My Why

09.04.24 02:26 PM By Sarah Stevens

An increase in suicide, again? I couldn't do nothing. 

It's dark:thirty am. You're trying to be a responsible "adult" and listen to some unbiased news podcast daily. You put the leash on the dog. You find a light to walk the dog in the foggy dark:thirty peace. Your two girls and two boys are still sleeping. Your responsible adult partner is awake being a responsible adult. Another day in paradise, trying to savor the little things. The smell of the winter air. The gift of the feeling of crisp air on your exposed skin. Instead of enjoying the sounds of the morning you start the day's news podcast because you don't want to listen to it when your kids are awake, because it's both boring torture to them and also, scary. Another, another, headline on the increase in suicide among teen girls. One of your girls is a tween at this point. 

The way we like to frame discussions with our kids is around how life-giving something is. "Is _________ life-giving and if so, let's head that direction together!" instead of a flat yes/no (there is a time/place/age/stage for that!). Applied to our then 12 year old, it was "Is social media life-giving and if so, how?" and then you can have it! She's 14 and she still doesn't have it if that gives you any hint of how our discussions went and continue to go. I am not trying to control her or dictate to her. I'm trying to shepherd her mind and heart towards a full life. (By the way, I was braced for the teen years being a disaster but they've been more lovely than I could have hoped. I honestly enjoy every second of our interactions. Maybe because she's sweeter than I ever was and I'm the sassy one? Maybe because compared to homeschooling 3 younger siblings that is a walk in the park? Maybe it's her fantastic best friend and her equally fantastic family? Who knows. All I'm saying is don't gird your loins for the teen years to be a disaster. They might be a delight.)

I wanted there to be some tiny pocket of the mobile world for her. So I created it. I founded and funded and poured my free time into it. So much of identity for girls is wrapped up in how we present ourselves to the world - our personal style. I wanted to offer an option that I would let my own daughter(s) use (and no the younger daughter doesn't use Adjust My Crown yet! I'm not sure when she will but it's not today). I wanted to offer an option that was SAFE, not addicting, controlled by a Mom on a mission, a Mom who views everyone on the app as someone to protect... I wanted to offer a way for girls to find and tweak their personal style, not just copy the trendiest looks. I wanted a way to celebrate who you are, where you are, today.

I took profiles out of the picture. I took the ability to comment away. I added a subscription, because trolls and bullies don't pay. I eliminated anything quantifiable (How many people voted on your poll vs. someone else's poll? It doesn't matter. It's not a popularity contest.).  The app is almost jarring in its simplicity. I use it too, at age 45. And I can put my phone down EASILY when I'm done. It's so refreshing. 

My daughter's heart and mind were worth it for me to pour myself into this for you. Your daughters are worth it to me. 

If you wanted to do one thing today for your daughters, I'd not recommend downloading this app as #1. I'd explore Jonathan Haidt's website, then I'd go to Amazon and buy this book... And then download the app... a tiny slice of the internet that you know is safe and then they lay down their phones (because they're not addicted) and go outside and play, like she is, my why (red light green light always slaps right?).

Sarah Stevens