“Get your Girl Scout cookies here! We take credit cards!” The high pitched call of a little girl who was all of 8 or 9 years old caught my attention as I was trying to make my way from my car into Target. She was standing outside the store with another little girl and their mothers. She was unapologetic and unafraid to ask for what she wanted. As I headed to the entrance, she asked, “Do you want Girl Scout cookies? We take credit cards.” I told her I’d stop by on my way out, and I did.
Honestly, her no nonsense style intrigued me. It was a reminder of the girl I used to be before I started giving a damn about what anyone else thought. It was me before I started doing all the things I thought I should rather than following my own inner compass. So, of course, I loaded up on Tagalongs, handing over my credit card with a smile. She grinned shyly at me as I headed back to my car with my bag of cookie boxes, pleased she had successfully made a sale.
These girls are going to rule the world. Why? Because there’s something in them that is still unapologetic and just so incredibly brave. As activists, we’re working to change society so the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements can be a part of our past. The Parkland school shooting survivors are working hard to make school shootings another relic of our past, declaring that this shooting should be the last one. They’re campaigning to force the hand of lawmakers into severing ties with the NRA and advocating for making assault rifles illegal in the hands of private citizens. Our girls, in particular, are powerful- though this isn’t to say that our young, male activists are any less important.
We need this younger generation to care- to get involved, to register to vote, to be active in influencing how our politicians represent us. I heard that young voice ring out to advocate for the sale of cookies, and I couldn’t help but think how powerful their voices are right now, while they’re young. They have the ability to influence change, and they aren’t afraid to tell it like it is. They haven’t learned the filter that we have as adults from years of being told to speak when spoken to and to put everything we think through the filter of how others will react. No, these activists and advocates are speaking out because they’ve had enough. They still believe that the world can be changed.
Sometimes my generation and those that came before me are just so damn jaded about our own impact. We seem to think that the little we do is too little rather than being necessary and enough. We give up when we should never quit. We take steps back rather than moving boldly forward. We’re buffeted by resistance fatigue, and instead of resting and then heading back into the fray, we so often just surrender and accept things the way they are. And the way they are? It’s not good enough. We, as individuals, are giving up our own power because we forget that we are powerful.
But these girls? These young people? They still feel the power. They know their voices are strong. They know that they can join together and create the most amazing change simply because they put their belief to work, trying and trying to make a difference. And one day, they might learn what we’ve been taught. They might get quiet or care what others think. They might think that resistance is futile rather than necessary. But right now, they’re impassioned and emboldened to change the world.
The least I could do is hand over my credit card in exchange for a couple of boxes of cookies. It won’t change the world. But maybe she will.