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What did you imagine you’d grow up to become?

It’s a simple question, but most of the women I know had no idea what they wanted to be when they were young girls. Yes, they’re now successful and happy, but pursing their passion just wasn’t even a thought at the time. I always felt a little strange because I was so clear about wanting to be a writer from a very young age. Fortunate enough to grow up on a home where whatever we imagined we could be, I took dance classes, piano lessons, enrolled in art classes and was an active library member. I also look back fondly on my massive collection (I had about 20) of Barbie dolls, which I asked for every birthday and holiday—even better was the fact that the dolls were beautiful and brown, a reflection of me.

Since becoming a mom 10 years ago, I’ve always been into the idea of stepping outside of the expected when framing my daughter’s mindset. Yes, of course, you can be a doctor (like your auntie) and a pastry chef (like grandma).

Today when I ask my daughter what she wants to be when she grows up, she can rattle off a list of highly-focused goals for the decade ahead of her. It’s pretty awesome, but not as rare these days that girls know what they want.

Kids and young people are savvier than ever (they’ve got trend-setting and entrepreneurial skills to boot) but if they’re fortunate, our little girls are also seeing how having dreams and pursuing a passion can turn into a reality.

Take Zendaya, for example. My daughter looks up to the actress and singer as a role model. When Barbie created a Zendaya doll, my daughter was thrilled—not only to see the doll rocking the hairstyle she was slandered for, but also because she realized that Zendaya’s dreams were real and coming true.

The message is so necessary that Barbie is starting a new chapter in their 56 year legacy with the launch of a film called “Imagine the Possibilities,” the kick off to a series that focuses on the importance of open ended play.

Watch the video:

In the video, you see five vivid imaginations run loose on unsuspecting audiences resolving to a simple truth: when a girl plays with Barbie, she imagines everything she can become.

Here’s the thing: It’s a rough world out there. My daughter knows she’s free to tell me and ask me anything. I ask my daughter questions too. I listen to her responses and always take them to heart. There are so many influences around her daily—from friends and school, television and social media—but it really matters what goes on in our home. I want her to always feel safe to dream and create and play.

I don’t want my daughter to think there’s anything wrong with being pretty, looking nice and dressing up, but I also do want her to understand that she can be and want outside of what’s presented to her. Design that computer program. Build your own dollhouse out of boxes and craft paper. Dominate the math team and the school play. Why not? You can be anything your imagination will allow.

When your child plays with a Barbie doll, what does she imagine?

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Barbie. The opinions and text are all mine.

How are you teaching girls to dream?


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