It was a woman who gave me birth (certainly one of my favorite women!).
It was a woman who taught me to read, and women who were my teachers in Kindergarten, first grade, second, and third grades. I had woman teachers for at least one subject in fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, and all the way through high school and college. Women taught me about science, math, music, writing, art, theology, and more.
My most influential teacher in school was a woman named Mrs. Evie ten Pas. She taught me lessons throughout high school about excellence in one’s work, about writing, and art, and how to be a professional performer. Some of the things most important to my core view of myself (especially my writing and speaking) were formed by the insights and instruction of this woman for the four years she was my instructor. In fact, years later, when I was a high school teacher, she was my teaching coach. Her insight, wisdom, and high expectations molded my character in the years I had the privilege to learn from her.
Some of my closest friends in high school and college and since were women. Some of my closest friends now are women.
My favorite author (I hope you know this already) is a woman: Flannery O’Connor. Her incisive awareness of human foibles and insistence on a transcendent experience awaiting us in the everyday has been transformative in my own life.
Some of my favorite theologians are women… especially Barbara Brown Taylor.
In the workplace, I’ve had the great honor of working alongside a long list of talented, amazing women whose insights, skills, and abilities have taught me a great deal. They’ve challenged me to think better, do better, and be better. I honestly can’t keep up with most of them.
I have talented, intelligent, unique and creative women in my home. I honestly don’t mind being the only guy around here.
People sometimes ask me how I define myself in regard to women’s roles, a question I find confusing, because in my life different women have fallen into different categories: mom, wife, teachers, professors, friends, co-workers, bosses, inspirations, best friend, confidantes, counselors, judges, doctors, senators, congresspeople, role models. If I had to label myself in relation to my thoughts on women’s roles, I certainly know what label I would choose: Feminist. I cannot imagine the things my woman friends and family would have accomplished if they had been treated with true equality in our society. I am astonished at how much they have accomplished regardless.
Without women (a useless mental exercise… I wouldn’t have been born), I would be illiterate, ill tempered, and unhappy.
I am deeply thankful for all the women in my life, in our society, and in the world at large.
Happy international women’s day!
I leave you with this saying (I don’t know the source):
“Here’s to strong women!