Think back to your childhood. What did you want to be when you grew up? A teacher? A fireman? An astronaut? A civil rights attorney? A United Nations ambassador? President of the United States?
Like so many little girls, I had ambitious ideas about growing up to be someone who would make a difference in the world…yes, to even be President of the United States.
We each wanted to be the first woman President of the United States!
Early on, I loved words – writing, reading, speaking, telling stories— so by adolescence I had dreams of using my words for good. I wanted to help victims of injustice, to advocate for children, to inspire people, to speak about faith. I also hoped (and prayed) for a country and a world in which women would have an opportunity to do important work supported by leaders who shared our experiences and ideals. If fact, every night of my life, especially in the face of the world’s sorrows and the imposed silence of wise women, I have continued that prayer.
Last week, I got a glimpse of an answer to my prayer. I attended the International Women’s Peace Conference in Dallas where hundreds of courageous thought leaders shared their ideas for non-violent answers to global problems. In addition to hearing the encouraging speeches of amazing Nobel Peace Laureates, I listened to personal stories of women leading truth and reconciliation conversations in Africa, of female legislators standing up for civil rights in Turkey, of mothers and daughters working for economic opportunities in Azerbaijan, of a woman founding the first school for handicapped children in Egypt and of refugee families retaining hope in Iraq and Palestine and Sudan. I became more convinced than ever if the women I met could overcome their obstacles, the time for women of peace in the U.S. to step forward is now.
With all that still swirling in my mind, I watched the CNN/YouTube Presdential Debate (download youtube video) last night. If you missed it, try to catch some clips. It was not perfect – there was not enough time for each candidate to respond to every question and little chance for follow-up— but it was enjoyable and informative. The best part was that every candidate spoke passionately about taking this country back from the brink of oblivion we have come to, and each one has the moral authority of the Greater Good at heart.
For me, though, the debate was a moment of clarity. With Hillary Clinton front and center, I considered the journey that had brought her from a little girl in a man’s world to this place on the world stage. I remembered my own childhood dream of being the first woman president and thought about the millions of other women of our generation whose dreams Hillary carries. In fact, younger women are watching and blogging about Hillary too. Intelligent, strong-willed, open-hearted and experienced, she is all we could want in a leader. She uses positive problem-solving methods, believes in a collaborative foreign policy, welcomes intellectual and cultural diversity and wants to empower compassionate people to work for justice. Suddenly, it became real to me—this time we really can elect a woman U.S. president, and she will be great!
A little girl can become President!
Hillary is not the only one whose dream can come true. Each of our dreams can become a larger vision for the world. Nothing is stopping us but ourselves! So, I would ask you to think for a minute:
What were your childhood dreams?
Did you become the person you wanted to be?
What do you care about most?
As a writer and activist, I am using my website, www.InSpiritry.com, as a platform for positive ideas and a way for my words to work for good. Whatever your passions, as students and parents, as scientists and teachers, as attorneys and sales clerks, as nurses and executives, aren’t you ready to use your gifts for good? The candidates and Nobel Laureates aren’t the only ones who are called to serve. Now is the time to:
Recommit to your childhood dreams – they were great ideas!
Speak up about what you believe – then take action!
Do something every day for someone else – be a blessing!
Listen and learn – there is a great big world out there!
Get involved politically – working together we can change things!
What do you say? Isn’t it about time? Let’s follow our dreams, believe in each other and really make a difference in the world!
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