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Tracy Knight of “Women Encouraged” Speaks to Mother Daughter Initiative

Tracy Knight April 2018

Did your mom contribute to your level of self-esteem and or self-confidence? 

Yes. My mom was divorced with two young daughters. As a child, I watched her display tremendous faith, strength, and compassion for people. She showed us how to persevere when situations weren’t necessarily ideal.

I believe one way she contributed to my level of self-confidence was by her continuous pursuits of greater things. I admired her as a busy mom, who worked as a nurse while completing her college education. She focused on her goals and creating a life for her children. As a young girl, I identified that as confidence. In her later years, when she no longer worked, she became actively involved with church and helping others. She always had a transition to something fulfilling in her life.

She also contributed to my self-confidence because she had us engaged in programs/activities that complimented our natural abilities. I have always been a Creative, so she enrolled me in classes such as dance, music, and modeling. Today, I do the same with my daughters. They have similar and different likes; but I seek mediums to continually feed their individual interests to build their confidence.

As a mom, do you foresee parenting challenges when it comes to self-esteem and body image issues for this generation of young girls and young women? 

Absolutely. We live in a culture overly saturated with the wrong messages of body image – infecting the self-esteem of females – young & mature. Unfortunately, there is no escape. I have a tweenager and a teenager. Although, I try to prepare them with mom-daughter talks and positive reinforcement, challenges still emerge. As moms, it’s so difficult to instill in our daughters a strong sense of faith and self-love, when they are bombarded with false images and messages of perfectionism for beauty. It is a continual battle but we must continue to fight for our daughters.

If you could lead a workshop on empowering girls, what ideas or suggestions would you recommend to moms to help empower their daughters?

If I could lead a workshop on empowering girls, I would first recommend empowering daughters with the knowledge of defining themselves by biblical standards instead of cultural standards. I believe it is foundational for young girls to develop a strong, positive, faith-based identity to counteract other messages.

Then, I would suggest activities to further develop the total girl – etiquette, community, speaking, self-defense, money, conflict resolution, etc.

Lastly, I would suggest Mom & Daughter challenges – specific ideas to nurture the relationships between mothers and daughters. For example: Writing love letters or notes to each other, creating lasting memories/traditions, serving together on projects, etc.

 What’s the hardest thing about being a mom? What’s the best thing?

The hardest thing about being a mom is letting go – knowing mistakes & hurt are inevitable. As mom, I love, nurture, and protect; but I must release them into the world to create and establish their own lives. Although that is the ultimate goal, it’s still difficult.

The best thing is simply knowing that I’m mom to my children. I love them so much and I feel blessed that God gave them to me.

If you could teach moms how to bring about more happiness into their everyday lives. What would you teach them?

I’m sure most of us have heard.… “If mama ain’t happy, nobody is happy.” For moms, it’s so important to choose “happy” for total well-being. Everything and everyone can pull from mom, leaving her depleted. I would teach moms how to develop good habits of caring for herself as a woman, so she can effectively care for her children as a mom.

Specifically, always continue to pursue personal goals and dreams. We pour so much into others to be their best while neglecting our personal best. Mama has dreams too and it’s vital to stay in pursuit of those dreams. Take time to connect with other women for support and encouragement. Parenting is hard work and we need each other to survive. Remember, in ALL things, CHOOSE JOY! For everything we face, we can choose our response.

What advice would you give moms of this generation?

Stay in prayer and don’t give up. Motherhood is challenging but rewarding. Our children face tremendous pressures today. When you have or feel those imperfect moments as a mother, know that it’s perfectly okay. What matters most are the beautiful moments when you realize you are giving your best and trusting God to do the rest.

What are some of the lessons learned with raising your daughter?

I’m still learning but lessons that come to mind are…Look beyond the mistakes, offer unconditional love and always see her flourishing at her very best. Even with discipline, I have to keep in mind that my daughters are learning life lessons. I want them to know that regardless of their mistakes, I love them.

Parents aren’t perfect and make mistakes too. Sometimes I have to apologize if I fail to follow through on something, make the wrong call between them, etc. I believe it’s a healthy to show kids no one is perfect.

Don’t underestimate the influence of technology and social media. This is major! Trying to monitor this digital world can be so overwhelming but I try to stay on top of it. Every parent should because kids are sharp and will find ways around parental restrictions.

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