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Excerpt from I ALWAYS CRY AT WEDDINGS:
What Do Our Role Models Have in Common? By Sara Goff
Are you working toward a long-term goal? Is anyone showing you the way? Our inspiration might be our own hope for change, or it might be faith based, or sparked by another person. Whatever the inspiration, our success is determined by how long we can hang on and the encouragement we receive.
I had a strong desire to make a difference in this world. Early on, it was only a daydream. In 2010, I started a charity called Lift the Lid, which gives long-term support to underprivileged students in order that they will achieve a meaningful education. The funds we raise go towards the well-being of the children, meeting their educational, physical, and spiritual needs, our primary focus being writing and self-expression. I believe everyone has a voice and deserves to be heard.
Lift the Lid hosts a writing competition at each of the schools we sponsor. This year at Lenana Girls High School in Kitale, Kenya, I asked the students to write about a special role model in their lives, someone who inspires them to dream, to try harder when the work becomes difficult, and to have faith when they've been deserted by family and friends. A role model, I reminded them, helps us to keep going when the road ahead isn't clear.
As I read their essays, I could see the girls following the lead of hardworking, experienced, influential women, while holding on to their own ambitions: to pass their exams, to find a good job, to rise out of poverty, to make a name for themselves, and to give back, helping others to achieve their dreams.
Here are some examples of the women who inspire them:
Mother Teresa gave up possessions, embracing poverty in order to serve the poor and suffering.
Oprah Winfrey worked hard to prove she's someone special after years of bullying in school.
An aunt makes sacrifices and faces criticism when she takes in the young girl writing the essay and fights for her education.
I started to think of my own role model, my mother, an English and drama teacher prior to her retirement, a church organist and a fiddler in a folk band to this day. Did I mention her black belt in karate? Still doing that, as well. While I was growing up, she clung to her love of music and practiced her various instruments daily, but took the time to share her creative spirit with me.
There's a similarity between these inspiring women that might help us to become role models to others: They hang on fiercely to their calling, but they also let go. They let go of possessions and low self-esteem. They let go of criticism and fear. They embrace the spirit that moves them, and they share it with the world.
Do you have a role model you'd like to acknowledge? Has anyone ever told you you're a role model? One of the girls wrote about the vegetable lady at her local market. "I admire her very much because of how she was serving her customers in a kind and positive language." You might be surprised to discover that while pursuing your own goals, you are also being a role model to others. Hang in there!
Sara's previous Everyone's Story's feature:
Sara's Ah-hahs To Tweet:
Meet @sarajohannagoff, debut author of I ALWAYS CRY AT WEDDINGS. #BookGiveaway (Tweet This)
Author @sarajohannagoff: Can you be a role model? (Tweet This)
Everyone’s Story: Author @sarajohannagoff on The 2 Keys to Success (Tweet This)
Sara Goff recently moved to Connecticut with her husband of 14 years and their two sons after living in Sweden and then London for six-and-a-half years. I ALWAYS CRY AT WEDDINGS, her debut novel about figuring out life and finding love in New York City, was released September 15th by WhiteFire Publishing. A part of the proceeds from the book will go towards her educational charity Lift the Lid, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Visit www.lift-the-lid.org for more information on the charity.
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