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When we look back on our life and we ask the philosophic question: “Why did I turn out the way I did?” Inevitably the answer almost always lies with how we were brought up. More specifically, what our mother did or did not do. Or what they said or did not say. These words of wisdom, daggers of despair, actions of or absent of affections are the foundations of influence that make us who we are today.
I am no different. When I look at my childhood there are the perceived demons of lack of encouragement that haunt me to this day. Those absent words of “you can do anything.” You can fill your dreams” were words so many little girls crave, and yet the more we search the more they out distance us. The voids in our childhood can be the motivators for our success or the crutches or our failures.
What our mothers says is so powerful and can set a young girl on the path to be something great. It is wise to plan your philosophy of family prior to embarking on the most important role of your life – motherhood. Unlike a job or business, this role caries the responsibility for eternity. The words you share will be the words that echo in your daughter’s ears for years.
In interviewing women leaders in East Africa for Wisdom Exchange tv, their words of wisdom to their daughter of ten were very consciences. In each case when asked to share their messages that they would give to their daughter if she were ten today, there was little hesitation. Each Leading Lady I interviewed was clear and concise on the words they needed to communicate to promote a confident, capable member of society.
Here are some of their words of wisdom:
Dr. Jennifer Riria (Kenya): “You must to go to school, get a skill that answers a vision that you want to be 20 years from now. Move towards that goal every year.”
Gladys Ogallo (Kenya): “What ever you have to do, do it well so no one has to come up behind you to clean it up.”
Jane Wathome (Kenya): “Be focused. Understand who you are and focus on your strengths. Try to turn your weaknesses into strengths. Don’t let your weakness destabilize you and get in the way of her focus.”
Joanne Mwangi (Kenya):“You are wonderful and you can do anything.” “I would leave my daughter free to do what they want”
Joyce Muraya (Kenya): “Enjoy every stage of your life; don’t rush anything. You are made for greatness.”
Norah Odwesso (Kenya): “Follow your passion. Go for the highest goals. There are no limits; the only limits are the ones you put on yourself.”
Rehmah Kasule (Uganda): “Never ask why did this happen? Ask, how can we overcome it?”
Hellen Acham (Uganda): “Look at the talents you have, take up those talents.”
Yetnebersh Nigussi (Ethiopia): Be loud, proud and passionate.” “I want my child to be as loud as possible so people can hear what she has to say. Proud, express herself as someone who is very capable and unique. I want her to demonstrate she is someone who has a number of things to contribute to this world. Passionate, someone always moving forward.”
Samrawit Moges (Ethiopia): “Use this opportunity to educate yourself as much as possible.”
Tereza Mbire (Uganda): “Be a girl of integrity. Always tell the truth.
Have a dream of success, and work towards that dream.”
As much as words can shape your daughters so can our actions. Bience Gawanas, African Union commissioner says that daughters should be empowered to question: “You can be a change agent just by asking “Mom, why does my brother not wash the dishes?”
Many of the women who have achieved positions of influence were brought up as equals to their male siblings. All the children participated in the duties of the home and where given the opportunity for education. As a child of three older brothers, I believe one of biggest impacts of my life, like so many of these women, was being brought up as an equal in the home. No matter what is your cultural background being treated as equal can set the foundation to endless possibilities.
In interviewing these women for Wisdom Exchange tv what I found most interesting was when I asked them what ‘words of wisdom’ would you share with your daughter, the above comments are what they shared. When I asked them what do they wish they were told, many said either the same words, or words of encouragement.
These are leading women. They are accomplished. In many cases our mother’s words can be inspiring or deflating. They may be the catalyst or obstacles to our self-views or social contributions. Often the individual battles fought are our internal struggles with confidence and self-worth. What message are you giving to your child? Are they words of encouragement that they can inspire to and reflect on positively for years to come? Or are they words that they will reflect on as anchors stopping them from achieving their potential?
Action: As mothers evaluate the words you are saying to your girl child. The example you are setting, the environment you are creating. You may have the next Leading Lady in your midst and as members of society we want to ensure you cultivate that potential for the sake of your daughter and society.
Travelling through Africa 2011/2012 – conducting Wisdom Exchange tv Leading Lady interviews
Suzanne F Stevens, is the Chief Edge Optimizer of the Ignite Excellence Inc. Group of Initiatives. As Keynote Speaker, Trainer, Coach, Host and Philanthropist, she inspires, develops and invests in people to push their edge to personal and professional potential from backpack, to briefcase to boardroom. As a trainer, Suzanne’s influential business communication training arms individuals and organizations to influence, differentiate and engage more people and more business. Visit www.igniteU.igniteexcellence.com for online influence university. Self-pace business training for your career growth!
Visit our other Ignite Excellence Group of initiatives’ websites with corresponding blogs.
Suzanne F Stevens – Profiling women leaders who have pushed their edge to personal or professional potential from backpack to briefcase to boardroom
igniteU – Online influence university. Self-paced learning to develop your business skills for your business success.
Ignite Excellence Foundation – Leadership, Advocacy, Education – following donations to scholarships for women in developing countries
Wisdom Exchange TV – A forum where women will be inspired from the achievements of African women in business, education, philanthropy and politics.
You Me & We – a husbands and wife’s journey through Africa in 2011/12
Ignite Excellence Inc. – Influence, Differentiate, Engage more people and more business – a training & development company