Last week, Jenna was given some homework to do for Girl Scouts. Each girl was to be assigned a notable female figure to learn about and dress as so that the girls could play a "Guess Who I Am" game. Jenna was assigned Sandra Bullock and I was not satisfied with her spending her time learning about an actress. I mean, I think actors are great and I would have no problem with my children wanting to be an actor. However, I think at this critical time in their lives they are already bombarded with celebrities and pop culture and media and I just would rather that she learn about women who have had a significant and beautiful impact in our world.
So, I asked if we could choose someone else. I just wasn't comfortable with the subject she was given. My guidelines were to choose someone the girls would know. I knew, however, that the majority of children Jenna's age would not know who Sandra Bullock was so I decided to just pick someone that I felt was a good role model for my daughter. I chose Temple Grandin because she not only is an amazing female educator, biochemist, writer, and inventor, but she also has Autism.
Jenna is also on the Autism spectrum and I believe it is important for her to know this and to understand it. I want her to understand why she sometimes struggles to come up with the right words or why she gets anxious when there is too much noise. I think it's okay for her to know that these differences are a part of her but that it's not something that she should be afraid of but rather that she has a different and unique way of learning that is actually really interesting! Temple's mother told her "Be proud you are different!" and I want Jenna to understand that "even if you don't do well in school or have a lot of friends, you can still do many things." (Mary Carpenter, Temple Grandin: My Life in Pictures) Though, we have been blessed that Jenna has not had too much trouble in the friend department.
I think Jenna learned a lot about Temple Grandin and she asked me a lot of questions about Autism and why she struggles with certain things. I am so glad that we were able to learn about her together. I think we'll watch the HBO movie about Temple Grandin together sometime soon.