My daughter has such a great opportunity!
For an entire school year, she gets to live in Paradise... the Canary Islands. She lives with a family of beautiful, sophisticated women. She'll be enjoying parties in the city, weekends at the beach, Carnival, and hiking in the mountains. People usually comment.. "wow, lucky!"
But actually, there's no luck about it. I have been thinking upon how people end up where they end up, living in misery with nothing, or living with beauty, joy, and adventure. Sure, there's the accident of birth. Some people are doomed to poverty in this world. And of course some people come by their gains through deception or greed. But for most folks that most of us know, there has been a lifetime of decisions that have led them right to where they are. I've noticed that folks who seem to have had a lifetime of catastrophes and calamities invariably have a list of people they blame for their misery. But when others appear to have had inordinate amounts of success and happiness, people will say, "Damn, they're lucky."
What happened to personal responsibilty?
Marjorie is having this fabulous experience because she worked hard, stuck with it, didn't get distracted or give up, pulled herself together and came back when things didn't go her way, and because she made the right decisions about friends, sex, drugs and school. There are so many ways she could have gotten derailed! I know I did. Even with parents who do everything possible to protect her self-esteem, a girl gets bombarded with self-doubt in school and amongst her peers. It takes a lot to hold your head up as a young woman, much less try out for things you might not get.
Mar decided almost 5 years ago that she would be an exchange student in 11th grade. She followed through, on her own, with Rotary International who provide the scholarship, kept her ducks in a row, and made her dream come true. She deserves every wonderful thing that comes her way!
People have asked me whether I miss her like crazy and how I can allow her to be so far away for so long. I guess I just don't think the way other people do. To me, life is meant to be lived fully, opportunities are there to be taken, and if we don't live, travel, love, learn, laugh, now... when will we?
I am so happy for her and so proud of her, too. I admire her. She is her own creation. I remember that when Bill Cosby's son was tragically killed, he was quoted as saying, "He was my hero." I have felt that way about all my kids. Each one has taught me many things.
I didn't make Marjorie what she is; she made herself. Not perfect, but perfectly herself. Luck? No. Luck has almost nothing to do with it. Personal responsibility! Choices. Day in, day out, one decision at a time.
A PRAYER FOR YOUNG WOMEN... May our daughters and our sisters and our students and friends be given the fortitude to resist the voices that diminish or demean women in this world. May they be reminded daily of their strengths and their graces. May they share their good fortune and find determination to overcome their shortcomings. May they learn to claim, not to blame. May they be heros, not victims. May every young woman born find an enlightened witness who shows her the way. May we be that witness when the time is right. Amen.