THE COOLEST MEETING WE'VE EVER HAD.Let me just say that, even though I have made empowering girls my life’s work, I am still amazed and always inspired at the potential of a girl who sets her mind to accomplish a goal.
Enter Presley, the girl who submitted Sarah Grimke -- the chosen figure for the Nominate Her Challenge.
Presley nominated an early abolitionist and women’s rights activist, Sarah Grimke.
Presley nominated this particular historical figure because of Sarah’s mission to stay authentic. Sarah, raised in the South, hated slavery. She advocated for the slaves on her plantation. She tried to reason with her parents that slaves were entitled to the same rights as their owners and should be freed, but to no avail. So Sarah left the South behind and went North, becoming a Quaker. The Quakers did not believe in slavery, and they believed in equal rights between men and women. It was here, with the Quakers, that Sarah found a foundation to stand on and was able to speak out against the evils of slavery.
Presley walked into our offices with a very clear and concise plan of how Sarah should be represented to other girls. She was cool and confident when she told three adults — two of whom she had never met before — what Sarah should be remembered for, what her journal needed to convey, what activities we should consider for the Play-It-Forward cards and what the accessory and the charm should look like. We were impressed.
My business partner looked at me after the meeting and said, “That was the coolest meeting I have ever had. Presley is going places.” Presley’s determination inspired me to work a little bit harder the rest of that day.
Can you imagine if we gave every girl a platform to speak her mind and we, the adults, just listened? If we all would just be quiet and listen to what she needs, what she feels other girls need ... if we just got out of her way for 10 minutes — what great things could she do?
Truly, we received some really great entries for the Nominate Her Challenge. I have spoken to each of the nominating girls and we have plans in the future to bring the girls in and work with them. These girls understood the mission laid out before them, and they wanted to “get after it” and get things accomplished — and, well, we adults just need to step aside and let them have their space.
So, I am left wondering: Do all girls simply need their mission and their space? I get so busy trying to find opportunities for my daughter to be inspired that I am not truly sure I ever get out of the way and let her inspire herself, or tell her how she inspires me. Yikes!
Do we parents need to give them time every day to be completely independent to do the creative work, the physical work, the leadership-type work they want? What happens to a girl as she works to empower others? What does she become in life — Superwoman? A Fortune 500 CEO? President? The list of possibilities is inspiring. When girls bring this level of passion to their work, I wonder if they realize they are inspiring adults to work harder at their jobs. Have we ever told our daughters that, when they do those things that bring them happiness, they inspire us? What would that do for our daughters? I think we need to tell them.
To the girls who are coming through the ranks: Keep doing the hard work, stay true to your mission, be authentic when you share your thoughts. You are a breath of fresh air; you inspire us to work harder on your behalf. You make us believe that tomorrow is going to be great and we are leaving this world in some very capable hands.
Thank you for your grit,