An Inspiring Evening with Author Rachel Simmons

Rachel Simmons, best-selling author of Enough As She Is and Odd Girl Out, visited Nashoba Brooks School on Thursday night, February 7, for a raw and candid conversation on the challenges and mounting pressures facing adolescent girls and young women today.
To the packed audience of 150+ attendees, Simmons provided actionable advice and strategies for parents and educators alike in their efforts to best support these girls.

Simmons took the audience through her journey to where she is today, from dropping out of Yale due to a fleeting sense of purpose, to inspiring girls and women across the country, to becoming a New York Times best-selling author, and her most important role to date, mom of a first grader.

Reflecting on her own own experience, Simmons discussed the importance of resilience and how young girls need to be taught how to fail effectively, by learning to respond constructively to, and grow through, encounters with adversity. Simmons noted that we live in a culture that teaches kids to seek effortless perfection, and it is important for young girls, in particular, to remind themselves that they are not alone. Everyone is making mistakes and everyone is feeling pressure.

To learn how to embrace failure, Simmons suggested exposing girls to situations where they may not know the outcome—where they can take healthy risks and make mistakes. Simmons suggested that parents ask their children: “What’s the worst that can happen? Can you deal with that? What is the minimum benefit you stand to gain?”

Simmons also commented on the pressure surrounding girls today with so many women accomplishing so much. Fueled by well intentioned sentiments such as the “future is female,” Simmons cautions parents that girls may believe that they can, should, or must do it all. This pressure leads many girls to feel like they are not doing “enough,” achieving enough, or being enough. Simmons urges girls to ask an important question; “are you doing this because you think you have to, or are you doing it because it is what you care about?” Simmons reminds girls that if they are more passionate about an activity they will take more pleasure in it and may achieve better outcomes.

Simmons notes that these pressures are even greater when viewed through the distorted lens of social media, noting that profiles and posts are carefully curated to highlight only the best of experiences and appearances, strategically omitting any flaws. Simmons wants girls, parents, and educators to know and model a more realistic and healthy perspective, recognizing that it is through new experiences, challenges, and even failures that we learn and grow.

A book signing followed where many of the audience members had an opportunity to meet and speak with Rachel Simmons—a wonderful wrap-up to an inspiring evening.

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Nashoba Brooks School is a coed Lower School from Preschool to Grade 3 and an all-girls Middle School from Grades 4 to 8 located in Concord, Massachussetts.