Can inspiration be found in a simple gesture?
On Sunday, I zipped towards the Expressway on a 4-lane highway. To my left, a preteen girl sat in the backseat of a car slowly passing me. Her eyes were fixed on me, the lady on the motorcycle. I smiled and waved and she lit up with excitement.
As the car crept away, she craned around the headrest and watched me. What went through her mind?
When I hear about campaigns targeted at empowering other women to ride, I confess, my gut reaction is often, “that’s dumb. Why do I need to tell someone they are capable of doing something when it’s so obvious?”
But, maybe I’m completely wrong
I am. I’m wrong.
Empowerment campaigns aren’t dumb. They are obviously necessary and work well for people. Day in and day out, environmental and social factors play a part in shaping our minds. If nothing positive goes in, it’s likely nothing positive will come back out.
Many people aren’t exposed to positive or even neutral ideas about riding a motorcycle. Not only that, their own capabilities or life’s possibilities can be downplayed. There are people who have to wrestle with undoing years of negative programming in order to reach for their dreams.
I guess obvious isn’t so obvious, after all.
Some people won’t know that they can learn to ride a motorcycle until someone else gives them a shove. They need to hear someone say, “you’ve got this.” That’s what these empowerment campaigns do.
Lead by Example
I imagined that the girl in the window was excited by the idea of riding a motorcycle. And doubly excited to see it done by a woman. And then triply excited that if a woman, a grown-up version of herself, is doing it then she can do it, too.
Is that empowerment by example? I didn’t say or do anything special. I was just myself. Is that enough?