There were things I hoped my daughters would not inherit from me.

I have a daughter who, for her age, is particularly good with people--all people. Men, women, old, young. Once, when she was eight years old, she sat at a high school graduation reception table and made animated small talk for at least five minutes about golfing, with a man who was almost sixty. That's just how she rolls.

Now, several years older, she's good with kids at school who will talk to her about anything and everything. Parents. Fights. Parents' fights. Sadnesses. Suicide. Self-harm. (Growing up is a tough scene these days.) She knows how to get someone to a school counselor, knows how to make peace between feuding friends. She has no qualms about telling kids with questions about God that they should all come over and talk to her mother, the pastor.

This week, her friend told her she should be a therapist when she grows up. Her friend is always telling her this. "And it's all because of YOU!" my daughter laugh-shouted at me while reporting the conversation.


When I was a young mom, there were several things I hoped my daughters would not inherit from me, such as my long and painful path to self-acceptance. I hoped they would not inherit my fear of taking up space, of being "too much" and "not enough" all at the same time.  I hoped they would not inherit my anxious relationship with food and body, negative self-talk, and (last but not least) an unusually complicated relationship with their mother (as I had with mine). So, I worked even harder on my issues, spoke positively about healthy foods, gave them as much food diversity as I could, allowed them sugar in moderation. I made an inner vow to never verbalize negative self-talk when I looked in the mirror. I carefully and not-too frequently told them they were "pretty" (because I didn't want to send the message that their appearance was the most essential thing about them). And, most importantly, I tried so very hard every day to create and maintain a connection with them that might survive and outlast puberty.

I was and have been so focused on all the things I hoped they wouldn't inherit that sometimes I find myself surprised by the joy of finding out they've gotten something I didn't ever set out to pass on, some good stuff. For the record, I'm not a therapist; I've just spent many hours seeing one and reading books on emotional intelligence and broken relationships. And if anyone's looking to hand out an honorary degree in counseling, I'm a solid candidate. (Need an armchair psychologist? The doctor is in a la Charle's Schulz,  except free of charge, of course.) But here my girl was, making the connection, seeing what she'd gotten out of this mom-daughter deal--strategies for peacemaking and restoration, telling the truth, bringing hard things into the light.  I, in all my gut-wrenching, hardscrabble life-and-relationship lessons--never saw this coming.

There are so many battles I've fought the hard way, the long way. It's a shocking relief to know these girls of mine may never fight them, or at least find them easier. Case in point, a few weeks ago, I was on the computer watching a thirty-something-year-old speaker talk to a crowd of women about self-love, positive body image stuff. It was inspirational. She had me laughing. I described the talk to my two oldest, how I thought it'd be a great resource, they might like to watch it. They looked at me blankly and one said with more than a touch of propaganda fatigue: "Sounds like stuff we hear at school every day."

"Yeah," chimed the other.

"Really? Don't you guys every struggle with any of this stuff?"

"Not really."

And then I got an eye roll. An EYE ROLL.

Do I believe them? A moderate amount. Not for a second do I think they are immune to the Overlord Propaganda Machine of culture, blasting them each and every day about their value. But do I think these girls are asking different questions than I was at their age? Absolutely. I wouldn't dare call myself obsolete, but there are times I realize I'm offering them answers and solutions to problems they may never have.

I seriously thank God for that.