I work each day with girls -- 5 - 15 or so...400+ at this particular time. If someone had told me even 6 months ago that I would be working in the midst of a bunch of noisy females, I would have actively denied the idea and laughed in their faces. Yet, here I am...in love, in combat, in active engagement with a bunch of girls, only one third of whom I know their names.
I pray that I am able to live into the motto to “inspire girls to be strong, smart and bold.” I can only hope to be a model of these basic ideas.
Girls are a challenge. If they are strong, they are labeled with ugly epithets. If they are smart, they are called awkward or nerdy. if they are bold, they are considered problematic or unmanageable, or “uppity”. God forbid.
I am constantly amazed by their love and willingness to share that love. I am amazed at the tenacity of their character. I am absolutely defied by their deliberate and contrived aloofness.
They are full of love, hate, trust, distrust, faith, fear. They are a mixture of such strength and weakness, stamina and apathy, and all the things that contradict these things.
They are noisy...and yet, at times so quiet as to defy sound. There is no room so quiet as one full of girls listening.
How can they be such riddles?
They are amazing and funny; heart wrenchingly beautiful and tragic; profound and simple; pure and complex all at the same time. At any given age, they are a chemical nightmare and miracle. They are a future and an end. They are a promise, a fulfillment; too often they are thought of as a curse.
They have the weight of the world upon their shoulders. And we expect them to live into it.
We rail at their rebellion. We attempt to subdue them into submission. We try to break them down so that we can rebuild them into our own idea of what they should be.
We expect them to be strong but feed them McDonald’s, candy and sodas thinking that this gives them joy....or keeps them quiet.
We think they are adorable when they mimic TV/ movie stars/pop stars, Princess Barbie dolls. We applaud them and laugh when they purse their lips and sway their hips and look so adult....until they begin to look adult. Then we tell them to stop acting like a slut or worse; we tell them that if they don’t stop, they will get what they “ask” for.
Girls. So much potential. So much power. So many gifts.
No wonder they scare the world into trying to keep them ‘in their place’.
If you want to support a group who is “inspiring girls to be Strong, Smart and Bold, support Girls Incorporated. http://www.girlsinc.org/index.html or check out Girls Incorporated of St. Louis at http://www.girlsincstl.org/modules/content/index.php?id=32 of “like” us at https://www.facebook.com/girlsincstl.
Mark October 11, 2012 as the International Day of the Girl. Remember our girls on that day. Think of the women leaders that they will grow to be...if we continue to live into the motto of inspiring them to be Strong, Smart and Bold.