VOICES: Don’t be afraid of making change happen

Credit: Knack Video + Photo

Credit: Knack Video + Photo

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who lived with her electrical engineer father, social worker mother and two brothers.

This girl was surrounded by smart individuals who taught her that nothing was impossible if you put your mind to it and that you could be anything you wanted to be.

When she was 10, her mother took her and her brothers to see Sydney Poitier in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. Her mother wanted them to know that anyone was welcome at their table and in their family, no matter their race, religion, education level, or financial situation.

That movie and conversation set her on the path to openness in all aspects of life. But it was important that little girl have a strong education to support herself and make her mark in the world.

That young woman visited several colleges, hoping to get a degree in what is now called family and consumer sciences. When she visited the dean of one university, she was told she was too smart to study this profession and should study math or science.

That comment made her more determined, because she knew that this profession was science-based with a focus on healthy people, healthy finances and healthy relationships.

That girl was me. The road to being my best has been informed by strong men and women who directed me to be outspoken, a force to be reckoned with, someone not afraid of change or making change happen.

Three quotes have guided my life:

First: “The only person who welcomes change is a baby with a wet diaper.” Without change, our lives, our world would be stagnant. So, make changes in relationships, eating habits, finances, work situations, and connections with people who are different from you. Is everything working for you? If not, change it!

Second: “You’ll always get what you’ve always got, if you always do what you’ve always done.” If you want something to be different, be the force to make it different.

Third: “Never compromise your values, morals, or ethics.” Then you will not be impacted negatively by others who criticize you for standing up for others or speaking out for social justice and rights for everyone.

Change is a way of life. Accept it willingly or fight it. All leaders can make change, guide change, move change forward in a healthy and appropriate direction.

It’s important to gain leadership skills early in life, to become a change agent. Many youth organizations help young people gain those skills. The YWCA’s Girls LEAD! program is one great example.

Leaders are around us and inside us. Change may mean changing something or even someone in your life. It might hurt at first, but the results can be positive. Don’t be afraid to try something different, to be a change agent. Positive things can happen.

Christine Olinksy is a retired OSU Extension Family and Consumer Sciences educator.

YWCA Women of Influence

On Thursday, March 10, YWCA Dayton honored eight women during its 2022 Women of Influence awards luncheon. To commemorate Womens History Month, Ideas & Voices partnered with the YWCA to share some of the speeches given at the event.

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