Recently I spoke at a sweet sixteen event. The mother contacted me to add a bit of “spiritual essence” to this lavish occasion. As I pondered this moment I contemplated how much the rights of passage traditions are not practiced consistently in the western culture.
I would like share with you the speech I delivered in the hope that you would share this with every young woman and parent you come across in your own circles.
In the western culture we don’t really have a way of telling when a young person becomes an adult. Many ask, is it when they can drive, vote, drink alcohol, leave home and or hold down a job. It’s hard to tell. Sweet sixteen signifies a coming of age, a transition from childhood to adulthood. My name is Charles M. Taylor; I am a Minister, Spiritual Teacher & Life Coach. I want to personally welcome everyone this evening and share that I am deeply honored to be able to say a few words to briefly remind us of the spiritual significance of this occasion.
I have known Sandy for 5 years, over that time I have seen her grow and mature into the young lady she is today. Currently she is in the 11th grade studying as a Medical Academy Student. Her interest includes dance, art and fashion. Her activities includes HOSA (Health Occupation Students of America, SWAT (Students Working Against Tobacco), Black Student Union & The Emerald Onyx Dance team among other activities.
Her hobbies also include listening to R&B music, dance and having fun with family. Her goals are finishing high school with a high GPA & attending college as a pre-med major. She eventually wants to specialize in family practice medicine. I have a lot of confidence that she will be able to achieve these goals & much much more.
Today represents an important transition period in Sandy’s life, in a way it represents a dying & a rebirth. A dying to childhood and a rebirth into young adulthood. As such I want to use a scripture as a reference point for my remarks: 1 Corinthians 13:11 – 13
“When I was a child I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult I put an end to childish ways. For we see in a mirror dimly but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. Now faith, hope & love abide these three & the greatest of these is love.”
As this day marks the beginning for you Sandy, transitioning into young adulthood, of you becoming a woman. I want to use WOMAN as an acronym to leave you with some guidance.
W: Wonderfully made, made in God’s image. You are not Junk. Don’t accept Junk! Respect your body temple, don’t play yourself cheap. Don’t sell yourself short to a man, job or life. Image (personality) vs. identity (character) , outside vs inside beauty. Woman is what you are from the inside out not outside in.
O: Opportunity. Know that you create your opportunities in life, don’t play victim. Be an optimist. Know that opportunity is everywhere. I am the way – the I AM in you is the way.
M: Mandate. Know that you have a mandate from God. A Divine purpose, a reason for being here, a vision for your life. Align everything you do & ensure it is about your mandate, purpose and vision.
A: Attitude: Know that with the right attitude you can go as far as you desire in life. Awareness is the key! The more aware you are of God & yourself the more the choices in life will expand. Be a lifelong student of yourself, life, God. Adopt the Christ like attitude of meekness, love, forgiveness
N: Network, Net worth. Don’t confuse your network with your net worth. Be careful of the network you hang with (birds of a feather hang together). Don’t allow others to determine how you value yourself. Keep this in mind – five years from now your net worth will determine your network. The 5 people you hang around the most will determine your net worth – you will tend to be like those you hang around the most – choose your company wisely.
Now life is lived in the NOW moment, keep in mind that your actions, words, thoughts in the now are sowing the seed for your tomorrows.
Don’t put your life on hold, live your life fully present in this moment & in each moment to come. Time is our most valuable asset, yet we tend to waste it, kill it & spend it rather than invest it. Invest wisely – in God, purpose, family then things.
They say it take a village to raise a child but it also take a child to raise a village. So this is my challenge to each of us here tonight – before you think, say, or act, ask yourself “If my child or any child were to witness this act, what would I be teaching them.”
Sandy I am very proud of you still in school, active in the community, no babies, no drugs & a bright future ahead of you TO GOD BE THE GLORY!