I write this letter to women, firstly those in the American culture, and next to my sisters in Christ all over the world. I recognize and take responsibility for my own life’s story and experiences. None of the following advice is said to infringe upon your unique story. On the contrary, I write to exhort and encourage you.
- My great grandmother was part of a generation of women who chose to march in favor of the right to vote in America.-
- My grandmother was part of a generation of women who went into the workforce while men were overseas fighting in WWII.
- My mother is the daughter of a woman who survived the death of her first husband in a small farm community out West. Mom was told the one thing that could never be taken from her was a college education (something that proved equality and promised a way to overcome poverty). She is part of the first generation of women who attended college believing they could major in whatever they wanted.
I am a woman in a generation that has realized these things have come to pass yet still the culture of equality has not yet been built.
So how many generations does it take to build a new cultural framework?
I want to beseech you to build a culture that recognizes men and women are equal yet different. I will lend my voice to the boundary lines that create equality with respect, but not to building more anger and hate. We cannot fight hate with hate.
With the rise of emotional intelligence courses, I think the “Me too” movement is timely. Suddenly there is space to communicate and process pain with sexual mistreatment in the workplace. I am not shocked by these conversations, and I am aware that I cannot carry the pain of someone else. Yet, I do not think this is the only pain needing to come into the light.
How many men are trapped in pornography because of the culture we’ve built? How many women have gender wounds besides the sexual kind? How many men wonder the true meaning of being a man? How many marriages are totally and equally fulfilling?
We cannot legislate the word “equal” without creating new problems to solve.
Women, when you are devalued what is the easiest thing to do and what is the right thing to do? Doesn’t it take longer to politely and kindly disagree? Doesn’t it take longer to educate rather than defend? Truly, if we do nothing another generation will know the same pain.
Unforgiveness is casting a glow on how we see men and how men see us.
In the courage it takes to have these conversations, can we keep leaning into relationship and connection rather than allowing hate to divide us in the fight to be right?
If you are an educator, come with me in creating a new culture by considering training children to process not only emotional intelligence, but cultural intelligence, and gender intelligence. Every child is different. How about we educate and introduce our students to who they were uniquely created to be?
If you are a parent, come with me in creating a new culture by recognizing that your kids are not you. Can you help your kid have the tools to say no to things that are wrong even if that means saying no to you? Please respect and recognize that season of life where men become men and women become women. Some cultures have quests for boys to be initiated into manhood. Please have the conversation about sex in that this experience should never be what initiates adulthood.
If you attend church, or if you don’t and you just love Jesus, come with me in creating a new culture. With every new trend that comes into the light, there is also a move of the Holy Spirit. Why is the Me Too movement coming to light? What does the Holy Spirit want to do?
What if the first hurdle in being equal is being whole? Healing can only come when we bring our pain into the light and own the process it takes to walk out of it. No one is strong enough to do this alone.
We all entered a story where the culture we were created to live inside of is not what we awakened to. No one knows what is true, real, and right. Is it cruel to have no blueprint? Is it cruel of religion to place rules on what is best? Is it cruel of genetics to deal you a certain hand?
No one gets to tell you who you are and what you can and cannot do. You alone get to decide that, and sometimes that is a far more dangerous thing.
I am writing to you with the hope that the next ten years can be different because we started the long process of admitting our pain, forgiving the past and forgiving ourselves.
Finally, I am sorry for the way you have had to fight to know your true self and be it unashamedly in our world today.”
Kalli Hendrickson is a Press Service International young writer from Brisbane and now in the USA.
Kalli Hendrickson was born in the beautiful State of Montana, USA. I graduated with a double Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art and Art Education (K-12). I helped found the Meeting Place Café for Youth with A Mission, Brisbane Australia. Currently I work for a local church doing Graphic Design, and am a part time art, design and marketing teacher. My passions include creativity and championing young people to be developed into their God given identity and potential. Rest looks like a good book, dinner parties with friends, or a good coffee spot.