A LOLLIPOP GIRL!!!???!!!! My eyes quickly shift to her mother who is obviously mortified. The giggles from the audience ring out. An Around The Way Girl? Returning my attention to the five-year-old, I wonder if she understood the question. There she stands so innocently smiling, ignorant to her naiveté. The teacher is noticeably uncomfortable. She simply asks the next student the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Excuse me little “Black” girl, we need to talk.
What’s going on? No really, what is happening? What messages are you receiving–about yourself, about women, about life? What television shows are you watching? What music do you hear? What conversations do you overhear? What messages fill your head?
When you play, what do you pretend to be? When I was your age, I played with dolls and teddy bears. They were my students. I was the teacher.
What! You don’t play with dolls? Teddy bears neither? Really?
Well, when did that get old?
Let me tell you a story. Last week my assistant told me that every day, several times throughout the day, she sees a woman walking by the window. One day, this woman approached my assistant’s friend and asked to be his lollipop girl. He said, “No.” Then, another man walked by and she asked him the same question. Again and again, she did this–all day, each day. Sometimes she would walk up to men sitting in cars. Sometimes she would get inside the cars, but not long afterwards she would be seen walking down the street. Every man does not say, “No”. The woman, however, always looks really tired. Still, she continues to walk up and down the street like she is on a mission—all day, back and forth, forth and back. She walks. She walks to find a yes, only to walk some more. Does that sound like something you want to do when you grow up?
Listen to me.
Ask your parents to take you to the library. Ask them to check out books for you. Fall in love with books. Look at the pictures. Listen to the stories. Study the letters. Read the words. Understand their arrangement. Books are treasures to be valued.
Allow your mind to crave knowledge. Imagine unwritten success stories about your life. Can’t you see you winning? I can!
There will be times when your feet will hurt. They will feel like you have walked for days. People will see you and know you are on a mission. Along the way, you will hear more noes than you will care to count. Do not become discouraged. The yeses you receive will be well-worth it.
Listen. They say lollipop girls are the world’s oldest professionals. Although that is not true, you will show the world that you are no sucker. Little girl, go get ’em! I’m rooting for you!