Bring Back Our Girls: The Mother in Me

I have been on a three day road trip with four beautiful teenage girls, one of those being my daughter. We laughed. We talked. I felt privileged and honored to be included in their conversations…our talk of boys, love, life.

I come home…and allowed myself to address and awaken to a kind of sorrow and outrage…not like any I’ve ever known. At this moment, nearly 300 of my young sisters have been kidnapped by a man and his militia…a man so asleep in his own life that he cannot see nor understand the insanity—cruel and deviant nature of his behavior.

I feel anger. I feel frustration. I feel helpless.

As I read through the various stories on the kidnappings, I see a world that is, in a uniformity I wouldn’t have seen twenty years ago when I started Girls on the Run, crying out, laying claim to the power of the feminine. We will stand for no more, not here, not there.

The woman in me feels so much outrage. Outrage! What can I do? What can I do?

The most obvious place to start will be for many of us, to use our voices, to speak of our outrage, to sign petitions and plead to those who can directly influence, to do so. Please check out Amnesty International’s website on the Bring Back Our Girls Effort:

bring back out girls

But it’s the seemingly smaller efforts that I plead with those of you reading this to consider. We can do what we can to influence those in direct contact with the efforts, but it’s in the frustration of feeling powerless, we might also look deep within our own hearts and ask ourselves…how might we bring peace and love…to our own backyards, where our impact as well as “who we are” can directly change the world.

Here are a few I’ve thought of…simple, doable and real…that can directly change the world we live in and, I believe, directly influence a world where this kind of tragedy occurs.

If you have others, please share them with me. You can jot them down in the comment section or email them to me directly at mollybarker1960@gmail.com.

1. (Continue to ) Do good work with our children. Create open space for their little spirits to thrive. Children who are loved, seen and heard grow up to be adults who love, see and listen. Where there are children, there is hope.

2. Talk with your friends and family members about what’s going on. If your children are old enough and mature enough, discuss the details of the current situation with them. This doesn’t mean gleaming small bits and pieces of the crisis from sound bytes and social media. Research, understand and become confident in your knowledge. Become (or continue to be) an engaged and educated global citizen.

3. Do not be afraid to speak the truth about this incident. Jesus, Muhammad, the Buddha, Abram…all our religious founders would be deeply saddened by these events and the efforts of these religious fanatics to correlate them to anything spiritual/religious/moral.

4. Be willing to question where and from whom our own beliefs and values come from.

Our political views, religious views, how-to-parent views, gender views…everything “view” or opinion we have is based on a set of values and beliefs that we have integrated into our thinking and believing as our own.

Question always. Why do I believe this? How did I come to have this belief? Where did that idea come from?

We can be strongly grounded by our core values (particularly those acquired through experience) yet always remain open to the views and values of others. Living into a life that integrates both strength and vulnerability is where true growth happens. All systems…religions, governments, corporations, communities, families…that live in this integrated strong and vulnerable space thrive, sustain and grow as well.

As I close out this short piece, I wish I felt better, but the truth is my feelings of helplessness are heavy…And all I know is that rather than stay stuck in the feelings of helplessness, and do nothing…I will do what I can.

This afternoon I will be spending time with a group of girls in Juneau, Alaska…and I plan to love every last one of them…with every bit of me I can.

Bring-Back-Our-Girls-Michelle-Obama

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