By: Rachel Lastinger, Guest Blogger
Growing up, I often heard the term World-Changers, referring to a group of fearless and determined people who made it in the headlines by doing awesome things for the good of humanity. My favorite quote has always been Ghandi’s “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” From a young age, I was determined to be one of those world-changers I read about.
I don’t know if it was the sense of adventure I felt behind those words or because I was raised by a father who empowered me and a mother who taught me compassion and how to love others well, but I was determined. It took me actually going out into the world to realize that I had the wrong view of what it meant to be a world-changer. You see, I thought it meant that I was entering into a broken world and changing it. Sometimes this might be the case. Sometimes, you might be the one making changes but I also think that being a world changer means you are often the one that comes alongside the people who will make the changes.
I live in Ethiopia right now where part of my job is to mentor young women in university. I sit down with these women each week and talk through fears, struggles, or excitements in their lives. These are the women will change their world, not me. They will stand up for women’s rights and change the female oppression in their country. Their ability to do this is clear in every conversation we have.
Yet, they often don’t feel empowered to be the change they can be. Their lack of empowerment causes a lack of action. They see the issues in their country and have ideas but don’t believe they can go forth with those ideas. I like to tell them differently and I love when they believe it. Once they are empowered and given a push, then they will act and will start change.
I may not be on the front lines of change right now. I think I’m back at the control center telling my lead soldiers to move and strike. In the end, though, when the victory is won, I will have been a part of world changing awesomeness.
Maybe no one will know. That’s ok with me. My job wasn’t to be the act of change, it was to start the change by empowering these young women. Sometimes being a world-changer just means encouraging and supporting those around you. Your name may not make the headlines, but you’ll have made a huge impact. You’ll have been an initial part of the change.
I still love Ghandi’s quote but I think my quote would be “be the change and empower the change you wish to see in the world.”
Empower your friends. Empower your neighbors. Empower the random girl you meet on the street. Who knows what change that empowerment might bring.
Let's chat! How will you empower others to change the world? Tell us here!
Rachel is a graduate of Oklahoma State University where she studied Political Science/ International Studies. She now lives in Ethiopia where she works for an organization that invests in Ethiopian university students, mentoring and empowering them. She is a strong advocate for empowering the next generation of women and fighting for their rights, traveling, dance parties, reading, a good cup of tea, and Parks and Recreation.
image via youthventure