Find Your Voice. Stand Behind It. Change the World.
I am a woman who has both struggled and succeeded at finding her voice. As a child, it was expected that I would be seen and not heard. It was deeply engrained in me that compliance was the fastest way to receive love. As a young adult, I went to university and graduated with a business degree because my father “suggested” it was the optimal path to success. My 20s were spent working in a male-dominated industry where the message was clear: don’t be too loud, don’t take up too much space, don’t reach higher. It was in my late 20s, when I quit my job and went back to university to become a teacher, that my authentic voice first appeared. It was barely audible and tremendously shaky, but if you tilted your head a little to the left you could almost hear it. I began to be a little louder, take up a bit more space and reach a tad higher. I understood that there was grace and joy in the willingness to be seen and known.
As a grade one teacher, I work each day to empower children to find, and use, their unique voices. Young girls sometimes lack the confidence to raise their hands and take a risk. Young boys can tend to swallow their feelings, rather than witness and release them. Ultimately, my role as a teacher goes far beyond delivering the government-approved curriculum. My role is to provide a safe space for each child to explore academic concepts and social constructs, to know inherently that they belong and to understand deeply that their words are valued. There is a sign above my classroom door that reads, “Find your voice. Stand behind it. Change the world.” It’s a bold message that applies as much to me as it does the children. Teaching has brought authenticity and joy to my life. More importantly, it’s encouraged the gradual ownership of my voice through humility, grace and presence.
I was introduced to the Parvati Foundation and MAPS through my partner, Branding and Graphics Lead, Adam Nathan. Volunteering as the Social Media Lead was the start of a new adventure. My entire role within the organization has been about cultivating voice – a voice for the brand, a voice for nature and a voice for our planet. What I didn’t expect was the further evolution of my own voice. As I began to support the MAPS positive possibilities ethos, I realized my inner voice was less than positive. There was a negative committee in my head, and it had a primary goal: produce oodles of self-doubt. As I was asked to brainstorm campaign ideas, develop social media strategies, become a wordsmith, my inner voice was asking one consistent question: Am I good enough? The answer was, and will remain, yes. MAPS has asked me to move beyond my worn-out feelings of inadequacy and disconnect, and move toward wholeness, trust and love. MAPS has shown me that just by being, I am enough. We all are.
I’m so grateful to be part of a team that gives MAPS an identity and voice. MAPS teaches us that we are all interconnected. I invite you to think about that for a moment. Your state of mind, whether it’s positive or negative, whether you’re feeling connected or disconnected, whether you’re moving against or within the whole, affects the collective. Our future depends on humanity understanding, and caring, about our interconnection to each other and Nature. The wildfires in Australia, the flooding in South Sudan and the melting Arctic sea ice. These ecological and humanitarian crises show us that we need to shift from ego to eco. MAPS helps you make that shift. It’s a voice for everyone. Be seen and heard. Lend your voice to MAPS and stand united with us for the good of all.
Kate Lawrence is the Social Media Lead for Parvati Foundation. She spent nearly a decade as an Account Executive for North America’s top creative agencies before following her true vocation as an elementary teacher. She loves all dogs, almost equally.
Click here to learn how other MAPS Ambassadors are using their voices for the good all.