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So our first contest was a big success. I’m too lazy to put in a link; just scroll down a bit…a little more…yeah, there ya go, that’s the spot. We challenged you, dear readers, to tell us the ONE thing that every girl needs to know and why. We got some great responses (and my heartfelt thanks to you all for your restraint – not one of you said “Never match wits with a Sicilian when death is on the line!”). Here were some of the good ones.

“The one thing every girl needs to know: That regardless of what society thinks, there is no limit to what she can accomplish, simply because she is a girl. Why she needs to know it: Because everywhere in our society, the message is the complete opposite.” – JayMonster

“The one thing every girl should know is how to change a tire. Back when I was delivering pizza in a college town, there were THREE separate occasions when I stopped to help groups of college girls on roadtrips who each got a flat and were at a loss for what to do. On two of those occasions it was past midnight and they would have had to pay a hefty fee and/or wait a long time for a tow truck. Only one girl seemed to even know what I was talking about when I asked them where their jack and lug wrench were. Teaching your daughter basic car maintenance skills like this not only gives them self confidence and teaches them a skill they can use when they need, but may also prevent them from being hoodwinked by dishonest mechanics – I’m glad my wife didn’t fall for the guy who told her that her air filter needed vacuuming ($10 charge) or that her car wouldn’t operate correctly if they didn’t put nitrogen in the tires instead of regular air (who knows how much they wanted to charge for that).” – Ross (EDITOR’S NOTE: Totally agree with Ross on the value of knowing basic car maintenance. I asked my mechanic about the nitrogen in the tires scam. According to him, not only does it make no difference in how the car operates, you run the risk of your car blowing up like the Hindenburg if you run over a nail. That’s why I took his recommendation and put helium in my tires. It was $20 a tire, but my guy says that it’ll give me 30% better gas mileage, and will lighten the car so that it will jump over ravines and State Troopers just like the General Lee.)

“When the boy who is captain of your elementary school flag football team wants to keep you out of the game, you have the right to play. Even if you’re not very good. In third grade, winning is not everything.” – landismom

“Every girl needs to learn independence. I want her to learn how to take care of herself and not have to depend on others for what she wants. I have seen my fair share of helicopter parents and with cell phones and email it is way to easy to fall into that trap of always seeking out help and guidance. I want her to make her own decisions and not always feel the need to check in with Mom and Dad. How do you teach this? Don’t be afraid to let them fail. Failure teaches resilience and independence. We can’t always win, there will be tears, but it will ultimately be worth it.” – Jay B.

Sage advice, to be sure. But there can be only one winner, and we’ll sending a copy of The Daring Book for Girls to Arwen, who offers up the following:

“This is a tough one but I think I have the answer. Originally I thought it was that every little girl needs to know how to open a beer bottle with a key (or any flat metal thing). But I realize we are talking about girls and young adults. The reason I feel this way is because it is not a strength move, it is a finesse. The finesse of leveraging the metal against the bottle cap. Female anatomy tends to have more problems developing big strong muscles so to learn how to finesse is critical in many ways. So then I thought about other ways girls can physically finesse and I thought ‘Of course’: Every girl needs to learn how to roll a kayak. Girls develop hips for three reasons (numbered by importance):
1. roll a kayak
2. block at soccer
3. birth babies later on in life
Rolling a kayak is not about strength, it is about a hip snap. Using something that comes naturally to us (our hips) to do something that would seem really hard (roll a big piece of plastic that is on top of you and you are attached to it while you are below water) is a very empowering thing to learn. The movement of snapping your hips and keeping your head down and rolling up is really quite cool and very impressive.”

That? Awesome.