Raising girls in this world is scary. It seems like there are dangers lurking around every corner. When our little ones are born, we (perhaps just the paranoid “we”) make visitors take showers in anti-bacterial ointment before they hold our 8 pound miracles in pink, lest they carry any illness to them. Then comes crawling where every small item within reach becomes a choking hazard and our nightmares consist of marbles appearing out of nowhere. Toddlerhood brings fear of outlets and sharp corners for kids running at the speed of light with their unbalanced bobble-heads.
As they grow, our fears of roaming bikes into streets during elementary years change to roaming the halls with the wrong crowd. We don’t like our girls alone with, well, anyone, lest they get hurt or even worse – taken. Experimenting with sex, partying, depression, and disrespect are the topic of many late-night prayers of the parents of teens. Midst all their privileges, choices and love from others, our girls still struggle and even the best parents can have kids drowning before they reach adulthood and motherhood of their own (lest pregnancy comes too early).
The contrast shocks the system, as one enters into the different roadblocks facing girls in countries of poverty through World Vision’s online journey “Walking with the World’s Women.” It is hard to even step into the cultures that don’t value the birth of a girl at all, let alone the statistics of child mortality that faces them until they are 5. The lack of safety, the push to early marriage and work for girls who just want to go to school baffle us as we feel like the caged parrot forever repeating our desires for our girls to not settle for anything but the best in education and marriage. And the list goes on and on, regarding the differences in the worlds of our girls… and how much we need each other.
While I am grateful for yet another tool to be educated on the vast issues facing girls internationally, especially in the wake of the 2nd annual celebration of the International Day of the Girl, I am grateful more for another thing. I am grateful that the girl on the other side of the world, who is grateful for blessing, sees purpose in education and wake her society up to the value of a girl. For she speaks to the girls in our country – to their life of gratitude, their purpose in education and their same incredible value, as a girl.
by Anna Goodworth