Remember when I told you that I wish I’d been taught to be Bossy when I was growing up? Jessica from Chaos & Love had an opposite experience in her childhood, as she was told that being bossy was a good thing. And when you finish reading all about here experiences Growing Up Bossy here, check out here blog, Chaos & Love. She made the cutest decoupaged tins for her Adventures in Pinterest this month, is teaching her sons life lessons in a language they can understand, and is always my go-to resource when I want to eat all the sugar, since her sugar detox survival tips are second to none. Read on to hear more of her Bossy wisdom.
It was July of last year in a freezing cold Chicago conference room when Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO and author of Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, informed me that bossy is a bad word and moreover, demeaning to women.
Quite frankly, I was taken aback by this news.
I mean, sure, it can be used in a negative manner – most adjectives can when paired with the right tone of voice or context. But that’s not the way we used bossy when I was growing up. The bossy of my childhood was something positive and strong.
The “children should be seen and not heard” rule didn’t exist in my house. We were encouraged to have opinions and express them, especially if they differed from those of our parents. We were also taught about the responsibility that came along with that – the responsibility to gather your facts and to know what you are talking about.
Respect was also a key factor in growing up bossy. As much as we were encouraged to have and share opinions, my parents emphasized the importance of being respectful in doing so. We were taught the subtle, yet important, differences between being direct and being mean or rude. That’s a skill that has served me well throughout my life.
We were also, maybe not intentionally, encouraged to step up and be leaders. If we wanted to do something that my parents couldn’t accommodate (either with finances or time), we learned to figure it out, to build a plan and make it happen. As involved as they were, my parents didn’t enable us but instead gave us the skills to figure it all out.
People often ask my why I take on so much and I really think it’s because I was raised with the idea that I could literally do anything I wanted. My sisters and I presented some pretty crazy ideas to my parents over the years and even though they were brutally honest about the roadblocks, they were still really positive and supportive when it came to letting us figure out how to make them happen.
Sometimes my dad jokes about how he got such bossy children but the truth is that he made us that way. He (along with our mothers) empowered us to have ideas and act on them. They gave us the tools to go out into the world and be successful and then waited in the wings to catch us if we fell. They taught us that bossy is most definitely not a bad word.