Thursday, 29 June 2017

#52Stories, Week 21, What other women were role models to me ?

So, role models. Female ones. Which women were role models in my life ?

Obviously Mum and my grandmothers, but who else ? I’ve been thinking long and hard about this topic.

Teachers ? Friend’s mothers ? Aunts, Godparents ? Family friends ? Community leaders ? Celebrities ? Sports people ?

I don’t remember that I had any favourite actresses, not any singers really either. So I guess that takes care of celebrity role models.

I don’t remember any special teachers either – maybe at college though, when we had our 7th form field trip. The teachers who accompanied us then were all young, not much older than us. Geography and Science teachers. It was a different sort of teacher/pupil relationship in 7th form where we were almost outside of the formal school structure and about to embark into the world of employment - or further study if we decided to gain a tertiary qualification. They weren’t a necessity at that time, like they are now. If you didn’t want to be a doctor or dentist or teacher or scientist you just left school and got a job.

But these young teachers were all young married women with successful careers. Surely that was something to aspire to – having a successful career and not foregoing that just because you were married.

Community leaders ? Brown Owl, Arahi…women who volunteered their time to empower girls and offer opportunities to grow and try new things. Who encouraged us to learn and develop the natural strengths we had, or to try something completely new in a safe environment. I am pretty sure it was these two ladies who I tried to emulate when I became a leader myself. It was surely something I had never seriously contemplated – until push came to shove as it often does in the volunteer world. But I loved it, and truth beknown there are times when I miss that involvement. A sense of belonging and comradeship, where every volunteer shares the same goal – to empower girls and young women to be the best that they can be.

Watching the little girl who wouldn’t say boo to anyone when you first met her grow with confidence into a young person full of energy and exuberance, so that you wonder at the transition in awe. Likely becoming a role model yourself.

A lot of what we do in our adults lives we have absorbed through osmosis, or like a sponge from the environment and people we were exposed to as children. Good experiences and bad both teach us something. Resilience, perseverance, contentment, humility and joy.

Hopefully the adults we all grow into will go on to share the good stuff, and the lessons learnt with the next generation in some way. As a parent, teacher, community leader, celebrity, sportsperson…

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