I was sitting in the airport the other day with my glasses on and a book in my lap but I was too doggone tired to read. I was daydreaming about that giant Boeing 777 airplane outside the window. Some lucky people were settling into their seats for a flight to Paris, or Barcelona, or some other beautiful place in the world. For some reason, this led me to think about “making the world a better place.” When it’s all said and done we want each girl, in some way, to be her best self and contribute to making this world better. Maybe that means saying “no” to friends who are cheating, gossiping or selling prescription drugs at school. Maybe that means saying “yes” to the college major she really wants instead of the program her mother prefers. Maybe that means being the first female president.
I think that how, when or why we say “yes” or “no” is a process of discovering our “voice,” or our true identity. Even though a girl grows and changes, and her environment changes, there are a few things that remain constant, meaningful and particular to her. She has a voice, a presence. When her voice is heard it has the dual effect of reinforcing that identity while uniquely affecting the people and processes around her.
That, you might think, is a lovely way to think about a girl’s identity. Let me ask you this: have you heard your own voice lately? Does your “yes” come out with tightness in your gut that says, “I don’t really want to do that”? Is your “no” a bit conflicted because a small feeling in your heart says, “go ahead and give it a try”?
This gets me to thinking that perhaps the first step to making the world a better place in general is to make my world a better place for me; to show up in an authentic way. To connect who I am with what I do. To speak what is true for me and make an effort to see my visions through. When what I believe is consistent with what I do, my voice has a quality that enriches my parenting, my work, my volunteering, my learning, my relationships…my world. Since I share this world with you, our voices together might sound like a chorus of intentional living. Who needs to fly away to find a beautiful place in the world when there is beauty right here in my own backyard?
Well, the truth is, I’d still like to go to Paris.