For three years my family lived in southeast Asia – first in Singapore and then in Jakarta, Indonesia. My dad worked contracts in the semi-conductor industry and we had some amazing experiences as a family. (I’m the youngest girl pictured at the left.)
However, I was awkward and clumsy – growing fast and becoming taller than nearly everyone else, (even the grown men of Jakarta) and even if that hadn’t been the case, let’s face it, it’s a tough age, anyway.
I also felt different because of my religious background, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in a community almost completely Muslim.
But religious diversity was the least of my insecurities. In fact, my best friend was the daughter of a Hindu mother and a Jewish father, and I was able to learn about some of the traditions of those cultures as well.
(I believe it was during this time that I began to appreciate religious and cultural diversity. I learned that truth seekers cling to truth wherever they find it, and prefer to build on beliefs they share with others rather than argue about disagreements.)
Anyway, my insecurities really stemmed from the common concern among young women that they are ugly, or not cool enough, or not likable. Even the most beautiful of young women tend to think they aren’t beautiful enough.
The good news is that something else happened when I was 12.
It was one of the best things my parents could have done for me at the age when I was searching for my self-worth…
They gave me the opportunity to hear motivational speakers tell me how amazing and wonderful I was, to show me the beauty inside of me, so that when I returned to school and had the popular girls making fun of my clothing (or red hair or height or whatever), I had an inner assurance that said I had value, no matter what.
It was a summer church camp called, “Academy for Girls”. Even though it was primarily for girls in my church, my best friend (with her Hindu and Jewish background) came with me and loved it, too.
That’s when I realized that true principles are true no matter who you are or where you come from. It sort of leveled the playing field for me and helped me realize that we have so much in common with all people around the world who view themselves as children of God.
I loved how I felt in those classes. I felt like I could accomplish anything in life.
It was right then and there that I decided I wanted to grow up and be a motivational speaker. When I was 18 I returned to the Academy as a counselor. (I’m on the ground in the picture at the right.)
Look at what a simple seed planted at age 12 can do.
The experience gave me the strength I needed to avoid peer pressure, and to develop a desire to help others feel better about themselves, too… even at the risk of ridicule from others.
Would you like that for your daughter?
Would you like to give her the advantage that can put her on a path to becoming all she can be?
Consider the “Academy for Girls” of the new generation. It’s got a different name, TIME TO BLOSSOM, and it’s only for 1 week instead of two, and instead of being at Brigham Young University in Utah, it’s at the Hilton Hotel here in Mesa, Arizona (where I live now), but one of the recent speakers is even one of the same ones who spoke to ME when I was 12!!!!
Check it out:
Tell them Leslie Householder sent you!