Isabelle Allende opened her talk with an old Jewish saying; “What is truer than truth?” “Stories,” she answered, and began to tell some stories that stirred up a blog entry… Listening to her stories, I found myself stirred in a way that she probably didn’t intend, but then again, she doesn’t know my story. Isn’t that the power of a story? Each of us hears the same story, but we hear it from our own perspective. Stories don’t lead us all to the same thoughts or the same behavior. They have the power to stir fires of passion that already exist.
Isabelle’s told stories about women throughout the world who are making a difference, or sadly, who cannot make a difference. The 18 minute video is at the end and I hope you will give her a listen. Her stories fanned the flames of a passion that I didn’t even realize was smouldering in my heart. She told three stories of women making a difference and women who have no voice whatsoever. She told stories of women who were (and are) raped and beaten for no reason at all. Shoking and saddening! She mentioned Wangari Maathai, whose story I heard on Speaking of Faith a few weeks ago… about how she made a difference in Kenya teaching the village women to plant trees which led to changing the livelihoods and even the very climate of her home. Inspiring! But that is not what stirred in me.
I am the proud father of four wonderful daughters (who are very much grown up despite the implications of this photo). Without ever really articulating it to myself or to them, I always wanted my daughters to be strong, independent women. I wanted them to be able to think for themselves and to have the power to follow their passions. I recognized that they were all beautiful and smart, but they were each so unique. They have gifts, strengths and abilities that no one else on the face of the planet has. I knew my life was better because they were in it. Now that I see who they are and who they are becoming, I realize that the whole world is a better place because they are in it!
My daughters have a voice! I want a world where their voice is heard… free of preconceived notions about what women can (or should) do. I have every confidence that they can overcome these obstacles, but it is unnecessary friction. The friction limits what they can accomplish with so much energy wasted just making heat. Let’s make the world a better place for my daughters (and all daughters) to succeed. We need them more than we know.