Tahoe-Truckee mothers and daughters – it’s time to unite | SierraSun.com

Tahoe-Truckee mothers and daughters – it’s time to unite

Teri Andrews Rinne
Special to the Sun

Eight years ago, when our daughters were all classmates at Truckee Elementary, I joined six other moms to create a Mother/Daughter community, based upon the book titled the "Mother-Daughter Project: How Mothers and Daughters Can Band Together, Beat the Odds and Thrive Through Adolescence."

A Mommy and Me 2.0, if you will.

Our goal was to help our daughters (and ourselves, as parents) navigate the minefield of middle school, which was just around the corner. For four years, we met monthly during the school year covering issues such as friendships and aggression, puberty, body image, technology, substance abuse and sexuality.

On our good days, we wanted to help our daughters develop into kind, confident, assertive teenage girls with strong self-images and close ties to their moms. On our more challenging days, we wanted simply to commiserate with a supportive group of moms that understood exactly what we were going through.

Fast forward to 2016. Our daughters successfully navigated both Alder Creek Middle School and three different high schools between them. We reunited last week to celebrate the completion of their first semester of college.

It was fascinating to hear what it's like to relocate from a small mountain resort town, with friends they've known since preschool, to their new urban environments from Berkeley to Boston, and Reno, Santa Barbara and New Haven in between.

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It was heartening to hear their stories about making new friends, navigating new living situations, adjusting to life away from home, being inspired by professors and readings, and surviving the first round of midterms and finals.

Perhaps most poignant of all, their eyes and hearts are being opened to a world outside of their comfortable Truckee bubble. They realize that their relatively privileged and somewhat sheltered upbringing was a gift not afforded to all, even among their new classmates and especially within their new communities and around the world.

The 2007 book that started it all is still available on the shelves of the Truckee Library. More recently, the Truckee Library has acquired a book that may be the worthy successor to the Mother-Daughter Project. Educational psychologist Lori Day has written "Her Next Chapter: How Mother-Daughter Book Clubs Can Help Girls Navigate Malicious Media, Risky Relationships, Girl Gossip, and So Much More."

It covers many of the same issues, including gender stereotypes and sexism, the sexualization of girlhood, body image, girl-on-girl bullying, healthy relationships and behavior, inclusivity, leadership, and the welfare of girls and women around the world.

What I especially appreciate about Her Next Chapter is its multimedia approach to each subject. Not only are there books to read, with related discussion questions and fun activities, there's a selection of movies and TV shows, as well as short online videos and lectures to watch.

Looking back on the first 18 years of parenting, I can safely say that our Mother-Daughter gatherings were one of the most positive and valuable activities I participated in. I was in awe of my fellow moms and their ability to communicate their life experiences and unique insights. I believe my daughter benefited greatly from absorbing seven distinct motherly perspectives, rather than just mine.

Looking back on 16 years of serving as the children's librarian in this community, I know that Truckee is blessed with intelligent and caring parents. I encourage all of you to join together in community to help raise up our next generation. Throw in some books, movies and TEDx talks to discuss, and I guarantee it will be time well-spent, perhaps even life-changing.

Teri Andrews Rinne is the children's services librarian at the Truckee Library, 10031 Levon Ave. Call 530-582-7846 or visit mynevadacounty.com/library.