August 21, 2017 marks the day that a solar eclipse will be viewed in North American skies since 1979, and the first coast-to-coast eclipse since 1918. I was a kindergartner during the last eclipse and today my 6 year old daughter will have the rare opportunity to view one. As we drove to school this morning she said, "Mom, today the whole earth will be dark!" Her statement is not entirely true, but I understood what she meant. Today is one of those rare lifetime moments where millions will share an experience. In the middle of a Monday afternoon, all will grow quiet and still and for a little while, the lights will go down.
On Your Mat
Remember when we were in kindergarten? You know how it is when you're five years old with boundless energy, and you don't want to stop playing because you don't want to miss anything? Five year olds want to go and go and go and go because they are living in the moment, and most of the time that moment is pure bliss. They're not co...
Do you see that person in the background of the picture? That's me...Anita Michelle Tillman. Go on, zoom in...I'll wait.
See? That is me. I was standing at the podium of the Louisiana Municipal Association's 80th Annual Convention a few weeks ago, and this is one of the few moments that captured what I actually do. There I am - head down, editing a script at the 11th hour and 58th minute, and making sure that each speaker knew what to say and when to say it. That's what I do. I help people say the right thing at the right time and I'm happy to do it all from behind the curtain. If you drive a beautiful sports car, no one cares what the engine looks like, as long as the outside looks good and it performs like it's supposed to. Have you ever seen an engine jump out of the car and stand on the ground and pose in front of the car? Never. The engine is a silent yet powerful force, tucked away, out of sight. Just consider me an engine. It's not important for me to be in the spotlight...
I've come to the conclusion that we are being socially engineered by social media. It tells us what to be angry about, what to protest, what to pray for, what to eat, who likes us, who can be trusted, who to be suspicious of, who to date, who not to marry, how to discipline our children, where to spend our money and who to listen to. Instead of promoting community, it does the opposite - it's isolating, lonely, insecure, self-doubting, and petty. It trains us not to talk to each other and if you don't think like me, I can just block you. It suggests my friends, it allows me to eavesdrop on other conversations, it gives me enough access to prejudge you before I attempt to get to know you.
Tell me how we can progress as a society with independent, free-thought when we are being wired to be dependent, group thinkers, often with a mob mentality?
That moment when you realize that your career has come full circle...
As a 21-year old intern in 1995, my co-workers were my parents' age. Now in 2017, my 21-year old intern could be my child. I'm grateful to Kevin Joseph who saw greatness in me when I was unsure of myself. He literally told me during my interview with him for my first internship, "Sweetheart, you have to be bold and speak up for yourself. I know you're smart but you need to be confident in what you can do."
That conversation changed my trajectory. Now I have the opportunity and the responsibility to speak greatness into the next generation. #wordsmatter #mentorship #speaklife
This evening I shared with my 6 year old that today was Obama's last day at work. She turned to me and said, "is today Friday?". I said no not yet but we will have a new president on Friday. She got really quiet and when I asked what's wrong she said, "I'm sad. I like Obama." And just like that, there was a lump in my throat and my eyes began to burn. My baby girl lives in a time that no other generation has ever experienced. All she has ever known is that people who look just like her are important and they are leaders and they treat people like her with respect and dignity. There is no doubt in her mind that she too can be anything she wants to be.
We're prepared. We're in position. Now it's time to push through and reach back to pull up. It's our turn to be change agents. #yeswecan