This I Believe

Clare - Shorewood, Wisconsin
Entered on September 18, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in strong women. Now being a 17-year-old girl, it is hard to figure out exactly what a strong woman is. My generation has taken its fashion and behavior cues from women like Brittany Spears and Paris Hilton for as long as I can remember. Lucky for me I have been surrounded by intelligent, beautiful, kind and, independent women my entire life who have taught and continue to teach me what it means to be a strong woman everyday. For starters my 5”1 French Canadian grandmother is one of the wisest and most intelligent women I know, but not in the conventional sense. She raised her family of four children on about 200 dollars a week and ensured that they all received a college education although she never did herself. Now she takes joy in her children’s success and her grandchildren everyday, and she never forgets to enjoy life. She has taught me the importance of modesty, the joy of reading and given me innumerable hugs and kisses, whether I deserve them or not. For that I thank her.

My best friend, Giulia is only seventeen, but everyday she amazes the people around her. She is never afraid to stand up for what she believes in, even if no one else agrees with her, and she has taught me to do the same. Her cultural background and her family are two of the most important things to her in the world and she isn’t afraid to show it. She has taught me to take pride in what I do and who I am even if it’s different than everyone else around me. For that I thank her. The most important woman in my life is also the strongest, my mom. Her job is to teach women and girls to be strong. She works as victim advocate, she also gives talks to young girls all over the state about finding their voices and standing up for themselves. She shows passion and conviction in everything she does. To my brother and I she is an incredible mother who helps us through every step of life without being overbearing or controlling. My mom has taught me to love the people around me, to believe in myself no matter what, and to finish things that I have started even when they are hard. For that I thank her. These and so many more women and girls have shaped my life and who I am today. I can only hope that every girl has strong women like these in their lives.

Strong women come from all races, all ethnicities and all backgrounds, you can never be sure where another will appear. But one thing is for certain, strong women will change this world. This I believe.