13 Ways to Uplift Young Women
This week we will focus on the first two points in the uplifting our young women series: The importance of volunteering your time and why you should share your tough lessons that you learned on your path.
Volunteering your time
Volunteering your time is extremely impactful, but do you know why? Why would spending as little as 30 mins to an hour with a young person be a good way to uplift them? Some of your had parents worked all the time or may not have been active in the home. Some of you were upstanding citizens, while others were….hooligans I should say? Well, not hooligans but you knew how to cross some serious lines. The rules weren’t made for you and you knew how to break them. Unfortunately, this also led to (for some in this position) your lessons being taught by others (Jay Hoe from across the way) or TV due to the lack of parental guidance. Maybe you did have a lot of parental interaction but you may have felt as though you couldn’t talk to your parents about certain things for fear of their reactions. Perhaps your parents didn’t know how to react so they avoided your questions by shutting it down before it began. Sometimes we as women who are not a part of your family we can reach out to you in ways that your family members cannot. I don’t know what it is but sometimes when your parents tell you something it comes off more as a lecture versus them understanding you, so you’re less likely to listen to them. However, somebody from around the way who is just a good friend of yours could tell you the exact same thing and you will be thinking “oh my goodness, this is the best advice I have ever had!” It is not always about what is the actual advice, sometimes it is how that advice is being communicated. When you take your time to interact with young women you are opening up the line of communication. When it is coming from someone who is older and has been in that situation, it can have more of an impact because you are not lecturing the young woman, you are having a conversation with her. This is your time to impart the lessons and mistakes that you learned with her. This also requires you to listen and be open to what she shares with you. You can help this young lady without doing much at all, which is why more should volunteer. People feel that it takes too much time but 30 mins to an hour isn’t long. You’ve spent weekends binging on ‘Scandal’ that took more of your time and energy. You are also showing these young ladies the importance of taking care of the community. When you grow up and become successful, do not leave those behind who helped mold you into the success that you are today. Take the time and provide the resources for young girls who may not have the same opportunities you had or you wished you had as a teen. It takes a village to raise children and help them grow.
Share Tough Lessons
Don’t only share the good lessons, but also share the tough lessons. We have the gift to believe that we are the exception to a rule. If we do things differently perhaps we will get a different result. If we only hear about the positive things you are doing, one may think that all you have to do is ‘A’ and nothing else in order to get the good things out of life. Or perhaps she may not have a good grasp on reality. Some people are stuck in la la land and do not realize how situations can truly play out in the real world. There aren’t more lives, there aren’t do overs. The decisions you make today can and will impact your future. I’m not saying that she can’t be positive, but reality checks are crucial because we can make up the fantasies in our heads without really acknowledging what could go wrong. For example, my mother had me at the age of 16. Growing up, this was always discussed with me as well as the perils of sex and what it could lead to. Based on the lack of interaction with my biological father as well as seeing my mom having to struggle, this pushed me to make better choices at times when I interacted with the opposite of sex. If a guy didn’t want to wear a condom, then he wasn’t the one for me. If his focus was only sex, I didn’t entertain him. Although, I didn’t experience teenage pregnancy first hand(thank goodness!), my mother’s experience allowed me to continuously be on alert when it came to my sexuality. I learned to not listen to the “only the head” conversation. I was more cognizant of the majority of the game ran by the senior boys because I knew what it could lead to. I also learned that I could not rely on a man to provide for his seed should it not work out. As a teenage girl, these lessons are crucial because our idyllic view of life can put us into some unfortunate positions that could have been avoided if someone was very candid with us. (i.e. I know he said he love you, but if you aren’t ready for a child, think twice!)
Keep On the lookout for next week’s topic in our series: Become a Mentor and Listen to them!