I was a huge fan of Little House on the Prairie when I was a girl; I read all the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder and then watched and rewatched the television series.
Another one of the series’ star came out with a memoir, MSNBC reports: Former child star reveals mom’s cruelty in memoir: "Little House on the Prairie" actress’ success fueled by pride, pressure from hermother.
Melissa Francis played Cassandra Cooper Ingalls on the hit television series. In an excerpt from her book, Diary of a Stage Mother's Daughter: A Memoir, she talks about her childhood and her relationship with her mother.
“The day I won that part may have been the highlight of Mom’s life. Our two years on Little House on the Prairie were without question her happiest. There was no reason for me to talk back, or for her to take a scissor to my favorite shirt in front of me in response. I cried on cue, the adoration on the set enveloped me. Rebukes from Mom were short-lived, lest I show up for work uncooperative. But in truth, we were both so happy there was nothing to struggle over. She woke me at 5 am to make an early call and we worked well into the evening, but I loved the sense of purpose an acting job gave me, as well as the sense of accomplishment, and, of course, feeling so very special.”
What strikes me is how much what she says in the final line resonates with what I have written about and how I have described my experience in my teens: but I loved the sense of purpose an acting job gave me, as well as the sense of accomplishment, and, of course, feeling so very special.
Reading this in someone else’s words just makes me realize how important those needs are for some girls. And I’m wondering what we can learn from this description of young womanhood.
How do we give our girls ways to meet those needs, but in healthy ways?
How can we help our daughters to feel purposeful, accomplished and special through age-appropriate and beneficial rituals or activities?
I am not knocking acting for young girls; I think there are many good aspects of it. But I want to find ways for my daughter to feel all these empowering feelings without having to “perform.”