Calling all middle school girls: This is for you. Yeah, your mom or an exceptionally cool aunt might see this first and forward it to you, but the following words are meant for your ears only. As you head back to school this month, accomplished women everywhere, beg you: Raise. Your. Hand.
"But I'll drop my phone."
"I hate raising my hand in class."
"I'll just email the teacher afterwards."
"I have nothing to say."
Other girls might say these things. Girls freaked by speaking aloud, afraid of looking nerdy or scared of just how high they can reach -- they might whisper these words. But you are not those girls. You -- the curious, intuitive and motivated middle school girl -- you know better.
Here are five reasons why you should raise your hand this year:
1. Raise your hand to ASK.
Ask your questions in class -- don't wait in silent hope that someone will ask them for you. Moreover, ask for help when things seem insurmountable. You are not alone -- when you need help flag down someone you trust with, yep, that outstretched hand. Answers and assistance await...#raiseyourhandtoask.
2. Raise your hand to VOLUNTEER.
See a need around you? An imbalance or an injustice? Raise your hand to make a difference. People tend to underestimate the impact middle schoolers can have -- prove them wrong. Seriously wrong. Find a cause, spark your creativity, rally your friends and get involved. The world needs you now more than ever... #raiseyourhandtomakeadifference.
3. Raise your hand IN FAVOR OF what you applaud.
Cheer someone on...it can be anyone from a teammate to a world leader. Don't be afraid to support ideas that resonate with you -- listen to that inner voice and follow it. Like minds are waiting...#raiseyourhandtojoin.
4. Raise your hand IN PROTEST OF that which you disavow.
This works both ways -- if you see or hear something that doesn't sit right with you, raise your hand to say so. Time to gather your courage and speak your mind. Clearly, thoughtfully and -- meaningful look -- respectfully...#raiseyourhandtobeheard.
5. Raise your hand to HELP THE NEXT GIRL.
You will have a lot of people mentoring you this year -- teachers, coaches or maybe that cool aunt. But you are in middle school now, and younger girls look up to you. As you achieve your own goals, raise your hand to help that next girl up. We're looking at you, role models...#raiseyourhandtolead.
Girls, as you head back to class and navigate those tricky middle school halls, keep these words in mind. Chant them like a mantra. Make them your screensaver. Whatever works. We do not ever lower our standards. We raise our hands.