Michelle Obama delivered one of the most powerful and heartfelt speeches at the Democratic National Convention last week. As I listened and watched our First Lady, I couldn’t help but tear up with emotion and pride in what she has represented for so many Black women. As a wife, mother and daughter Michelle exemplifies to the country and the world the essence of what it is to be a strong, beautiful and intelligent Black woman.
Here are some lessons Michelle can teach us as we raise and empower the next generation of Black women:
1. Women are a powerful force. Women have had to fight a long time towards equality and rights. For Black women, this fight has been paved with many additional challenges and this struggle continues today. Women have had to adapt and acclimate to break through glass ceilings at work, gain the legal right to purchase a home on their own and access to opportunities more likely to be given to our male counterparts. By Michelle Obama embracing her femininity, strength and perspective she brings to the table as a woman, it has made her even more respected and acknowledged.
Lesson Learned: Women don’t have to act like a man to be strong and successful. There is incredible strength in our femininity. This is an attribute we possess which is unique to us as women.
2. Mothers create the roadmap for their daughters. Michelle Obama came from a working class family. She didn’t allow where she lived or what she may have lacked dictate her path in life. She didn’t make excuses for not succeeding. Michelle worked hard in school and her career. This mirrored what she saw in her mom and dad. Your daughter is constantly watching you and looking for cues of what’s acceptable. Often, what you do is more important than what you say because kids mirror your behavior. Look at FLOTUS and her daughters. You see two confident and focused young women. The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree!
Lesson Learned: Be the woman you want your daughter to become in her life. Be clear on the example you want to set for them. They’re watching you closely!