Defining Surge: Using Choice Not Chance


A big part of the coming of age experience for a girl is battling a vague sense of powerlessness, of things feeling out of her control. Outwardly she may look like she is succeeding in school or elsewhere, but this can be deceiving.

Psychologists and youth development researchers alike describe the power that comes from replacing a things-happen-to-me mindset with an I-make-things-happen-for-myself mindset as self-efficacy.  

Since a big part of developing confidence for a girl is learning to make choices for herself, the activity conveys how chancy it is to not consider your own ability to say yes or say no, essentially the control you do have to make decisions that reflect what you value.

Conversation Tips:

Give some thought to your own triggers when it comes to words like choice and values. Stay conscious of the ways you may want to judge or control how she responds to the activity questions.  Remind her that you are not judging her.


  • Develop a deeper understanding of the concept of choice
  • Develop a fresh understanding of when she makes decisions from a place of choice

Do This Together:

1.  Write up a few questions like these on slips of paper:

Will I try out for basketball?  

Will I sign up for drama camp?  

- When a girl is being bullied on social media, do I stop reading it, or do I hit ‘like’?

- If I was asked to smoke pot to keep a friendship, would I do it?

- Others can be far-fetched, presenting a life-or-death ethical dilemma, like “If there were people trying to escape a burning building, and the only option was to leave an elderly person behind so others could get out, what I would?’

2. Pull up the online magic eight-ball. Then ask her to write up more questions. Play a few rounds using the questions you both wrote up. Once you are done playing, ask, when is a time you made decisions from a place of choice, not chance? Or used personal not popular values as a guide?  

3. Now read Power Surge and the skills that it takes to build it. Ask the closing questions: What is a skill she needs to develop related to this power? Who can help her?