Don't Try To Change. Try To Grow.

Don't Try To Change. Try To Grow.

Change is a word that does imply that there needs to be some radical overhaul. Change implies some level of shame. Growth is a word that implies that the capacity to be better is always there, but needs to be awakened.


There's a famous Gail Sheehy quote that goes like this:

"If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we aren't really living."

But it's one that I pushed back against for reasons unknown to me at the time. Upon writing a different Odyssey article, and in my profound conversations with some friends: I realize that people don't change. They grow.

I fundamentally believe that there are elements to each person that makes them worthy and redeemable, no matter who they are. To insist on that person changing is a denial of seeing the best in that person, and not giving that person the benefit of the doubt. This last year, I've partially lived by the words that "you can't change people. They have to want to change themselves," but it's only now that I've rethought people's trajectories in life.

Change is a word that does imply that there needs to be some radical overhaul. Change implies some level of shame. Growth is a word that implies that the capacity to be better is always there, but needs to be awakened. Growth is often a step-by-step, gradual process.

I caught up with a friend I hadn't seen for a while, and she said that there was something different about me. I asked her if I'd changed, and she said no. My mannerisms and ways of doing things were still very similar. But she used the words "refined" and "matured." It took until now for that to settle in for me. I think back to the kid I was in elementary school, and I will always be that kid with all the personality traits I sought for a long time to purge myself of: I was angry, impatient, and thought I was better than everyone.

As much as I want to believe I'm different now, and as much as that might be true, the truth lies in lyrics of Eminem's "Not Afraid": "I had to go to that place to get to this one." We won't be who we are without the mistakes we make and what we learn from them. Often times, if there's someone who makes a decision or has a lifestyle choice I see as destructive, I don't try to intervene or tell them what to do. Usually, they need to step into the furnace themselves and take their own path, not one that I or anyone else wants to lay out for them.

Change is a denial of the person and the decisions you made in the past. Change means there's a fixed destination, and the journey will end once you reach that destination. Growth is the acceptance of those mistakes or those flaws as part of your path. To me, change represents an unsustainable way of forcing yourself to be different. Growth is more organic and patient, and growth accepts that the journey is never over, that we will never know or be good at everything.

I think of the term "character development," and how it's often so much more compelling to see characters become different gradually over the course of a season or multiple seasons of TV, rather than a sudden, unnatural shift. It's called development for a reason. I think of my favorite show, "The Wire," and how two of the best-developed characters of the show, Ellis Carver, and Roland Pryzbylewski, grow from incompetent, corrupt, and incredibly brutality-prone Baltimore police officers to well-respected members of the communities they serve. They do it using their past experiences and failures, not neglecting and turning away from them.

I think of Paul, the apostle who went from being "chief among sinners" and killing and persecuting Christians to writing most of the New Testament and spreading the word of the gospel. Rev. Tim Keller tweeted on July 28 that "Paul's conversion is a great reminder that no one is beyond the reach of Jesus." And for people who aren't religious, that can also mean that you are never unworthy, even at rock bottom.

The fact is all the pieces matter. We are who we are not only because of the good, but also equally as much the bad. To try to erase a part of yourself will always come back and bite, and will never last long-term. To accept all of it, the good and the bad, is to live with pride in your journey, to know that everything mattered in the final analysis of making you who you are today.

And what about being in relation to others? What about a significant other you may want to spend the rest of your life with? Author Tonia Allen Gould, the founder of the Finding Corte Magore Project, asked a woman celebrating her 60th wedding anniversary what the secret to her marriage was, and the secret was this: "You can't change each other; no sense in trying. People don't change, they grow. Might as well accept each other for who you both are – the person you were when you got married, and the person you've each become."

I'm mature enough to realize I don't want to change anymore, for the sake of myself, or for the sake of others. The past is all the chapters prior to now. Now, I want to just keep pressing forward, and keep on growing.

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I'm The Girl Who'd Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

You raise your protest picket signs and I’ll raise my white picket fence.

Social Media feeds are constantly filled with quotes on women's rights, protests with mobs of women, and an array of cleverly worded picket signs.

Good for them, standing up for their beliefs and opinions. Will I be joining my tight-knit family of the same gender?

Nope, no thank you.

Don't get me wrong, I am not going to be oblivious to my history and the advancements that women have fought to achieve. I am aware that the strides made by many women before me have provided us with voting rights, a voice, equality, and equal pay in the workforce.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Who Would Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

For that, I am deeply thankful. But at this day in age, I know more female managers in the workforce than male. I know more women in business than men. I know more female students in STEM programs than male students. So what’s with all the hype? We are girl bosses, we can run the world, we don’t need to fight the system anymore.

Please stop.

Because it is insulting to the rest of us girls who are okay with being homemakers, wives, or stay-at-home moms. It's dividing our sisterhood, and it needs to stop.

All these protests and strong statements make us feel like now we HAVE to obtain a power position in our career. It's our rightful duty to our sisters. And if we do not, we are a disappointment to the gender and it makes us look weak.

Weak to the point where I feel ashamed to say to a friend “I want to be a stay at home mom someday.” Then have them look at me like I must have been brain-washed by a man because that can be the only explanation. I'm tired of feeling belittled for being a traditionalist.


Because why should I feel bad for wanting to create a comfortable home for my future family, cooking for my husband, being a soccer mom, keeping my house tidy? Because honestly, I cannot wait.

I will have no problem taking my future husband’s last name, and following his lead.

The Bible appoints men to be the head of a family, and for wives to submit to their husbands. (This can be interpreted in so many ways, so don't get your panties in a bunch at the word “submit”). God specifically made women to be gentle and caring, and we should not be afraid to embrace that. God created men to be leaders with the strength to carry the weight of a family.

However, in no way does this mean that the roles cannot be flipped. If you want to take on the responsibility, by all means, you go girl. But for me personally? I'm sensitive, I cry during horror movies, I'm afraid of basements and dark rooms. I, in no way, am strong enough to take on the tasks that men have been appointed to. And I'm okay with that.

So please, let me look forward to baking cookies for bake sales and driving a mom car.

And I'll support you in your endeavors and climb to the top of the corporate ladder. It doesn't matter what side you are on as long as we support each other, because we all need some girl power.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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The Revival Of The Coal Industry Is Unattainable

Clean beautiful coal will never be a reality. President Trump's backing of a declining industry is misguided and will have despairing environmental impacts.


The coal industry and its workers were placed at the forefront of American politics during the 2016 election cycle. President Trump promised a revival of the coal industry and promised to secure the jobs of coal country. The President, halfway through his first term, has so far taken measures to do just that. Trump withdrew from the Paris Climate Agreement, threw out Obama's Clean Power Plan, and did away with an Obama-era regulation that would prevent coal ash from entering streams and other bodies of water.

On one hand, it's quite extraordinary for a politician to do good on his campaign promises. On the other hand, is anyone considering whether or not the President is putting all his eggs into the wrong basket? Coal has been on the decline for about a decade now. Even without environmental regulations, the energy produced by coal is expected to reduce by 20% by 2030. Renewable energy such as wind and solar are replacing coal.

For an election campaign, it's easy to see why a candidate would align with coal. States like West Virginia and Pennsylvania are key when running a national campaign. The votes are there in those counties that support the coal industry. They will vote for any candidate who sides with their industry. But from an environmental standpoint, there's more on the line than just an election. It's about our clean air and water. Climate change is real and the effects of coal will only accelerate the process.

Coal ash that finds its way into water streams can damage that water supply for good. It could also impact the wildlife within the area. Coal also pollutes the air we breathe. Clean coal is a myth. Plain and simple. Coal is anything but clean. Clean coal sounds good in a stump speech, but we all know it's a fallacy.

Mountaintop mining also has a deep environmental impact. The Appalachian mountains have been destroyed from surface mining. West Virginia residents hold their beautiful mountains in high regard. Now, some of them look very different and the destruction is permanent. If the mining continues, the mountains of the Appalachia region will be gone. It would be a shame if you went to West Virginia to admire their mountains, and none were left.

In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt passed the American Antiquities Act of 1906. Roosevelt protected 230 million acres of land during his presidency. Roosevelt understood the importance of conservation and preserving our nation's natural beauty. The same natural beauty that God envisioned. We should not take that for granted. We should restore our mountains, forests, and lakes so that our children's children can reside in the richness of our natural environment.

President Roosevelt also ended the coal strike in 1902. The United States was much more dependent on coal in the 20th century than it is now. Roosevelt knew the coal strike had to be resolved because the cold winter would have been fatal. The change of the Republican party over a century later is quite intriguing to ponder. The party went from a strong conservationist in Roosevelt to Trump, who is willing to move mountains for a dying industry.

All of these facts surrounding the coal debate cannot be ignored. The rest of the western world will move on to new forms of renewable energy. While the United States will be stuck in neutral, reviving coal. Renewable energy should be strongly considered if we are to protect our water, air, and lands.

Disclaimer: I understand the risks coal miners make when they show up for work. I know that safety regulations are not always up to par and that coal mining is a very dangerous profession. I also understand the viewpoint of coal miners and their reasoning for disagreeing with me. I know they want to work and provide for their families. That's what we all want to do. As I write this, I wish not to offend coal miners, I only aim to critique the President and his policies about the coal industry.

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