The Girl Who Silenced the World

Tears filled my eyes as I listened again to the girl who silenced the world for 5 minutes speak to the UN. Her name is Severn Cullis-Suzuki, and her first speech was given at a U.N. assembly in Brazil when she was twelve years old.

That was in 1992. Sadly, her words are as relevant today as they were then. Watching this video of 12 year old Severn again, I found myself moved in a new way. 

Severn is now 39. She is a wise woman leader, activist, and organizer who cares and finds the courage to speak from her heart. Powerful!

After the video ended, I asked myself, what is mine to say and am I expressing it? Suddenly I am curious – where do I lack the courage to speak with this kind of forthright honesty and care? Where do I hold back what I know to be true? What uncomfortable questions do I keep myself from asking?

In my desire to keep things “nice” and peaceful I know that sometimes I do all of these. While I believe in right timing and right dosage for any communication I also want to be sure that I am speaking up and saying what needs to be said in my life and work. And, I want to say it in such a way that they hear me and it begins a dialogue that helps us make a change or take the next step.

One time a colleague gave me a great suggestion, “speak in such a way that the other person will be thrilled to hear what you have to say.” That’s a hard assignment! To blend what needs and wants to be said with saying in a way that is caring, compassionate, in connection, and moving us forward instead of inciting a reaction. whew. I have some learning to do.

I appreciate the authentic communication from this young girl. What do you most want to say? Are you saying it?