Friday, May 30, 2014

Slow Down, Breathe and Reflect

How Does One Make History?

                                           After all the rain, a rainbow appears above Boston.

Today, Delegates and Student Ambassadors alike embarked on a trolley tour around Boston. This tour was one of two particular events that really allowed everyone to bond together. The first activity today was a dance in which we all learned a few easy steps to a dance led by a faculty member. I did not catch her name but she was delightful and everyone really enjoyed themselves.

As we rode through the city, we passed Columbus Park and our driver, John, told us the story of why there are 104 roses planted there. He told us that President John F. Kennedy's mother, Rose F. Kennedy, lived to be 104 years old (wow!) so 104 flowers are planted in her honor. This got me thinking, how does one make history?

This question does not have a definitive answer, but as we drove through Boston, I thought about it. History books most commonly document white men who have made an impact, whether it be positive or negative. Women and minorities are mostly excluded from the history books and, depending on the region in which the history book is published, there are biases in how history is reported. For example, in history books that were published in southern states of the United States, the Civil War is referred to as the War of Northern Aggression. I found this to be particularly interesting. In my opinion, reporting history through various lenses can sometimes divide a society. However, it is important to have other perspectives on history to understand the depth and influence of events. 

Having said this, a big theme that has come up in many of our sessions at Mount Holyoke College and Simmons College is women's role in history. We have talked about how women are just breaking the surface in their ability to make an impact on society. However, this is not to say that there are not plenty of women who have made incredible contributions to society during ages that were not as accepting of women in society.

Women have been climbing up the ladder, whether it be corporate or personal, for many years and they will only continue in this upwards direction. I have no doubt in my mind that women will continue to make progress in the world to change societal norms that exclude women from public service. 

Therefore, it is important that more women become involved in public service to both promote and mentor younger women to further other generations of women leaders. If more women become involved in public service, we can change the history books. No longer will history books be overcrowded with the faces of men. Instead, the history books will include, and have already begun to include strong women leaders who are paving the way for younger women leaders. 

As a disclaimer, I am a feminist who believes in equality for women, but I do not place the blame on men. As a society, we all have to work towards equality and to do this, we cannot just blame the opposite sex and expect to achieve our goal. We need to work together and this is something that is already starting to happen at both local and state levels.

At the end of the day and even during the day, it is important to step back and reflect on what you see. For me, I periodically do this because of my love of writing and poetry. But this act of reflection is a good habit to get into because it allows you to begin to appreciate the world and the people around you, or at least it has had this effect in my own experience. 

Also, sometimes reflections come to people at various times of the day. For me, I am most creative at night, or rather 12:45 a.m. today if I want to be exact... What I have learned is that I should not take my time in this life for granted and I think that is something we can all live by. (Also, I promise that this is not my application to become a preacher. ;) )

Goodnight (or technically good morning) and don't forget to look for the often times hidden rainbows in life.

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