it wasn’t even a consideration. As far as mentoring, I did speak up at the public school on teaching sex education to my own daughter the way I thought she should learn it. I did receive some friction, but oh, well… She still asks ME questions when she wants to know something personal…and I am so thankful for that privilege. I do not want to miss out on a thing. That’s our privilege as Moms!

  15. kay says:

    My daughter who turned 40 this past summer has been a joy to me and I am sure our talks over the years were not always welcomed by her but she listened and sometimes agreed. We kept the line of communications open and she is doing the same with her daughter…..

    Being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007 at 58 was hard to hear. Lumpectomy, radiation, and medication have been the order of the days that followed. Today I work hard at
    eating better and being active….oh, and yes one more talk with my daughter…get your mammogram.

  16. Deidre says:

    Amen Sister! Great post!

  17. Teresa says:

    I have tried to instill a strong sense of self worth in my daughter, teaching her she is valued because of the wonderful girl she is, not based on possessions, appearances, or boy friends. I think she got it, she has become a very confident loving person that I am so very proud of. No fears, she will be OK when she goes out into this old world.

  18. Debbie says:

    If not us, it WILL be THEM!!!

    NO WAY SISTER…My girl is MY GIRL… and I’ll SHOW her the way.

    Love this post!

  19. Mary says:

    What a wonderful post. I can’t say enough how thankful I am to read and know that others are willing to stand up for what’s right when it comes to our children. Yes, perhaps ballet attire might be a small thing to some, but often those small things can have a huge impact. My 10-year old daughter’s teacher recently hosted a campout for the kids in her class. It was also an overnight event at the school and I found so many moms curious about what was to take place, yet none of them would ask the teacher. I stepped forward and asked for an agenda. If someone is going to have my daughter for 17 hours, I want to know what they plan to do during that time. Who will chaperone (strangely enough, no parents were allowed), what are the sleeping arrangements, how are you securing the school, can she call home if she gets homesick? Sadly, the teacher was obviously not happy with my asking, and provided only a sketchy agenda. You’re so right…it IS up to us to take care of them. They count on us, they need us, they deserve the best we can give them.

  20. Nancy says:

    AGREED…AGREED….AGREED!!!! When my children were younger and attended a private grade school. We had a young, cool, new art teacher. She was all the cool things to the kids. My then 8 year old came home to tell me about art class and how great it was, in the midst of telling me about class told me that her teacher had a tongue ring! My 8 year old daughter was concerned if spaghetti would get caught on her tongue ring and how she cleaned it? I had not noticed this piece of art work on the teacher and the next day went in to talk to her and noticed that not only did she have this piercing but would play with it as she talked to you. I explained my concerns and that in the dress code for the kids was " no body piercings" and if the kids could not wear them nor could the staff. She did not share my concerns was put out at my objections but was professional to not wear it at school anymore.
    I can certainly relate to your ballet objection!! If we do not set the standards for our daughters then who will? Let’s not leave it to someone else!

    Great story!

  21. CJ Armstrong says:

    Thank you Rebekah!! My daughter and I are committed to and participate in yearly breast cancer fundraising events . . those that require the commitment of lots of money and time and travel. You can read about our 2010 adventures on the Farmgirl Connection, under "ACROSS THE FENCE", titles "IN IT TO END IT . . .FARMGIRLS FOR THE FIGHT". And, there cannot be enough awareness or enough self-care and teaching for others!!!
    THANKS FOR YOUR POST and the reminders!!!!

  22. KimberlyD says:

    I grew up knowing about breast cancer, I am 44 yrs old. My mom’s best friend had breast cancer in one breast and had both removed, for it ran in her family. Her sisters hand it and their mother. I remember being 10 yrs old and both me and my Mother going to the doctors, she being checked for breast cancer (thankfully she didn’t have it) and me why did my spine curve? Back than in 1976 no one knew about scoliosis, boy I found out fast all about it(3 surgries later). Than my grandmother was diagnoused with breast cancer, she had the one breast removed. Because of her having breast cancer I started having mamograms (I agree not that bad) since I was 35 yrs old. So far I have passed every single mamorgram, and do self examination regularly. I have no children but agree with you about your daughters dance teacher’s attire with her being in a leadership role to so many young girls.

  23. Barbara says:

    Had to chime in late to say "AMEN!"

  24. Erin says:

    Thank you for this post!!!!!!!! I shout AMEN with the others! We have to speak out for our daughters.

  25. Thank you for the post! Breast Cancer awareness is so important. This month I had my gymnastic girls wear pink leotards in honor of Breast Cancer awareness month.

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