I have often been challenged to describe why it is important to empower those in our world — especially women outside of our community or country.
Women who others may believe will never live their dream or even work to their potential because of the political or cultural environment in which they live. Girls and women are constant victims of crime, are held in cultural chains that do not leave them voice, and are not equals in the world of finance or land ownership.
So — I am asked — why bother?
Before answering, I reflect on changes I have seen in the lives of those I have mentored. The confidence they developed, the liberty they found in finding their own solutions, the ability to stretch themselves to the limit and bounce back again — intact and fully empowered. I stand in awe of what they discovered within themselves and how their lives and businesses were transformed.
- More with Brenda Schoepp on the Alberta Farmer Express: Women should take measures to avoid a hard landing
Mentorship is the ability to draw out the best in an individual and help them to recognize without fear who they are and what they were born to do. Then a mentor can guide and coach them towards their self-described dreams and goals. Letting go of our perceived ideas on what the outcome or results should be of our mentoring is the first step in liberating the other to own their decisions. How can we have dignity without owning our decisions?
So when asked about why I would care about a woman far away from me — in distance, income or beliefs — I can only smile and say that all men and women, boys and girls are at some point to someone else, a symbol of hope.
Did you know that you were a symbol of hope and a guiding light to your children, community and country? This is especially true for women who are being quietly watched by girls. Marianne Williamson wrote, “As we let our own light shine we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
I am aware I cannot transform the life of another — but she can transform her life if she knows someone cares.
I have recently been reading about children who live on the street, and their quiet and absolute desire to just be acknowledged as human beings, to have someone care that they breathe and feel. It is true that I cannot bring riches into the account of another but she can when she discovers her self-worth and works towards her net worth. The wings of self-worth create limitless opportunities. It’s true I cannot change the political landscape for every woman in every country, but I can start here at home by educating Canadian women on the power of mentorship. Let’s do this together to ensure our daughters and granddaughters are feeling great about their role in the home, on the farm and in business. And it is true that while I cannot define anyone else — I can define myself so I am not defined by another. “I am a good farmer. I am a courageous writer. I am an intense motivational speaker. I am a deeply compassionate person.”
Who are you?
Some will know the answer and for others it will take great courage to face themselves. For mentors in agriculture, we have to be there for all the boys and girls, men and women who live in our community regardless of where they are on the path and how long the journey is. If we cannot build persons, we cannot build communities and if we cannot build, communities cannot have economies.
Surely as a leader it is not only my duty but my desire to invest in people, particularly women. Why? Because I believe that empowerment changes lives, one little word, action or act of kindness at a time. Because I believe that all women are priceless. Because I believe that keeping our sisters who are in the depth of despair blocked out of human consciousness does not change one life or give a single ray of hope. Only when we care enough to be fully engaged and willing to part with some of ourselves will we empower the women who lead, feed and beautify our world.