When you reluctantly, fearfully, go to the GP surgery for your vaccinations, the nurse calls you a good girl for not crying.
At school your teachers call you a good girl when, without any fuss or delay, you clear up at the end of the lesson.
When you go for your hearing test, you’re told you’re a good girl for listening to the sounds coming out of your headset.
Soon enough you begin to use that term yourself.
“Mummy, was I a good girl?” you ask as we return home from swimming lesson.
“Daddy, wasn’t I a good girl when we went out together?”
Coming home from school, you report that you were a very good girl at school, whilst noting who was naughty.
In your world, being a good girl becomes something to strive towards, something praiseworthy, as opposed to being a naughty girl.
But dearest daughter, I don’t want you to be a good girl. I want you to be just as strong minded, spirited, creative and questioning of authority as you already are.
Your grandmother was a good girl and later in life she came to see it for the curse it is. I too was a good girl, though my rebellious streak occasionally managed to break through, especially at times when I believed an injustice was being done to me or to others.
Life is not about being good or bad. Life is here for you to explore, experience and above all, cherish, and I don’t want you to miss out just because you think you should be a good girl.
So learn to listen to your heart and don’t let your mind take over. The greatest gift you can give yourself is to be authentically you.