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October 19, 2016Who of us hasn’t experienced a situation that made us feel demeaned or “less than?” As a woman in business, I remember how it felt to be asked to get the coffee even though I was on the same level as other vice presidents in the room. I know that sounds like something out of Mad Men but it didn’t happen that long ago.
I’m not going to presume that I can even come close to replicating the powerful words our First Lady spoke last week. But I’m glad to say it has started a conversation.
So let’s talk.
What are WE doing? What are the women of TTN doing to make sure the women (and men) of the next generation and the generation after that know that they are valued, that their aspirations and dreams are to be respected, and that they should expect to be treated with dignity?
We know the best way to eat an elephant is “one bite at a time.” We need to apply that concept to the seemingly impossible task of changing our culture, of saying “no” to the belief that predatory behavior is ok. Where do we start?
How about with our grandchildren?
Never before has there been a generation of women (ours) who has been so involved in their grandchildren’s lives. I remember my grandmothers (sort of) because they showed up at holiday dinners, or we visited them on their birthday. But today, we are involved on an almost daily basis with our children’s children – picking them up from school, providing day care services, showing up at soccer games, helping to plan special occasions. This isn’t because our kids aren’t able to manage child-rearing on their own. It’s because their economic reality is that they need 2, 3 or more jobs in order to make ends meet as they pay off student loans and try to get their careers on track. They need the regular involvement of grandparents, if they are so lucky as to have it, to keep it all together.
What an opportunity we have to shape the values of these young girls and boys to reflect the best of who we can be as human beings. This is our chance to show them that being respectful, generous, and kind to others are the keys to a happier life. Mrs. Obama said, “People who are truly strong lift others up, bring them together.” What a world it would be if we all aspired to raise up those around us.
Cornelia Connolly, the founder of the order of nuns who taught in the schools I attended, had a motto – “Actions not Words.” What actions can we take to devour the elephant?
I invite you to share your views with other members of TTN on the National Bulletin Board. Click here to go there now and suggest ways we can influence the hearts and minds of future generations of girls and boys so they grow up giving, and receiving, the dignity and respect we all deserve.
Click here to view Michelle Obama's inspiring speech.