Often when I decide to write something it comes from questions friends or family members asks me and after some time to think I decide to put my thoughts out in the blogosphere. So here's some of my thought on a few of these questions,
"Why did you wear pants to church if you aren't a feminist?" or "Why did you go to that SSA Conference if you don't struggle with SSA?" or this is a good one "Can you actually help teens who struggle with substance abuse if you've never struggled with it yourself?To me there is an inherent problem with these types of questions. They are from US versus THEM standpoint rather than from a WE perspective. In my mind when I get asked these questions I almost immediately think,
"If everyone knew the women that were feminists in their individual wards then no one would have to wear pants—they wouldn't need allies—they'd be surrounded by Christians who understand and loved them" or "If you knew how many people around you, male and female, were struggling with their sexuality then you'd be at that conference (or something that would educate you on LGBT issues) too. or this is another thought I have, "How often have you tried to listen and understand a teen that is struggling with addiction instead of judging them?After these questions start swimming around in my head I then have these next thoughts. What about all the other things I do or have done in my life where I don't actually have the skills, qualifications, or personal experience. Does it really matter in life if you have the specific skills, experience, etc? For instance,
- I started a business/non-profit without a business degree.
- I taught youth ages 15-17 music, performance, etc. with out a music degree.
- I became fluent in American Sign Language with out being deaf or having anyone in my family being deaf.
- I dedicated years of my life working in adoption and foster care without personally being adopted or in foster care.
You get the idea. If we only did things that we had actual personal experience with the world, I believe, would be a very different place.
And so I wanted to write this post for one main reason. I wanted to give people PERMISSION to follow their hearts. PERMISSION GRANTED to go out of your comfort zone. PERMISSION GRANTED to to let your curiosity get the best of you and to delve deeply into something or someone that you can't relate to at all. PERMISSION GRANTED to start something, to write something, to live a dream, to love the unloveable, to help those in need, to look beyond yourself and your circumstances. PERMISSION GRANTED to become an ally, to be a fighter, to be a lover, to listen. PERMISSION GRANTED to see the world and Its people from a WE perspective instead of a ME or US versus THEM. PERMISSION GRANTED to wear pants to church, to attend an AA meeting, to go to an LGBT Conference, to build a house, to become a mentor, and do so many other things you can't personally relate to or even really understand. PERMISSION GRANTED to be...
In mulling this idea over and over in my mind I came across this awesome organization that embodies these same ideas. They are called Ashoka. Ashoka's Theory of Change: "Ashoka's job is to make Everyone a Changemaker™. To help create a world where everyone has the freedom, confidence, and skills to turn challenges into solutions. This allows each person the fullest, richest life. And a society so constituted will evolve and adapt faster and more surely than any other." Isn't that amazing!!
PERMISSION GRANTED to be a Changemaker.
I imagine a day when we don't have to have women lining up and waiting, to have their voices/ hearts desire met or wear pants to church to feel unity. I imagine a day when leaders don't have to go to seminars to learn how to help youth who are coming out gay or where they feel the need to end their lives. I imagine a day when Christians will understand what it ACTUALLY means to be a Christian.
Until then I wish with all my heart that more people could feel empowered wherever they are in their lives to get outside themselves and love more, listen more, learn more, and in exchange become more.