For all of my hype around the Heart & Sole Romantic Relationships lesson yesterday, I didn’t get to go. I had to work late. It was disappointing.
But here’s what I did get to do. I got to spend some time being reminded about how impressive young teenage girls can be. After a ten hour day doing work that I find little enjoyment or meaning in, I had one of the most engaging conversations I’ve had in quite some time with a high school girl. I mean, I hadn’t even had a chance to eat lunch. It was 5:30pm and I had completely forgotten that my body was well into the process of consuming itself. I love the food and I hadn’t had any all day. That’s like, the perfect recipe to catch a case. But I didn’t even notice once we started talking. That’s how impressive this child was.
I believe our hour long conversation ended in a yoga-esque “the strong, intelligent woman in me recognizes the strong, intelligent woman in you” type of closing.
It’s possible I got a little teary-eyed.
And in that moment, I realized that I’d had several really solid conversations with young girls in recent months. Some of those conversations were with middle school girls on my Heart & Sole team. Some were with the high school students I work with. Some were with kids just out in the world.
Too often we (I) look at teenage girls as being shallow, self-involved, judgmental, and superficial. Silly. That’s really how we cast young girls today, right? Recall the group of selfie girls at the baseball game? No? Google baseball game selfie girls. You’ll see what I mean. I’d post the pic here, but I’m pretty sure it’s copyrighted. (Note: Those were college girls and I believe I recall reading that they were participating in a social media promotion put on by the baseball stadium. Nevertheless, it seems to be our standard view of girls.)
But when you engage these girls in real conversations, they’ve got things to say. They’ve got devastating stories to share. They’ve got insights into real world issues and solutions to suggest. Contrary to what some of us might believe, they think quite a lot about their world and the things that need to change and how to change them.
If we don’t give them a place to share those stories and insights and solutions, we’re missing out. Eventually they’ll just outgrow us and leave us behind. Obsolete and trying to remember where we put our glasses.
So, #letstellher to use her voice, even when we’re unwilling to acknowledge it. Because eventually we’ll get on her level and hear what she has to say. It may take us some time. Grown folks can be a little obtuse. But we’ll get there.
And also, keep being silly. Silly is what makes life bearable as you’re fighting to make your voice heard.