Each year I take my daughter on a trip alone together.  At age 11 New Orleans wasn’t ideal but we went because I felt strongly I had to make her ready for anything.  I knew I wasn’t always going to be around to protect her and so in addition to some basic core values I felt it was my obligation to make her capable of navigating alone and being a strong, independent woman.

I picked a spot in the middle of the Bourbon Street, wished her luck and told her to find her own way back to our hotel.  She was scared and more than a little mad, totally unaware that I was trailing her from behind.  A few wrong turns later I watched her confidence grow even though things were getting worse.  She must have known intuitively that confidence has a look and feel to it and people don’t mess with it much. Two hours after she began she walked into the lobby, tears gone, the proudest I’d ever seen her.

Since that moment I’ve never known her to not believe in herself. 

A decade later, as I stood on that same street corner, I thought about all the adventures we’ve taken and how totally equipped she is.  She navigates the world on her own now.  She can do anything. Anywhere. I can’t imagine a jam she can’t get herself out of.  I never cared much about her grades and all that—  I cared about her having an internal compass of compassion, commitment and capability. I really believed if she had those things, she’d have access to anything she’d ever want.

My mother was determined to make us independent. When I was four years old, she stopped the car a few miles from our house and made me find my own way home across the fields. I got hopelessly lost. ~ Richard Branson 

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