Dear 20-Year-Old Dolores,
Your life will be quite a balancing act — and sometimes painful. Not everything will be successful, but in the end you will love every minute being a small part of change that was happening in our world. You will evolve into what contemporary sociologists label the domestic superwoman: wife, working mother, community volunteer, social and economic justice activist, and feminist.
Number 1: You will need courage to take on the challenges of the narrowly prescribed role that women in the 1950s faced. There will be one job interview with an advisory committee of Juvenile Court at a time when you have three children 6 years old and under. One of the women on the committee will ask who would care for your children if you are hired for probation officer. You will probably be taken aback by her question. Would she have asked this question of a man applying for the same position? You will get the job, and while it will be the first time you will encounter the barrier of sexism, you will be up for the challenge and more that follow.
Number 2: It isn’t easy to “change the world,” but anyone can try and change in small significant ways. Keep fighting. One major challenge remaining in this country is to pass an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that ensures equality for women. The amendment states “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abrogated by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” Can you believe a one sentence amendment simple in language and significant in import failed to be ratified by the necessary number of states? In 1982 when the deadline for ratification came, the amendment failed, short by the additional three states needed to favor ratification.
Number 3: Please also pay attention to technology. We are advancing so quickly that ethical and moral norms have not have been put in place. We have not addressed the impact of technology on interpersonal relationships, the ethics and moral issues of cyber warfare, the loss of privacy, governing by Twitter, and the fleeting communication of quick news like Instagram.
Number 4: Always keep a sense of humor. It is such an important attribute if you get weary trying to solve world problems. Laughter is an antidote for overload.
Number 5: Most importantly, give yourself a break. Find something that gives you comfort and solace. You started violin lessons in middle school and were in the high school orchestra. Maybe you are not a musician, but music still plays an important part in your life. It gives you peace.