Chapter 2 11-20 Years Achiever Girls
Once I started middle school, I felt a little more “cool” and a little less “shy.” I entered “Achiever Girl” mode, found two close friend, and we shared classes together. We spent time after school together and did sleepovers on the weekends. Each of us were achievers.
With all A’s or A’s and B’s on our report cards, we were the honor roll kids; the geeks, had arrived. As a tween and teen, I found a few close friends who were “gifted or high achievers” like me. We were academically and socially rock stars (or so we believed)!
As girlfriends, we shared similar interests and knew how to achieve in and out of the classroom together. We were known to have crushes and act on them. My first love—John. He was in the church youth group and went to my middle school. We kissed only once in his backyard orange grove. However, he was one of my fondest memories of these early teen years. I learned I liked holding a boy’s hand, and I loved the small notes we would pass one another.
When I was in my late teens I discovered a few more boyfriends but not too many. I dated one young man who was older than me, one young man who was younger than me, and a few dates during college. But, my favorite love of all—my now husband. He and I met in 1999. I was not quite 20.
Sadly, I have lost touch with most of my childhood preteen and teen friends in terms of real life phone conversations or seeing them in person. Now, that we are in our 40s a lot has changed. We have jobs, are parents, and geographically we are spread out.
Of course I still follow via Twitter or Facebook and remain friends with some on Instagram too. We live in a modern day memory book of sorts. We get flash briefings. We dialogue our favorite pics on Instagram, and we tweet about topics near and dear to our hearts.
We are still “Achiever Women.” We are much more powerful than the fictional super heroes on movies. Achiever girls become achieving women. Ages 11-20 are those formative years in my opinion where you find your place in society. You often pick a mate or play the field. You start to settle into work or graduate school in your teens and twenties.
In our teens & twenties we work in and outside the home. We are impacting our families and our communities for the good. Some of the achiever girls, including myself, post pictures or tweet about life’s adventures. I have not tried every social media arena, but I am sure the Achiever Girls from today could give me a lesson or explain why it is good or bad for communication on social media.
Communications on and off-line matter. We are creating a digital history. Now, as educators and parents, we can keep kids off of screens to an extent. We now have a son in this 11-20 year age bracket. Our sons are not allowed to have social media accounts until we deem necessary. They are now 10 and 13 years old. Perhaps in high school we will let them.
However, we do allow our boys to have a private YouTube account to record videos they create themselves. They are the “Tinker Brothers.” It is fun for them to be cool “YouTubers,” and our family has a private record of their voices and shenanigans. By archiving funny or cool stuff, and ear-marking them as “Private” in the settings. We acknowledge that staying off of social media altogether is unrealistic. The Achiever Girls (and Achiever Boys) still desire interactions with adults and peers in person and on technology.
The Achievers stand out from their peers. They are the ones excelling with top grades in the classroom, stellar performances for athletic coaches, and taking the stage as incredible artists and actresses. They also wisely use tech tools.
Tech tools help me maintain friendships. One of my girlfriends even pre-dates my sister. Traci is my oldest and dearest friend. Our mothers shared pregnancy days in the same Sunday school class. Now, we are in our 40s and still friends. Achiever Girls make friendships that are deep. That is a gift.
Achiever Girls also often make friends with The Father (GOD), a primary friend, and confidant. We learn in our preteen and teen years what faith really means. It is not about a denomination it is about a relationship with a God of your unique choosing. There are many faiths being introduced by families and others.
A faith community is about relationships.
During my “Achiever Girl” decade, I chose to follow Jesus and started to read more about him in my little red Bible and Hot Pink & Black Student Bible. I still have the Student Bible and read it from time to time. I have like 10 Bibles so it depends on which one is handy.
I believe reading books is an Achiever Girl trait. I try to read my Bible often. And, I really want to read one from cover to cover. I never succeeded to read Genesis to Revelation. I read the stories of the old and new Testaments, and I read the commentaries. During my teens I remember paying more attention at church to the sermons and to what Youth Leaders were saying. These men and women, living examples of God’s love, were my adult mentors.
I look back at my teen years fondly. I was confident, had lots of social time with many high achieving friends, and I shaped my persona and faith. Being loved by my parents, extended family, teachers, coaches, and youth leaders at church made me a very blessed Achiever Girl.
You see…coaches and adult leaders recognize the Achievers. They help these kids stand out even more. For example, even though I was an introvert, I was asked to be the Team Captain of three women’s sports teams. I was Captain to the cross country, tennis, and track teams—a highlight of high school. I felt pretty awesome.
I mentored younger girls on those teams. I rose in the ranks of a very competitive and large high school athletic program. I rose to the occasion of each competition earning ribbons, trophies, plaques, and good old fashioned varsity letters with pins. Not sure how I juggled school and sports, but I did. I did it well. After all, I was, and I still am an Achiever Girl.
Thankfully, I was also able to attend church where achievements do not matter.
She said to the king,
“The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true.
In your majesty ride forth victoriously in the cause of truth, humility and justice;
Let your right hand achieve awesome deeds
Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve,
Everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.
You created us to be achievers.
Forgive us when we want to achieve more than is necessary.
Thank you for reigning in our need to extend ourselves too far or too perfectly.
Give us the willingness to recognize that you are ever more powerful than me.