The other day a friend of mine was talking to a coworker about a colleague who was leaving the company. It wasn’t entirely surprising, honestly. He hadn’t been with the company for more than 6 months, and in the short time he was there he struggled with quite a few things, and even more with people.
Primarily, he didn’t understand the company, the company’s products nor the company’s culture. This is a deadly trifecta for someone in leadership, so it just wasn’t exactly a startling announcement.But something he said on the way out was surprising. He was commenting (in a private conversation, for the record) that the friend of mine was “just” a great engineer.
The “just” is, of course, the big kick in the shins. This person is indeed a great engineer, but in this man’s eyes they are “just” a great engineer.
I, of course, was astonished at the gall of this statement, and naturally offended for my compatriot. However, it is such a ridiculous claim that I have been amused by the naiveté and ignorance of the statement. I, as well as the colleagues and friends surrounding us, know the depth and value of this person. We know what they have contributed to the world, and we know there is more yet to come. We know the volumes of knowledge this person possesses, and to what great lengths they go to share, comfort, support and uplift those around them.
There was a card on facebook I read the other day that said, “You know who the strong women are. They are the ones you see building each other up instead of tearing each other down.” This is the kind of sentiment I would associate with this person.
“Just” a great engineer.
This is like saying Einstein was “just” a great physicist. Kirk Douglas was “just” a great actor. Ford was “just” a great engineer. Maya Angelou is “just” a great poet. Like, they could have done so much more with their lives, but they were “just” great at their profession.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
I left the workforce about 10 years ago, and I have to admit something.
I am just a housewife.
I know, it was a huge shocker to me too! I spent 12 years digging myself out of public school, a few years digging my way up and out of college, and all that time I had a job somewhere: sometimes in a real estate office, sometimes in an art gallery, sometimes as a substitute teacher for both private and public elementary schools.
So when I got to the point where Ben and I decided that I would stay home and raise our brood of kids, it was an extremely exciting venture. Kids! And a home! And now we’re homeschooling! I love it!!
However, very quickly into this new path I had the same conversation quite a few times. I would be asked what I do for a living, and I would answer…and the response was: “So, you’re “just” a housewife.”
It definitely took a few years of being kicked in the shins to start building up some thicker skin than I previously had, I’ll say that. But you know what I determined?
This is my path. I did not choose this path because it is an easy path. I did not choose this path because it was the most socially gratifying path. I did not choose this path to make headlines.
I chose this path because it is my path. It is the path that will lead our children. It is the path that will build the foundations and walls of myself as a woman.
And I choose to define myself. No small talk conversation has the authority to give me an identity of “just” a housewife. I learned years ago that you can hear people just fine. However, you are not required to accept a darn word they say.
I choose not to accept being “just” a housewife.
I choose to be an AMAZING housewife. I choose to do INCREDIBLE things with my children’s education. I choose to reject the ideas that what I have chosen to do is belittling to my station in life. Those ideas are naive and ignorant, and the people who believe them fail to see the endless possibilities available. As a housewife I have no contracts binding me, I have no library of endless knowledge shut to me, and I have 24 hours in the day to conquer life. This is a good place to be, my friends.
“Those who lead inspire us… Whether they are individuals or organizations, we follow those who lead not because we have to but because we want to.” ~Simon Sinek
The point of being an excellent wife, mother, woman is to be the inspiration. Goodness knows, I’ve been inspired by some pretty incredible people. I would love to inspire others to do something meaningful, something that will change the world. I am starting with my children.
“Poor leaders push us towards the goal. Great leaders guide us through the journey.” ~Simon Sinek
Keep your eye on the journey, and leave the “just” to the fools.