Last December, I wrote the article, "Let's Ban Weddings, and While We're at it, Baby Showers, Too" for the Huffington Post, which a couple of million people read and many agreed with. It's time to celebrate female achievements other than getting married and having children.
This weekend, a few dozen people sent me this video, and I have to say, I am in love with it! All of my dreams about what college can and should be for young women come true in this one small moment from a total stranger's life. Watch, and you'll see what I mean:
Let me just share all of the things I love about this:
- The whole family is gathered, because this is a very big deal, and no one is going to miss it.
- Dad has driven her back and forth to this school multiple times.
- Mom tells her teenage son that he's next to go to college.
- Typical little brother, he says, "If you can get in, I can get in."
- Typical big sister ignores him completely.
- Mom wants them to stop and pray, but the kids are too invested in the outcome (getting into the sciences program at a dream school) to do that.
- Mom tells the youngest kid (hiding under the table) to behave, because, "You're gonna go through this moment." In other words, every kid in this family is fully expected to go to college, and they all have to honor the one who's paving the way -- the big sister that they clearly all look up to.
- In the moment of truth, a very real moment for millions of kids across the country this month, the girl-of-the-hour can't look, and turns to her younger brother for help.
And then... well, you've seen what happens after that.
What better celebration can there be of a young person's accomplishment than sharing it with the world? What better response from the world than our wholehearted joy and support?
If you get a chance, leave a comment on this video -- on all the college acceptance videos -- thanking these great kids for all the hard work they've done to make it this far, and congratulating them, not only for this achievement, but for all the others to come. Drown out the negative nitwits, who always feel the need to show up in threads like these and make their own lack of significance known.
And if a young person in your life is college-bound, make a big deal of it! Have an Acceptance Dinner, throw a College Shower to give her everything she needs (sheets, towels, a backpack, the right clothes if she's moving to a new climate, gas cards if she's staying in state, frequent flier miles if she's not, a jar of quarters for laundry, parking or vending machines). Pair that teenage matriculant with an older, college-grad family member to be a mentor, confidant and friend -- someone to turn to if things get tough and talking to mom or dad isn't an option. There are so many ways to support our young people as they take the first steps towards taking over the world.
Together, let's lift them up. They deserve it, and it will pay off for all of us in the long run -- in abundance.
Valerie Alexander is an author, speaker and screenwriter, who has taught at U.C., Berkeley and the Berkeley Law School. She frequently speaks at colleges, film schools and trade organizations with her powerful, practical talk, How Women Can Succeed in the Workplace (Despite Having "Female Brains"). Valerie is the author of Happiness as a Second Language, a #1 Seller on Amazon in both the Happiness and Self-Help categories. For more information, please visit SpeakHappiness.com. For more by Valerie on Huffington Post, click here.
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