KASOA, Ghana –
I used to be one of those people who drenched my pancakes in syrup.
In other words, I suffocated my thoughts, passions, and dreams in order to breathe the realistic ideas and goals that others had for me. I am thankful that I was aware of this early on in my life because I have learned to listen to my heart and act accordingly.
Have you ever been there?
I think, too, when we realize that we have to be our biggest cheerleaders, we are able to take risks and step out of our comfort zone—no matter who is supporting us. There is no such thing as a “wild ambition.” Believe. Have faith. Press forward.
I hope you find comfort in knowing that your greatest mission in life is to do the best that you can. If you do this, you live extraordinarily; for this is the fabric of our world. People will not always support your dreams; some may even envy your gifts and talents, while others will never understand you. In the confusion of it all, I have learned that you cannot let others hinder your potential. Do the best that you can, with what you have, and be confident along the way.
In Ghana, two bright-minded and educationally focused students, in Grade 6, know the importance of being your biggest cheerleader. They are eager learners who are committed to building a powerful life. Sometimes they do not feel understood by their parents and friends but this does not stop them. Despite daily hardships, they persevere with a “can-do” spirit.
One of the girls loves to write stories and is at the top of her class. She says that she is treated unfairly by her classmates, who often bring her down, but she keeps going. Sometimes her responsibilities at home distract her from the piles of schoolwork. She sometimes worries that a lack of money, thus a lack of resources to master her education, will potentially hinder her dreams. Fortunately, she is supported by loving parents who work hard just to pay the school fees. Hardship has made this girl more determined to succeed with vigor and faith. Surely, self-belief endures. Her dream is to become a medical doctor; she will get there.
Ignore the torment. Beware of your attitude. Focus on the goal.
Another girl, age 10, also in Grade 6, wants to be a lawyer in the future. She says, “If you don’t come to school, you cannot achieve your dreams. Education teaches people how to civilize.” She knows that education can create a better future for her family. Like many young girls in Ghana, she has many responsibilities at home. Raised by a single mother, she is forced to pick up extra weight. Despite any shortcoming, she says that she will continue to work hard towards her dreams and will choose friends wisely. This beautiful and courageous girl has inspired me with her authentic levity to pursue life being true to who I am.
School can be a child’s best friend. “Poverty” will not destroy these girls’ futures. Many girls in Ghana work at the market on the side; whatever they have to do to keep their dreams alive. I find it inspiring. Their work ethic is inspiring.
Friends, if you have a dream just remember that no circumstances are too big. With laser focus, keep your eye on the goal. Wait until you see what happens. I believe in you.
Your challenge this week: champion yourself first and speak boldly.
I now enjoy pancakes with just a little bit of butter, and I hope that you do, too.