Leading Ladies has ventured through a transformation. The group began as an idea that stewed in my mind for two years and evolved into a club for high school girls. Leading Ladies experienced a great run at the secondary level. Once I saw attendance and interest dwindling, I knew it was time to re-think Leading Ladies. Leading Ladies was competing with social hour, the multiple other clubs/sports offered at a high school of 2000 kids, homework and academic expectations, and a general disinterest. I considered taking a break from the idea as a whole, but I just couldn't. I believe in this mission too much.
I think there is wisdom in knowing when to walk away and readjust; A knowing that something has run its course. I'm learning that in all facets of my life from relationships to general life activities. I think we get stuck doing various aspects of life that are no longer bearing fruit, because to quit, insinuates failure. Quitting is not always bad. It can be quite freeing and can propel one toward a better yes and away from a life led by mindless, numbing, and meaningless obligations.
From here, I decided to take Leading Ladies to the elementary level and offer it by teacher nomination to 5th grade girls. We had our first meeting last week, and from the goose bumps that surfaced on my arms multiple times, seeing the excitement on the girls' faces, and feeling how much they were craving the message of this club, I knew I had made the right decision to carry on this passion. A wonderful teacher, Holly, has partnered with me, and this has been such a blessing. She has brought so much depth to this mission and has brought a fresh set of ideas and dreams to the table. Holly and I are going to grow along with the girls. There is beauty in us as adults partnering with a younger generation to grow and transform them and ourselves, because when it comes down to it, we are struggling with the same exact issues. The issues simply have different faces.
So many great thinkers and writers have shaped my vision for Leading Ladies and my leadership development in general. If you are interested in some of the same concepts, here is a list of works that have deeply impacted me and have refined and sharpened my focus and vision.
For those of you just now visiting the blog, here is a post that documents the development and progression of my journey and finding my purpose.
So, back to the sweet 5th grade girls who are Leading Ladies! I introduced the mission to them and their parents through a letter. They were informed that we would be focusing on the following topics:
- Helping girls thrive in the age of pressure
- Providing doable steps to living out their biggest, boldest dreams
- Discovering strengths and skills
- Learning from mistakes; Not being defined by them
- The trap of perfectionism
- The importance of servant leadership (A service project and field trip will be planned around some area of service. Details will be provided soon.)
During our initial meeting, we did just that. They entered the room tense and unsure, but with glimmers of excitement. I began the meeting with a question.
"How many of you are just plain worn out from trying to be that perfect girl?"
Hands flew up in the air, and tensions melted. They wanted more. And so we began.
Our first activity was simple though powerful. A blank sheet of paper, an easel, and painting supplies were set up for each girl. They were instructed to paint. There was only one rule: You cannot start over. We discussed what was fun and uncomfortable about the activity. They loved that there were no rules, yet they disliked how uncomfortable that felt to them at the same time. The urge to start over was there, and they said it caused them discomfort not being able to "fix" what they perceived to be a mistake. The girls learned that there is beauty in our messes and imperfections. They took creative risks, and they learned about pushing through the fear of failing and making mistakes. The activity ended with a gallery walk. The girls viewed each others' work and wrote a compliment for each painting, including their own. Beauty was found in every single painting, mistakes and all.
Here is a little gallery walk for you!
And then this happened. Y'all. Could my point have been driven home any better?! There is beauty in our mess!!