“Soft” Skills By Any Other Name

My daughter is a force. She is determined, insightful, intelligent, and funny. But more often than not, when new people meet her, they opt to say some variation of “Don’t you look pretty.” I’ve experienced more than one proud moment in which my daughter looked up at me, imploring, as if to say “I don’t know what to say to that.” Because she is much more interested in talking about her new monster truck, riding her bike fast-fast, or learning to identify and sound-out words. Because my daughter, in all her complexity, is not singularly defined as pretty – that’s just a word people say because, well, it’s just a word they’ve always said. People might mean it as a compliment, but that one word becomes a one-sided, undescriptive, and superficial descriptor of who she really is.

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