From my front row seat

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Encouragement comes in many shapes and sizes

Years ago when I was single and my daughter was in second grade, I decided I wanted to live on a horse farm and run it myself.  Actually, the only thing I brought to the job was a love for horses and the outdoors.  Beyond that I had nothing.

So we moved to a horse farm and did it anyway.  Farmers up and down the road grumbled about how I didn't know what I was doing.  This was the topic of local gossip, usually around the table at the local market.  "She doesn't know the first thing about bush hogging or getting up hay!"  And they were so right.

But then there was my dad.  He told me from the time I was little that I could do anything I put my mind to - even be president one day.  (It wasn't until I was in my thirties that it occurred to me this was probably not going to happen.)  Did he point out to me that I knew nothing about taking on a horse farm?  Did he remind me that I had a Fine Arts degree and didn't know the first thing about running a tractor?

No.  You know what he did?  He gave me this pocketknife.  He believed in me and knew I would need it for the tremendous challenge I had taken on.  This little knife lived in my pocket every single day for the next four years.  It cut the twine off thousands of bales of hay - the ones I tossed up on the trailer behind the John Deere tractor I learned to drive.

From the day I was born I had someone encouraging me and believing in me.  But many of the women who come to Blue Monarch never had that.  In fact, they quite possibly had someone telling them they were worthless and would never amount to anything.  I can't even count the number of times I have complimented a woman on something she has done and she's tearfully responded with, "No one has ever told me anything like that."  Sadly, she's telling the truth.

Charms by Wanda Webb
Here at Blue Monarch we encourage, we believe in miracles, we affirm, we build up, and we celebrate accomplishments.  Just like my pocketknife became a symbol of courage for me, the charms we give out for significant achievements are symbols of courage for the amazing women we serve.  They are proud to wear them and proud to show them to their children.  For some, it's the first time they have completed something and have a token to show for it.
The courage it takes to willfully walk into a strange place with your children and submit to a totally new way of life in every aspect - the way you spend your time, the way you spend your money, the way you parent your children, the way you interact with others, the manner in which you resolve conflict, even the meals you feed your children - well, that takes way more courage than trying to run a horse farm when you don't know what you're doing.  And for that - I applaud the incredible women we serve.  They are truly my heroes.