"I want to be president when I grow up!" It's a common refrain, one thousands of children—both boys and girls—have declared over the years. As parents, we want our kids to reach for the stars like that, not to be afraid to go after their loftiest desires, and to believe anything is achievable. But, until now, there's been no proof that a girl's dream of being president could be a reality.
Finally, we have that proof. An example we can point to that says, "Yes. This dream is possible for you, too." Like her politics or not, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has given the little girls in our lives reason to dream big—like, White House big.
By securing her position as the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, former Secretary Clinton has effectively shattered our highest glass ceiling. She's become the first woman to be nominated for president of the United States by a major political party—a true milestone in American history. No, not everyone agrees with her policies. But, nonetheless, I think we should all recognize that she's expanded the limits on what little girls can aspire to be.
Of course, we're still a ways away from possibly making history with the U.S.'s first female president, but this nomination is an affirmation that voters found her as good a choice for the highest office in the land as any male candidate. It's an example I'll point to if my future daughter ever believes her gender to be a disqualifying factor, or questions whether she can do what the boys can.
It's long past time that we show the little girls in our lives—by example—that they should never limit their dreams, and that nothing, especially their gender, should stand in the way of them going after what they want. So while words and hypotheticals can be reassuring, I think having a real-life example will go a long way in inspiring generations of young girls to be ambitious, reach higher, and strive for the seemingly impossible.
In what has so far been a contentious and conflicting election year (and I imagine it will only grow to be more so over the coming months), I'm taking heart in the fact that—win or lose in November—Hillary Clinton has already made history. And I for one can't wait to see what kind of ripple effect that has on girls in the future.
Riyana Straetker is an editorial assistant at Parents who believes in the power of an inspiring story. You can follow her on Twitter.