I sure think it could. And I know just who can give it the kick it needs: Girls.
How do I know? I’ve lived it.
My mom was 19 when I was born, the summer after her first year in college. She had wanted to be a nurse practitioner, but stopped after another year of school to go to work as a lab technician. Throughout my childhood, she worked hard and went without a lot of things to make sure I had pretty clothes and the toys I wanted. And books. Books! And more books! When people asked her the secret to raising a child as precocious as I was, she’d say, “I talk to her like she’s a person, not a baby.” She read to me. Answered my questions. We made up word families in the car: ”pat. rat. cat. mat. hat.” For a 19 year old mom with an associates’ degree and a lot of stress, she did an amazing job raising me.
The best testaments to her determination and care for both me and herself are these:
Today, we both have masters’ degrees: she in nursing (Yes! She’s now one of Anchorage Alaska’s most sought-after gynecologic nurse practitioners!), I in psychology. And I’m a mother now, too. Not at 19. Or at 23 when I was out of college. Or at 27 when I got married. But at 35, after I earned that degree, built my dream house, and had carefully crafted a marriage that makes parenthood a fun, easy partnership. But beyond our education and financial stability, we’re both making the world a better place through philanthropy, service, and political activism. There’s a ripple effect, see? When one girl makes her life better, it’s just in her nature to make the world better.
Damn, do I wish I could jump back in time and give my mom the joys of well-timed motherhood she gave me. The safety of financial security. The clarity of emotional maturity. The abundance of a supportive network of friends and family who welcome and love and provide for that baby, even though you’ve got what it takes.I know it’s so much easier for me to be a mom now than it was for her to be a mom to me.
I can only imagine how hard it is for women who aren’t really women yet
…girls, really, to try to grow up themselves amid the pressures of raising another person. And to try to provide for that little being, in the way that every fiber of a mother’s being tugs to provide for her child, with dry, dusty, thin-as-water resources. Not enough love. Not enough money. Not enough emotional energy. Not enough support. It’s a downward spiral… because that scarcity for mommas turns into a scarcity inside each of their children and makes it harder for that next generation to even imagine a better future.
My mama gave me a life better than hers.
And while I can’t turn back time for her, I can help other young women live the lives that allow them to get their educations, to know their own hearts, to claim their own power, so that they have a rich legacy to hand their children. The wellbeing of those young women is the pivot point for so many of the problems our world is facing.
That’s why I’m thrilled there’s a project called The Girl Effect I can contribute to by writing about it, sending money, and turning you on to all that we can do to make a difference for the girls of today who are the seeds of tomorrow… not only for themselves and their children, but for the whole world.
Check out the Girl Effect video:
Really? Can empowering one girl… keeping her in school and healthy… really make a difference? It did for this girl, and her village:
Anita is a huge inspiration to me. As is my own mother.
May we create 600 million more inspiring stories of girls who, with enough support, made a difference for themselves, their families, their children’s future, and the rest of the world.
And if you blog, join Tara Sophia Mohr’s awesome Girl Effect Blogging Campaign.
Let’s do this!