Of Surfing, Afros, and Raising Daughters

Here is the problem–okay, one of many– with raising three girls: there is a lack of good role models for them in the media. So when the movie Soul Surfer came out and my friends with daughters were all like, “you’ve gotta take your daughters to see this!  It’s such a great movie for girls!,” I decided I’d better jump on that bandwagon.
I’ll be honest, it’s kind of a cheesy movie. There were points where my husband and I were pretty sure, even if Bethany didn’t surf again, she would probably walk on water. But there were a couple of great messages I wanted my girls to take away from it:

1. Sharks will sometimes bite off your arms, but don’t let that stop you from doing what you love.

2. God works through people of all different faiths to perform miracles, as long as they will allow Him to.
3. Serving others is the best way to overcome your trials because you can always find someone else whose life sucks worse than your own.

Here is the message they actually got:

Never, ever go in the ocean, or even to the beach, because a shark WILL eat one of your limbs for lunch. (The shark scene, by the way, is, literally, about two seconds long).

Now, this would not be a problem if we lived in, say, Nebraska. However, about 15 miles from our house is a large body of water–perhaps you’ve heard of it–called the Pacific Ocean. And I would be very sad if we couldn’t go there anymore, because I love it. (To look at, because I’m from a spot on the Snake River in Idaho where we learn to waterski, boat, and ride wave runners ON TOP of the water in order to avoid actually going IN TO it).

So, imagine my relief when Girl 1 decided she wanted to learn to surf. I knew I had to take action fast because she doesn’t always want to try new things, especially when it doesn’t involve books. Luckily, I have a most awesome uncle who lives in Newport Beach AND surfs AND who I was able to cajole in to passing along his mad surfer skills to my daughter.
Here is the best picture of him ever:

 Taken in 1976. Seriously, how could he not be awesome to pull off that white man’s fro?

And here I am in 1990– because it’s only fair I post an embarassing picture of myself now:

Clearly, (a) he was much better able to pull off an afro than I was, and (b) big hair in Idaho never goes out of style.
But here are the most important pictures of all:

That is my daughter saying, “it’s okay if there are sharks out there, I’m going to try surfing anyway because I watched a movie about a cool girl who had no fear.” And sure, she probably won’t ever be a pro surfer ala Bethany Hamilton, but that’s not the point. She tried something new–and scary– so I’m pretty darn proud of her anyway.
And this is Girl 2 who decided she’d better get in on the action too, even without a wetsuit:
Talk about fearless!
Do I have awesome kids or what? They must take after their great-uncle (and his even awesomer wife, who may not surf, but man can she cook. And shop. And decorate. There’s a pretty long list, so I’ll end there.) 
Hang Ten!


5 thoughts on “Of Surfing, Afros, and Raising Daughters

  1. Katie Anderson says:

    I love reading your blog! I seriously hear your voice in my head as I read it and it's fabulous! And the hair! Seriously if Poison ever goes back on tour, we are going (but your 80s hair might need an extra ticket!)

    Like

  2. Enjoy Birth says:

    Your hair was seriously amazing! My boys also decided they never wanted to go in the ocean after that movie too. So I am impressed your girls were willing to try surfing!

    Like

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