Posted by: Brad Stanford | March 10, 2017

I Was Reminded Of You

I saw an amazing thing last night, and it reminded me of you.

I was at a fun little pageant that was designed to let little girls aged 5-7 dress up in beautiful fancy dresses and feel good about themselves, with friends and family cheering them on.

They get to do the pageant thing of walking the stage and having their bio read. And then, at the end of their walk, they get asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Each year, this mostly goes off without a hitch, and with some interesting responses. But tonight was a bit different.

There was one girl who was beautifully out of place. Her ethnicity was different than all the others. Although multiple ethnicities were represented, she was the only one of her background there. She looked like a storybook little girl that would grow up to be a storybook princess. Disney artists have been striving to draw someone like her for years. She was so peaceful. Her smile was charming. She had perfect posture. Everything seemed to be just right.

But when it came time for her to answer her question, something happened. Something subtle, yet profound occurred right there in front of everyone. As the MC knelt down with the microphone and started to say, “What do you want to be…,” a single, transparent tear slid down her left cheek. The MC didn’t stop, and neither did the girl. She answered the question with the same peace and poise with which she had ascended the stage.

“A dentist, so I can help people be healthy.”

She said it with an air of intelligence which communicated that all that was left was the doing. There was no wavering in her voice to mirror the tear that slid silently onto the stage. Just pure presence in the face of a difficult circumstance. It was so amazing that I immediately wanted to start a trust fund for her dentistry school. I wanted her to know that with such strength , she would be able to be whatever she wanted.

Then, I thought of you.

I thought of all that you’ve been through to get this far. I thought of that time there was no other way but to face your fear, and you did. I thought of how inspiring you are. I thought how important it is for you to be proud about who you are and what you want to be. I thought about how you usually don’t see yourself that way, but you should.

“Adult” merely describes your physical maturity level. In a universe that’s been around awhile, every last one of us is a child, exploring a world that’s always slightly different than the one our parents knew. No one has this down. Even the ones who seem to have everything together can be brought to tears if placed on a certain stage. No: this life – your life – is the first time your life has ever been lived. But learn this from a seven-year-old princess: you can make it through the tough questions, and get safely off the stage.

Then you can move on to being whatever you wish.


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