A dad used his daughter's princess phase to teach leadership skills, and it's perfection.

The way this dad handled his daughter's "princess phase" is parenting at its best.

Thanks to Disney upping their princess game with strong, independent female leads, raising a princess-obsessed daughter isn't as potentially problematic as it used to be. But parents still worry that their little girls' fascination with sparkling crowns and palaces may lead them to unhealthy ideas about gender roles and expectations.

Will she think it's desirable to be a damsel in distress waiting for a handsome prince to rescue her? Will she realize that that petticoats and corsets are totally impractical, or see them as the sacrifice one makes for being pretty? Will she romanticize the wrong things and flush away everything her feminist foremothers fought for?


These are the kinds of questions many parents ask when their daughters go through the oh-so-common princess phase. And that's why people are hailing one dad who parented his daughter during that phase as a hero.

"He took the trappings of the princess culture, and used it to teach me leadership..."

Grego Hogben, author of "My Daughter's Army," shared a screenshot of a post on Twitter and added the comment "How to parent a princess."

The post, written by someone with the handle "constant-instigator," reads:

I get why a lot of people hate the whole princess culture aimed at little girls. There's a hell of a lot of toxic bullshit in there.

But when I was a tiny princess, my dad used to be my royal advisor. He would come to me, and over tea we would discuss the problems of the kingdom. He would tell me that new people wanted to move to the kingdom, and ask me what we should do. Or he would tell me that the teddybears and the dolls were fighting over the enchanted forest, and ask me what to do. Basically, he took the trappings of the princess culture, and used it as a tool to teach me about leadership, civic responsibility, and compassion."

"So if you have a little princess around," the commenter continued, "consider helping her figure out how to run her kingdom. There's no sense in telling a kid they can't be a leader, or that they can't wear sparkles while they do it."

Rather than fight against his daughter's penchant for princesses, he utilized it for good—and made learning fun and meaningful for her.

As a parent of two daughters, the way this dad handled his daughter's imagination inspires me. So often we forget that kids learn best when lessons take place in their world, and turning the tables on the princess theme was a brilliant way to do just that.

A princess doesn't have to be the traditional maiden lying in wait for Prince Charming. She can be the ruler of a kingdom, a benevolent philanthropist, a commander of warriors, or a rugged individualist. She can solve problems, make hard decisions, analyze pros and cons, and think about how her choices will affect all involved.

And parents can help facilitate all of that thinking and learning through playing with their little princesses, even while straightening her sparkly crown.

Way to go, dad. Thanks for inspiring us to play princess in ways that educate and empower our girls.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less

Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

Keep Reading Show less
Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less