By Ke’Ana Lampkins
There’s something special about making space for gratitude. At every graduation I’ve ever been to, they always give parents, support persons, and teachers a moment to be recognized. As the student, you did the work but we would be fooling ourselves if we thought we did it alone.
Maybe it was the encouraging words from your mom that kept you pushing through that 15-page essay that you started the night before it was due. Or maybe it was your professor that spent hours trying to help you understand statistical equations so you could pass an exam. Either way, we’ve all had help that should be recognized.
I’ve had a lot of help in my life. Some of which, I don’t know if I would be where I am without them. But I’ve also had some great influences and motivators in my life that helped me to believe that I was more than what I currently was. Think about your life, and think about those women who made you feel like you could do anything. They deserve to be acknowledged.
For me, that very first woman who made me feel this way was my mom. Of course, I loved her for several reasons, because duh…she was my mom! But my mom was IT in my eyes. Even as a young girl who didn’t know much about politics, I knew she was important. My mom worked in politics during a time where it was saturated with men (well, it still is). What became most apparent was that if my mom wasn’t around the place was always on fire. Someone always needed to talk to her, ask her questions, or seek her input. As I said, I didn’t know much about politics but I knew they needed her. When I found out she also studies her passion, art, it blew my mind. My mom was very gifted in interior design, ceramics responsible for donning the shelves of my aunts and uncles. She was a woman with many talents, and she made me feel like I could be anything in the world.
I’ve also had a lot of encouragers and mentors in my life. I don’t know where I would be without my sisters and my best friends. I think every girl knows how important it is to have someone they can just vent to. I think only a few women know how important it is to have a friend to pick you up and push you towards your goal. I remember talking about life after high school and achieving goals as a young girl. I believe you are who you surround yourself with and I’m so blessed to have a great set of achievers surrounded me.
And of course, we all have those powerhouses in our lives who just make us want to be great. I remember I had a teacher in middle school who took no mess. She wanted your best, and she pushed you to it. I’ll never forget the lessons she taught us about our heritage and where we come from. She wanted us to be great, and we knew it. I thank God for teachers like her, who didn’t just come to work to collect a check. She went above and beyond to ensure our excellence.
I think it’s important to take a look at the women who are in your circle. The ones you vent to, the ones who encourage you, and even the ones you don’t like. It’s important for us to stick together, and to learn from one another. We need those who have come before us to show us the way, just like we need to lend a helping hand to those after us.
Who are the trailblazers in your life? Who are your mentors and motivators? Who are those who influence you to be great and move you towards your passions in life? Whoever she is, thank her for helping you get to where you are today.
To all the women who have invested in me, taught me, and moved me to be greater, I wouldn’t be here without you. To the friends and family who loved me and supported me when I needed it most, thank you. And to those who came before me, and made me want to be great, I will do my best to make you proud.
Ke’Ana Lampkins is a contributing writer for The Pedestal Project, LLC. Ke’Ana is a Christian, wife, and mother dedicated to empowering young girls and women through counseling, mentorship, and education. Connect with her on Instagram @Beautifully_Yanni.