One of the many beauties of having a sixteen-year-old daughter around are the wonderful observations that zing from her mouth, pierce any mental funk, and take up residence in my brain. Not too long ago during some family dinner kvetching about the weather or politics, she noted, “yup, a real First World Problem.” This simple phrase pops up frequently whenever I realize I’m sinking into hyper-mode about something fairly trivial; something either easily fixed or not in my capacity to change.
I have “First World Problems.” And so do my daughters, my sister, my mother–girls, all of us. Even my grandmother, who escaped from a childhood on a hardscrabble dirt farm to eke out a living in Washington, DC during the Great Depression, and wasn’t allowed by law to vote until well into her adulthood, only had “First World Problems.”
We have, and have had only “First World Problems” because even if there sometimes wasn’t enough, we had food, clean water, and the freedom to achieve anything we strove toward–even though we were all born girls. Yes, there have been restrictions based on our gender, but nothing that couldn’t be withstood or overcome. Nothing life-threatening.
So when I saw the first Girl Effect.org video, I was hooked. Simple graphic, powerful message. This is not a “First World Problem,” but it will take First World effort to create change. When I saw Tara Mohr’s blog calling for a “Girl Effect Blogging Campaign,” I of course signed-on. I signed-on because I believe every child born into this world deserves basic love and care. Because I believe with my whole being that if every child were free from hunger–both of the body and mind–the world would be far less damaged and its people far less dangerous. Because I believe in the power of women who were gained strength as girls. Because I believe in the possibility of change.
I have been blessed to give birth to three daughters and a son. I have been fortunate enough to raise my son and two of those daughters. As I see them go off into the world strong, loving, and ready to take on whatever challenges they may face in their lives–I am filled with gratitude. It is that I wish for every child, for every girl.
When my first child was just born, my husband took one look and said softly and with incredible love, “It’s a little girl.” That awe I heard in his voice contained all the love and care we would both give her as she grew, that she would learn to give to others. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this was the norm for every child, for every girl.