In the presence of greatness

Today I had the honor of sharing lunch with the top 18 Senior girls from Smalltown High School. Based upon their academic success, these young ladies and their mothers were treated to a Mexican themed lunch as guests of the AAUW at the local Country Club.

I had the opportunity to talk with two of the girls who shared a table with me. Both of their mothers were teachers and enjoyed their professions very much. They were wonderful role models for these girls no doubt. One girl plans to go 3 hours away to college to study Accounting, and the other will stay close to home for a year before going to the metroplex about 8 hours away to study Pastoral care. Upon conversing with them, I was carried back to my senior year. The nervousness and excitement of leaving home and going off to college, tempered with the celebration and confidence of your last year of High School. So much to look forward to and so much to be scared of.

As women, we are all too familiar with the challenges that await these ladies. Women still make only 77 cents to a man’s dollar. Women who take time off to have children (and maybe stay home with them for a few years) often never get back “on track” in their careers. Perhaps we occasionally let ourselves wonder where we could have gone… what we could have been. As women we choose to work and lament the time away from our families in a culture that guilts us into thinking we have to be home for our kids. Or we stay home with our children and loose out on retirement earnings while becoming financially dependent on our spouses. The challenges are many and the path can be steep, yet we know many of these young ladies are up for the challenge. Their smiles seem to scream, “Bring it on!”

We, as “grown” women, look to them and celebrate them especially because we know this is our future. These young ladies may discover a cure for cancer, travel to space, or lead our nation as President. These same women may volunteer to be on the school board, open a food bank, or provide a loving home for young children. It is all important life work. As the speaker said, “Women hold up half the sky (maybe more)”.

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