By Talliah Pilker, Sacajawea Scroll
Who are you? Who is the girl standing beside you?
These aren’t easy questions to answer, because not everyone knows their true selves yet.
That’s because they haven’t found what makes them special, their individuality or their gifts, according to Michael Roche, criminal justice professor at USD.
Roche spoke to Girls State delegates during Tuesday morning’s general assembly. This year he spoke about people’s gifts and talents, creating an aura of empowerment and positivity within the auditorium.
When asked what she took away from the lecture, Kelsey Keating of Detroit said, “A sense of responsibility to benefit others instead of benefiting just myself.”
You must have integrity; because once you have integrity you gain respect, Roche said during his speech, and added that with respect comes power, and with power comes change.
Elise Heesch of Detroit said the speech, “gave me a positive vibe. It was very inspiring and made you think positive about yourself.”
You must trust that your gifts are inside of you, Roche said, and encouraged delegates to share those gifts with other people.
You cannot be a victim of life, he said, adding that you have to learn ego is not your friend.
Do not boast and brag about your gifts, but instead be humble, Roche said.
During his presentation, Roche also told stories of Mother Teresa, who he said didn’t discover her gifts until she was 40 years old.
Afterward, he added, she discovered who she was and became an influential speaker and public figure.
Recalling a previous event when Roche saw her speak, he remembered tears in his eyes and streaming down his cheeks. Looking around at the audience in the 1980s, he saw that several others did as well.
This wasn’t because the speech was deep or emotional, Roche said, but because of the power her words had based on who she was. This power with her words was her gift, Roche said.
How can you discover your gifts and become a force of nature, Roche then posed to delegates in Aalfs Auditorium Slagle Hall.
As women, there is so much room to grow to influence change in the world, he said.
You have to take a risk and give change your all, otherwise nothing will change, Roche added.
Many people tend to see women as objects, weak or powerless, but Roche talked about how delegates have the potential to be so much more.
Roche also compared life to crafting a sculpture -— every action is a carving, including the negative ones.