Friday, November 11, 2016

Dream Big: the future is yours


This girl here - she's training to be an altar server for our church.  When I was her age, I couldn't be an altar server because I was a girl.  That's what I was told.  Nope, sorry, you're a girl.  And I was outraged, not because of religious feelings or aspirations, however right or wrong that may have been, but that I had been told I wasn't allowed to do something simply because I was a girl.

The Catholic church has since changed their position on the matter.

My girls were very much interested in this presidential election, mainly because it was used as a learning opportunity at school.  While Rich and I discuss politics here and there, it's not a heavy topic in our home.  Before sending the girls off to bed Tuesday night, I agreed to turn on the television and watch the election unfold with them.  At the time, Hillary was in the lead.

"You are living through history," I said.  "There was the first black president and now we'll have the first female president."

"But Mommy, she wasn't won yet."

They were right.  And she didn't win.  But, and this is a huge BUT, she almost did and to me that's amazing.  When I was a kid, I would have never, ever expected a woman to be president.  That was just impossible.  To my girls, this is normal.  It's normal for women to run for president and it doesn't matter what color skin the president has.  This is what they know and there's a certain type of beauty in that.

In 1993, a few months shy of my 20th birthday, I began interning (yes, I was paid) at one of the Big 6 (at the time) public accounting firms.  Women were not allowed to wear pants.  That was part of the written dress code.  No pants.  Do you think that sexist crap would fly today?  Within a few years, we were "allowed" to wear pant suits BUT ONLY if it was purchased as a suit.  You could not mix and match pants with a random blazer.  I could also count the number of female partners that I worked with or knew of on one hand and this lawsuit would come up on occasion.

I still feel like there's inequality in the workplace for women.

My girls are the future and I am empowering them.  You can wear whatever you want to wear.  You can do whatever you want to do.  You are just as strong as, as smart as and as brave as boys.  

Wednesday morning I returned to the van after walking the girls up to the school's entrance.  Normally, I listen to my music which is something I can't do if the kids are around.  If I dare try, they somehow immediately know its my music and complain incessantly, calling it "old fashioned."  I sat in silence for a minute and then drove home alone in my thoughts.  Rich and I encourage the girls to dream big.  The sky's the limit.  And nothing about this week will change that.  The world was a different place 30 years ago and it will be a different place 30 years from now.  They will play a role in that change.  We all will.

Be kind.

Respect others.

Stay strong.


JEN said...

Great post! My eight year old daughter was sad that Hillary didn't win. And nope, I couldn't be an altar server either. I was furious. Instead I got to the clean the convent and rectory on my lunch hour. Good times.

Niki said...

This is one of the first things I've read that actually makes me feel a little bit better. You're right. We've come a really, really far way, and that progress is something to be celebrated.

Kandice said...

Thank you Sarah for this! It's difficult to feel positive right now and not profoundly saddened by America's choice (or the choice of the electorate), but you are right. I have never been happier than realizing that my five year old daughter didn't balk at the possibility of a woman president. Having a black president is all she's known. That's amazing and it shows that we, as Americans and specifically here American women, are making progress. This might feel like a road block, but it's not. It's just a set back - our generation and the future generations of women and girls are already experiencing so much more than our previous generations, and with strong upbringings (like you do with you daughters), it will only get better for them.

Amber Gregory said...

Thank you so much for this, Sarah.

Bernice said...

Funny I also wanted to be a Alter server, but In the 50's a young girl dare not even think of asking.
I hope your daughter is able to serve.
Thank you so much for your post

BreezieGirl said...

I'm so glad she gets to be an altar server! I never had the courage as a kid, but I remember friends that were and my younger sister was a server. I loved serving in college though (altar server, Communion, reading) and am so glad I was able to do so. I can't imagine I'm much younger than you, so it must have been a fairly recent shift.

Your girls are so lucky to have parents that are empowering them and I agree with some of the other commenters regarding the optimism in this post. I stayed up way to late on Election night in California and it was hard to watch. You make a great point in the shifts that have already happened in our lifetimes, but hope that the shift starts to move at a faster pace.