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I grew up in Wyoming, in a family with brothers and a sister, who didn’t feel the need to pigeonhole any of us into stereotypes.
Now as an adult, I’m so thankful for that. It meant that I grew up being equally comfortable playing in the dirt, chasing lizards and snakes, wearing pretty dresses, and aspiring to be a princess. As a teen, I learned how to do makeup, and how to change a tire.
My favorite job ever, outside of the one I’m doing right this second, was a summer hire position at a Trona Mine & Plant in Wyoming. My Dad worked there for eons, and if you worked hard and received great grades you could apply for one of the coveted high paying college summer positions. I was accepted and placed to work in one of the plants. I was the only female in the entire building, but I absolutely loved it. I loved the work and I loved my hilarious co-workers, who were all my Dad’s age or older. This dirt playing girl was thrilled to put on a hard hat, go around into dirty and dangers areas to collect samples, and then after a 12-hour shift to go shower, put on some perfume, and rush off on a date with my sweetheart (now hubby.)
Because, beautifully and thankfully, I always grew up knowing that Strength Has No Gender™. I pursued the play and work that delighted me, not the paths that I felt forced into. As a result, I was blessed to experience the challenges and rewards of a full time, Trona Plant, male-dominated job.Now I’m also blessed to experience the totally different, yet equally challenging and rewarding career as a part-time work-from-home writer and marketer.
Strength is not just physical. It reaches across boundaries. It’s the emotionally challenging push that gets you through that grueling final in college. It’s the bravery that allows you to tackle a career field that you love but is uncharted territory for you and those around you. It’s getting up with a colicky baby for the 10th time that night. It’s reaching that career goal you’ve been working towards for years. It’s being there for those that you love. It’s reaching out your hands, time, resources, and genuine concern to those in need.
The fact that Strength Has No Gender™ is a beautiful truth. It encourages us to delight in the success stories of others, and be inspired by them.
Which is exactly how I felt when I saw this Strength Has No Gender™ video that was put together by Brawny®. I adore this campaign and their mindset behind it. The Strength Has No Gender™ campaign highlights the inspirational stories of everyday women in cities across America who have been breaking down barriers in traditionally male-dominated industries and changing the world as a result!
We all love Eric Solie, the original Brawny® man, but at the same time, it’s awesome that they’re letting him “step aside” and share the platform with these inspiring women! To do this they’re featuring this fun, exclusive to Walmart, limited-time Strength Has No Gender™ pack. This package is the Brawny® Pick-a-Size 8 Giant Plus, which is perfect since it’s the size we use and love in our family already! Because Brawny® can help tackle giant, strong messes at home, they were inspired to take that same focus and encourage and inspire all their customers to extend it into every area of their lives.
Speaking of family, one of the areas that I need to be strong in the most, right now, is parenting! I’m discovering as we tiptoe into the tween years that while parenting in the early years is physically exhausting, parenting in these years is emotionally exhausting! It takes real strength to allow your children to discover and become who they are meant to be.
I wanted to bless my kids with the same freedom I was given as a child. Last fall Amber had the option to pick an after school program. The writer in me was immediately interested in the storytelling and writing programs. Wanting her to choose for herself, though, I gave her the sheet to look over and to tell me which sounded fun. To my surprise, she chose Chess Puzzle. Not simply just teaching the kids how to play the game, Chess Puzzle makes them learn strategy, memorize terms, and the competition they have is a paper and pencil test that includes a series of chess boards with pieces in particular positions. It is great for developing strengths in the STEM fields!
The first day after practice the door opened and out swarmed our entire city’s 3rd and 4th grade hoard of boys, and a gentle trickle of girls. Amber climbed into the car smiling, and declared she had “lots of fun”. Before the Christmas break they took a test to cut the team down to less than half, and happily Amber made the cut! This time the swarm of kids at pickup was smaller, and now only Amber and two girls remained in the sea of boys.
The final test cut both grades, 4th, and 3rd, down to two tiny teams of just four kids each. These would represent our entire school district in a competition with other cities and their top Chess Puzzle Students. Amber diligently practiced to prepare for the day. The test came, and the next day we waited anxiously for the results. That morning I got the call that she had made the team–the only girl to do so!
She was all smiles and bouncing excitement!
The competition was the past Saturday, and I’m so excited to share that her 3rd grade team placed 2nd overall, with all the different teams from her school putting them into 1st place for the regional meet!
Throughout this all she’s never stopped to think much about the fact that she was one of the only girls, or had any extra challenges or hurdles to overcome because of it. Like me, in my childhood, right now she’s able to happily accept the fact that Strength Has No Gender™ because it’s just a truth.
A beautiful, wonderful truth.