March is National Women’s History Month in the United States, so in honor of the many magnificent women who came before us, I present these 10 lessons for our personal reflection today:
- Moment by moment, wherever we are is where we need to be. We learn this comforting lesson from Spanish mystic, philosopher, and saint, Teresa of Ávila (1515–1582). She assures us, “Trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.”
- American social reformer and feminist Susan B. Anthony (1820–1906) said, “Cautious, careful people always casting about to preserve their reputations . . . can never effect a reform.” The lesson here is that to make change, we must take action despite what others may think of us.
- We learn the truth that there is strength in faith from brave women such as African-American abolitionist and humanitarian Harriet Tubman (1820–1913), whose unwavering faith is displayed in these beautiful words: “I said to de Lord, ‘I’m goin’ to hold steady on to you, an’ I know you’ll see me through.”
- Physicist and chemist Marie Curie (1867–1934) tells us: “Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.” Her legacy leaves us with this message: Confidence and perseverance, despite difficulties, are keys to attainment.
- An everyday task can be a noble task. No one knew this better than American author, political activist, and lecturer Helen Keller (1880–1968), who is quoted as saying, “I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they are great and noble.”
- Roman Catholic missionary Mother Teresa (1910–1997) dedicated her life to selfless service. Her suggestion that “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one” reminds us that every little bit counts.
- African-American Civil Rights activist Rosa Parks (1913–2005) teaches us that fear arises from uncertainty with these words: “I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.”
- Peace can be found in simplicity is an important lesson learned from the incredible woman and peace activist who called herself Peace Pilgrim (1908–1981). She said, “The simplification of life is one of the steps to inner peace. A persistent simplification will create an inner and outer well-being that places harmony in one’s life.”
- “Standing in the middle of the road is very dangerous; you get knocked down by the traffic from both sides,” said former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Margaret Thatcher (1925–2013). I believe she is suggesting to us that it is a good idea to have an awareness of where we stand on an issue.
- We have greatness within. Thank you to diarist Anne Frank (1929–1945), a young victim of the Holocaust, who left behind such incredible wisdom for one so young. She said, “Everyone has inside him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!”
Thank you to these beautiful souls and to every woman who has made differences great and small. You are showing us the way. I honor you.