“What are you grateful for?” This was the one question that came while playing a card game (“More Than One Story”) with two friends of mine.
It was one of my friends turn to answer. She shared she was grateful for a trip she made to Mozambique to visit her family (she lives in Portugal). Her mother and her mother’s friends, for time to time donate financial aid to a certain public high school. During her stay in Mozambique, her mother asked if she wanted to visit the school. While visiting one of the classrooms, field with teens, my friend was caught by surprise when her mothers’ friend asked her to talk to the students and share something about her or her life in Europe. She had no time to prepare and her first thought was: “What could I possibly share with them?” She started by introducing herself and instead of sharing something about her experience she started off by asking them a few questions.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”. After a few answers she quickly realized that their life’s perspective didn’t go beyond their parents. In other words, for them, the opportunities life had for them, were exactly the ones their parents had/have. For instance, one teen said “I want to be a construction worker.” and when my friend asked him why, he said “Because my father is one.” At this point she said: “You know, there is no problem on being a construction worker. But you can also have a company that does the constructions.”. She made sure they wouldn’t get the idea she was undermining their dreams but widening them instead. Showing them that there are other options, other opportunities, other choices.
And choices are choices, we need to respect that. But a choice is only a choice when we can choose between one or the other. When we know there are other options. My friend only made sure that from that day on, they knew that there are other opportunities. Regardless of their background, at least now they know there are choices and opportunities beyond the ones they were aware by then. We cannot strive for something we don’t know.
She hopes she was able to broaden their views, widen their life goals. Their life’s perspective.
I believe that conversations are powerful. That is the reason why I decided to share this story. Conversations can change ideas, shape minds and inspire movements. By engaging in conversations you can do the same. Questions can trigger thoughts. Questions trigger curiosity. You my friend, can be the one asking these questions.
To change minds and help others in need, you don’t need big means. A little bit of your time is all you need. Share what opportunities are out there.
My friend went to that school, engaged with the students, understood their reality, and shared her vision of the world with them. A vision that they can be part of. A vision where they are the chess players and not the chess pieces.
Next time you engage in a conversation, what questions will you ask?
Lerio & Miguel
P.S: Stay tuned for next Monday’s Video!