Coming of Age Challenge -- for girls age 12-13

The year my daughter was born I read a book called, Cultural Creatives: How 50 million People are Changing the World, by Paul Ray and Sherry Ruth Andersen. The book is about how millions of people are changing the world through behaviors. Some of the values that dictate a Cultural Creative’s behavior include; authenticity, engaged action, seeing the world as inter-connected, idealism, activism, globalism, and the importance of women.  At the time, I just had a baby girl at age 45 and was fascinated by one specific story that has stayed with me for 12 years. This story is about how one family took the critical year of 12 to 13 and created a series of challenges that would imprint on their daughter a sense of accomplishment and achievement, confidence, and strength. Reading the story I could see the girl blossom with confidence through each and every challenge.

Historically, when a girl moves into teen years she is coming of age. For many traditions, there are often rituals (bat mitzvahs, confirmations, and more) that a girl engages in at age 13 to help her “come of age,” but the idea of doing something for an entire year (one a month) is an idea that makes sense to us; coming of age doesn’t happen in one day.

As we know in today’s complex, fast paced, global, connected world this “coming of age” is getting harder and harder to navigate without fallout and a running start. What better way to build up her confidence and strength than to create with her a “Coming of Age Challenge” that lasts an entire year.

Selfishly, I know that to spend the time with her, planning, helping, supporting, and participating in the “Coming of Age Challenge” at this critical period is a gift for all of us not just her.

Now is the time

My daughter, Zoé-Pascale is turning 12 in October – and now is time. Starting this month, we are beginning the Zoé-Pascale Coming of Age Challenge. Our goal is to choose one activity a month in which she will accomplish that builds confidence and strength in body, mind and spirit throughout the year. The activities need to be something she wouldn’t normally do and are a challenge to accomplish, experience, or make time for. As a framework, the challenges will fall into the following categories and some activities might fit into more than one category:

  • §  Physical
  • §  Mental
  • §  Intellectual
  • §  Emotional
  • §  Spiritual
  • §  Gratitude
  • §  Giving Back
  • §  Future/Career
  • §  Adventure
  • §  Travel
  • §  Creative
  • §  Fun 

We are starting with a list of possibilities that will get refined as some need more planning than others. As a family we will discuss them and vote on the ideas, but she has to decide if it is right for her and will be something she sees as confidence and strength building in body, mind, or spirit.

Watch out world, here she comes!

You can read about it on the website at Coming of Age and all the challenges and experiences will be posted there as well as on the blog.

If you have any ideas, let us know!


Suzanne Saxe-Roux