To celebrate International Women's Day, here are a few things that I hope to pass along to my granddaughters as they grow into amazing women.

I'm a mother of three sons, so raising girls is foreign to me. As a matter of fact, I'm a mother of boys, who was the only daughter in a family of 3 children, and I've spent most of my adult life working primarily with men. When I went to college, I had to live in a co-ed dorm because I couldn't imagine myself surrounded by nothing but women.

But I'm also the daughter of a very strong woman, who was also the daughter and granddaughter of very strong women. My great-grandmother Grace began having children as a teenager and raised a family of 13 children in Aroostook County. Laversie, my grandmother, raised 15 children during the Depression, and then several grandchildren during the years she should have been allowed to rest. And then there's my Mom, Ruth, who spent the '60's and '70's taking care of a house and three children while my IBMer Dad was often away at school. I'm proud of my heritage and hope to pass that along to my granddaughters, Cameron - age 3, and Stella, who's not quite a year old yet. Here are some things I will tell them.

  • monkeybusinessimages, ThinkStock
    monkeybusinessimages, ThinkStock

    Never Be Afraid To Learn

    Learning comes in many forms. Sometimes it's a matter of studying hard and doing well in school. Or it can involve getting your hands dirty while you learn a new skill. And often, it's just a matter of listening to people when they talk, learning from their experience, and figuring out how to apply it to your own life. Never, ever pass up an opportunity to learn something new, because it's through learning that we grow.

  • Getty Images/iStockphoto, ThinkStock
    Getty Images/iStockphoto, ThinkStock

    Don't Stress About Body Image

    As someone who has spent her entire life worrying over her weight, I'd love to see my granddaughters focus on health, not pounds. Body image insecurities can be so damaging to everyone, but especially women when they're faced with supermodels and anorexic actresses as role models. So I'll tell my granddaughters that beauty comes from being healthy and confident, not from starving yourself and wearing a smaller size.

  • AVAVA, ThinkStock
    AVAVA, ThinkStock

    Stand Up For Yourself

    There will always be people in the world who want to get a head by pushing others out of the way. And it's easy for women to fall into the trap of allowing it to happen. I will tell Cami and Stella to always stand up for themselves, never allow anyone to make them feel less important, and speak up when they know the answer. There are worse things than being never letting anyone know that you were right.

  • Grant Hamilton/Getty Images
    Grant Hamilton/Getty Images

    Never Lose Your Inner Girl

    Girls grow up to be women with jobs, spouses, children, and responsibilities. But I've always found that it's an important part of being happy to keep a portion of your childhood with you. Feed your inner girl with trips to the zoo or by spending an hour in a toy store just playing with everything you see. Ditch the makeup and high heels and go hiking or to a baseball game. Or, better yet, play baseball! Being a girl is fun, exciting, and rewarding!

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