This year marked a few milestones in my life… 10-year wedding anniversary, 15-year work anniversary, and the year my daughter started school, known as Kindergarten in New South Wales, Australia. My daughter is bright, confident and adventurous, yet on the eve of her starting school she became nervous, worried and asking what if she didn’t know anyone, or what if no one wanted to play with her. It was difficult for me to see her like this, but as her mother I tried my best to comfort her and reassure her that by end of day she would have too many friends to choose from.
The first day of school arrived and we approached the school gates excitedly to discover what class she was in and who her teacher would be. I found that both children and parents were anxiously looking around for familiar faces. ‘Maxi’ I heard my daughter shout, and two little girls who played together in day care greeted each other with smiles and hugs. Before I knew it, my nervous little girl transformed into a confident Kindergartner, and was running off to play at her new big school. I was lucky to even get a wave goodbye! I looked at Maxi’s mummy and we both sighed with relief- ‘Thank goodness they have each other.’
I found myself replaying that moment over and over in my head, and then I started to understand the importance of building relationships, confidence, and resilience at a young age. There is also power in networking even from the time you begin Kindergarten.
A few years ago, when I relocated to Asia, I found myself attending events where I knew no-one. I admit this was daunting, and it still can be. However, there is usually one person in the crowd I would recognize, and this then enabled the conversations to flow, barriers to be broken and more networking to continue.
We recently celebrated International Woman’s Day on the 8th March 2020, and I was asked to give my favorite quote. For me my mantra has always been “when women support other women- incredible things happen.” As I reflect to my daughter’s first day at school, it is so important that even at a young age she understands the importance of supporting her friends- girls and boys.
The current Covid-19 pandemic has added a different level of support that is needed; particularly for those women and men who are working on the front-lines to help those with coronavirus, have lost their jobs and financial stability, or who are juggling the balance of working from home, homeschooling and caring for family. We all need support, and when people support others- incredible things happen. I have seen and felt kindness in abundance over the past few weeks, and truly believe if we cherish our relationships, have confidence in ourselves, continue to build personal resilience and remember the power of networking then we can get through this trying time together.
Sarah Harding, Director at The 100% Project