My life is crazy. In my Brady Bunch-style blended family I have nine kids, six of whom live with me. In an effort to provide those six children with the environment and education they need, they are in six different schools. If I didn’t have the support of my smart phone I’m really not sure I could make it. Regardless, things get missed sometimes. Like last week when I pulled up to school to drop my three year old off and it was a ghost town. I had missed the memo that there was no school that day. But in the scope of what is important I don’t even bat an eye any more. These minor inconveniences no longer faze me in the face of my responsibilities and I have had to become a master at rolling with the punches. It has meant that so much of what I love to do—blogging for example—has been put on the side burner until such time that my children need slightly less of me and I have a more “normal” schedule.
But today is an exception. In fact, this month is an exception.
This month is Women’s History Month, and in the honor of women around the world, I put down my smart phone, toss my car keys to the corner for a brief moment, and pull my head out of the daily grind. For as much of a struggle as women have had throughout history, there are so many exceptional women who have risen above adversity to achieve remarkable accomplishments. Their struggles and triumphs have paved the way for us today and for this I am grateful. For this I pause to give thanks and recognition. This month I will be featuring several of these women via my Facebook and Twitter feeds and I hope you will take the time to learn about these remarkable ladies.
I am grateful to have been born into a family and a country where women are generally free to express themselves. Women are free to work, to drive, to marry, to divorce, to parent, to create, to inspire, to discover, to explore. We, the Women of the United States of America, are some of the freest women in the world, and yet . . .
I do not know of a single woman who is not afraid to walk alone at night.
I do not know of a single woman who does not listen for footsteps behind her, or brace herself for what may be around the corner.
I do not know a woman who has gone through life without experiencing the harassing calls or touches of a man as she walks down the street.
Yes, equal pay and equal opportunity in the workplace are essential. But unfortunately this is still not yet the most important discussion on the table.
The most important discussions are as follows:
Why, in 2015, in a Western country, do parents have to worry about their daughters being sexually harassed not only in person, but via the Internet and social media?
Why, in 2015, are boys being raise to somehow understand that a woman’s body is not her own? That in the eyes of many boys it is community property? Even casual entertainment to be used and discarded?
Where is the disconnect in our great society that sends the message to men and women that women are anything but worthy of honor and respect and that this is NOT dependent on any factors—it simply is fact?
A human being’s sense of safety for his or her own existence is Ground Zero. Without it, without a woman being able to feel safe and confident to interact in this world, we as a human race, will be stagnant.
But most of us are aware of these problems. What we need are solutions.
What we need are women and girls being told they are strong, capable, beautiful, and valued AS THEY ARE THIS VERY MOMENT. Not with a different hair color, waist size, or bank account.
What we need are men educating boys on how to value another human being, men and women, and to know that a real man does not degrade, abuse, or use women. Real men control their impulses, value and respect others, and stand up against those who do not.
We need people in positions of authority—teachers, clergy, parents, and others—to keep their hands to themselves so that boys and girls can follow a natural course of development and not be crippled and haunted by physical and/or sexual abuses.
We need adults to work on themselves with consciousness, reflect on their actions, and take measures to grow each day so that they can raise children of our next generations who will lead our civilization to new heights.
We need kindness . . . oh so much kindness . . . to counteract the destructive forces at work in the world today.
We need the religious to stop killing, raping, and pillaging in the name of God. Newsflash: God does not need your help. You need God’s.
We need politicians to stop being politicians and start being fair representatives of this Great Nation and we need more women in those seats doing just that.
All in all women have beaten insurmountable odds to accomplish so much in the past several decades. Yet we have so much more work to do together. Women’s History Month gives us an opportunity to see women in action, women who have made it a priority to live life and step up on behalf of others. It is a chance for all of us to ask what we each can do in our own lives to better this world for women and girls.
At my funeral (which I hope is not any time soon) I wish for someone to comment, “She was a passionate advocate for mental health and a champion of women’s rights who made a difference in the lives of millions.”
Now if I can just get a handle on my children’s schedules . . .