Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Today's word is:  Progress

I'm currently reading Jane Eyre again.  I love the drama of this book and the down-trodden character of Jane.  She's so persecuted and abused, and when she finds Mr. Rochester falling in love with her, she's amazed.  How could she be blessed with such good fortune?  Oh, because it can't really be real.  Of course there's the crazy first wife locked in the attic room.  Naturally.  Her love for Rochester is all for naught as she knows, because of what she believes her lot in life to be, that she's not worthy.  Until, of course, the happy ending where true love trumps tragedy.

I imagine the Bronte sisters sitting around a table with candlelight, spinning these love stories while the wind whipped over the foggy moors outside--moors, of course figuring prominently in both Charlotte's Jane Eyre and Emily's Wuthering Heights.  The sisters published their novels with male pseudonyms.  As women, they were expected to sit at the table after dinner sewing or knitting or some other household past time, not writing and, God forbid, publishing, but they shared their stories, and they wrote.

I'm grateful for the Brontes, the suffragettes, Gloria Steinem, and all the other feminists who've paved the way for my own daughter.  For her, growing up in the 21st century, I'm thinking more and more that there is no limit to what she can do, and I am particularly in tune with this as she navigates school. 

We had her parent-teacher conference this week.  We're told she gets 100% on pretty much every test.  She's reading 4 grade levels above her own.  The teacher says, "I never worry about her."  Learning, at least the public school 2nd grade standards, comes very naturally to her.  She'll have to learn, as Carol Dweck says in her book, Mindset, that it's her effort that contributes to her success--not some innate intelligence.  Armed with that knowledge, she'll amaze even herself, I presume.

This Christmas, when we went to see Santa, T2 asked him for a secret present.  Not wanting her to wake up on Christmas morning and there be no "secret" present because "Santa" didn't let "Mommy and Daddy" know what it was, I confronted her, asking what the secret present was.  She said she wanted Santa to give her the ability to fly.  She whispered this in his ear, very clandestinely, and stood back waiting for his response. 

"What did he tell you?" I asked her.

"He said I need to go to college and study physics, and maybe when I'm older, I'd be able to figure it out," she answered brightly, like this was as natural a thing in the world.  Well, I for one think there's a distinct possibility that she might just crack that code.

The progress made by women through the centuries makes this possible for her.


MomAgain@40 said...

What a brilliant Santa! I am also glad that I can inspire my girls to do/be anything!

LauraJean said...

you might enjoy this...written by another brilliant woman writer/blogger friend of mine. http://www.quintanwikswoblog.com/2011/03/12/lying-in-a-ditch-on-a-stormy-day-on-submission-and-women-and-artmaking/

Lucy said...

I read Jane Eyre in high school and now i want to read again, thanks to you :) Loved the picture you paint of the sisters telling the stories around the fire.

This is a beautiful reminder to have gratitude for all the women who've come before us, paving the way, making the freedom we enjoy possible. Let us continue to make progress so that our daughters and daughters' daughters will enjoy even greater opportunities.