Pick a passion

What really makes you angry about the world?

Oh, look, another topic I start to argue with instead of write about! But my contrary tendencies are going to have to wait for another time. Hmm. Figuring out and keeping to a right-sized scope could be a linchpin for this writing. Onward-!

Lots of things about the world really make me angry. So much so that I don’t consume news – why don’t we simply act as assertive adults and get on with our lives? <shakes head>. But this doesn’t help with the assignment. Generalized incomprehension makes a poor passion project…and this question is designed to get me in touch with my passion.

It’s not working.

Let me try from a different angle: “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” – Frederick Buechner

I’m better at reaching passion through deep gladness. For today’s purpose, I’ll talk a little bit about building young women leaders. I’ve been delighting in that for over a decade. 

But I think you should have a little context. In 2016, I still observe adults leaning around little girls — “Honey, those beads don’t go together. Use these beads. No, string them every other color.” Really? Pony beads on a pipe cleaner are so important that the girl doesn’t get to PICK HER OWN BEADS? Is it any wonder our girls grow into young women who who assume that ‘other people’ know what’s best for her, that her trying something on her own is too risky to be contemplated? 

I am passionate about girls getting an opportunity to try AND FAIL. With tiny consequences like a weird-looking craft. With medium consequences like an outdoor breakfast that doesn’t cook properly…burned just means charcoal, and charcoal is a purifying agent. And pretty large consequences, like making a commitment to a library to provide over 100 books, and then having the primary donor back out.

All of us learn through practice. Practice means doing something multiple times. Failing over and over teaches girls that (1) they will survive. Don’t laugh; they don’t believe until they get to the other side. That (2) they can learn from what went wrong and do things differently. That (3) checking your plans with others frequently builds a stronger final plan. Done well, the mentor’s plans also fail and become fodder for the compost heap, showing that (4) being an adult is not a vaccine against failure.

Resilience. Failure builds resilience. Giving our girls safe places to test their ideas to failure builds resilient young women who grow into adults who make things happen in their communities. Providing those safe places gives me so much delight, and makes the world a better place. What’s not to like?

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