“What is My Destiny?” by Beth Beall
Yuli, Verania, Alejandra, Sara, and Evelyn are the “big kids” at Vida Joven these days. These middle- and high school girls sat outside on a recent hot, sunny, summer afternoon, tossing a volleyball back and forth.
Sara spontaneously shouted out as she threw the ball to Yuli, “When I’m older I want to be a pilot.” Yuli caught the ball. Then she paused for the briefest moment, tossed the volleyball to Alejandra and shouted with a laugh, “I want to be a photographer!”
The ball continued to soar, stop, soar, stop. And the dreams continued to take flight as the girls spoke Possibility into Being:
- I want to be an astronaut
- I want to be a chef
- I want to be a model
- I want to be an underwater scientist
- I want to be a travel writer
- I want to be a translator
- I want to be a flight attendant
- I want to be a veterinarian
- I want to be a veterinarian too!
- I want to be an English teacher
- I want to be…
Being with the girls in that moment, watching the ball bounce back and forth, listening to their laughter, and listening to their dreams—all of it was a gift for me.
To be part of the Vida Joven family is to make sure that these kids have the opportunity to envision a positive and hopeful future for themselves. It means helping them understand that their “destiny” has to do with their own choices and with the lives they create going forward. In other words, these girls want and need to know that “destiny” does not bind them to some of the addictions and dead-end choices in their biological families.
I’m not suggesting that our Vida Joven kids should have their futures all mapped out by age 16 or 18 or 22. I’ve got plenty of grey hairs on my head, and I still don’t have my future “all mapped out”!
Rather, I’m saying that it’s critically important for these children to be able to envision a positive and hopeful future for themselves. It’s important–really important–for Verania, Yuli, Evelyn, Alejandra, and Sara to envision a “tomorrow” and a “next day” and a “ten years from now” in which they can picture themselves as safe, as deeply beloved, as experiencing the joy that comes from using one’s talents and gifts. They need to be able to envision a future in which they see themselves genuinely loving themselves, and loving others.
This is indeed your destiny, girls. Don’t settle for less.