March is Women’s History Month and unless you are like Mork, the television alien from Ork, a planet where children are born middle-aged and from an egg, there is a beautiful soul somewhere responsible for your being here. The Godfather of Soul, James Brown, famously sang “It’s A Man’s World,” but even he knew that it would be “nothing without a woman or a girl.”
Please take a moment this month to reflect on the mothers, sisters, aunts, cousins, other mothers—female neighbors and friends in your life.
I am blessed to have been influenced and inspired by strong, kind, industrious women beginning with my great-grandmother. I adored her and considered her my very own “play pretty,” though she reminded me that she was an adult and not a toy. She always made time for me, showed me how to do neat tricks like peel an apple without breaking the peel, and she kept Orange Crush drinks and candy and gum in the room we shared. Whenever I was sweet, she’d reward me from her stash.
Dementia eventually robbed me of her companionship, but I am more patient and kind because of her and the time we spent together. Her daughter, my great-aunt who raised (I really was raised, not reared) me, and my mother were amazing in their own right. As a young woman they taught me to respect myself and others, to make do or do without, to be independent, and to have my own money and other important stuff. Likewise, I’ve tried to pass these lessons along to my daughter and granddaughters.
I’ve been blessed to have amazing women—young and old—as mentors and friends and the older I get, the more I understand that I must pay my dues. The older women taught me to simply enjoy being –not doing, not planning, but being–still, quiet, content—just plain old being. They’ve shown me great value in lifelong learning, in careful and active listening, in treasuring the things that matter, and learning from my mistakes.
The young women inspire me with their big dreams, lofty goals, take no prisoners approach, and their resilience. They conquer worlds we never knew existed or could dream of. Today’s young women are making, shaping, and turning history on its head by breaking barriers and moving mountains out of their way.
Because of these brave souls who were the “first” in all kinds of arenas, little girls really can be and see far because of women like Lima Justine Howard Palmer of Paris, Tennessee, who served in the all-African American/all-female. 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion.
This unit is credited with solving a mail crisis in England during World War II and though mostly unknown, this historic group is finally being recognized with a Congressional Gold Medal. The Six Triple Eights, as they came to be known, was tasked with sorting and routing millions of pieces of mail for American service members and civilians.
I am delighted when some woman becomes or achieves a “first” at doing something great, but I am also encouraged that there are still a million things that women haven’t done yet. This year during Women’s History Month, take a minute to thank and celebrate the women who nurtured, cared for, set you on the right path, and made you the person you are, and, while you’re at it, donate some money to their favorite cause or one that supports women, girls and their dreams and aspirations. Not just this month, every month.
Looking for inspiration, empowerment, uplift, straight talk, an encouraging word to brighten your day? You’ve arrived! Meet Dr. Cynthia Ann Bond Hopson, best-selling author, educator, inspirational speaker, sistergirl–she’s all that and more. Now listen to her new podcast, “Three Stores, Two Cotton Gins, One Remarkable Life: The Journey from There To Here,” and meet her favorite family and friends as they share laughter and heartwarming life lessons. Look for it on this page or wherever you get your favorite podcasts.