Everywhere I look, there is a growing trend telling me I should raise my daughter to be bold, fearless, passionate, and bossy. I can get behind bold, fearless, and passionate, but bossy? That’s where I draw the line.
 
Bossiness is not a leadership skill. Bossiness is a “my way or the highway” mentality. It says I don’t care what your feelings and thoughts are—you’re doing it my way. 
 
Leaders, on the other hand, are honest and humble; they listen, empower and inspire others; they are held accountable and communicate well. They don’t simply tell people what do because they have strong opinions, they inspire others through their own examples. 
 
I don’t want my daughter to make friends on the playground by telling everyone else what to do. I don’t want her to lead every school project because she thinks her ideas are better than everyone else’s. And I don’t want her to become the kind of boss people are afraid to work for because she is domineering, harsh, and bossy—no matter how “successful” she may be. 
 
Now, I understand where the advice is coming from. We want to praise our daughters for their intelligence or hard work—not their looks. We want our daughters to stand up for the truth. And we want our daughters to surpass our accomplishments. 
 
I want the same for my daughter. 
 
I worked in Congress for several years. Maybe my daughter will grow up to be a Congresswoman—or President. And if she becomes either, I will be her biggest cheerleader.
 
But more importantly, I want her to surpass me in other ways, too. 
 
I don’t care what kind of job she ends up getting, her title, or how much it pays. I want her to care about people, to be kind to everyone, to be giving, to be compassionate, and to serve with a humble heart. These are, honestly, areas I feel like I fail sometimes but aspire to teach my daughter to do better in. 
 
Instead of bossy, I want to raise my daughter to be bold, fearless, and compassionate.
 
Bold, fearless, and kind.
 
Bold, fearless, and sweet.
 
Bold, fearless, and a good listener.
 
Bold, fearless, and compliments others.
 
Bold, fearless, and takes responsibility for her actions. 
 
Bold, fearless, and cheers others on.
 
Bold, fearless, and humble. 
 
Heck, I’ll even take bold, fearless, and silly. 
 
Above all, I want my daughter to be strong, bold, fearless in the Lord.
 
And I’ll do my best to teach my daughter leadership skills—without having to be bossy. 
 
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Sarah Althouse

Sarah is a Buffalo transplant living in Washington, D.C. with her husband Josh and cat Squeakers. By day she work as a Communications Director for a Member of Congress; by night she dreams of being Martha Stewart. She also loves pigs, peonies, politics and peanut butter. Follow her at http://prettysimpleideas.com/