Dominoes Episode Thirty-Eight

Tracie began her series of interviews with Joyce. Tracie didn’t want to focus on anything in the interview that people could find with a search on Google. Rather, she wanted to focus on the personal side of the original difference makers. What led them to their cause? How did they struggle in making a difference? How did they overcome their struggles? What lessons they would like to share with future difference makers.

Tracie: Could you give me a sense of what made you want to become a difference maker?

JoyceSure. I’m very much a product of my environment. I grew up with a single mom who had me when she was 15. I never knew my father. My mother suffered from her pregnancy and she passed away when I was 5. I was adopted by my Aunt.

Tracie: Is that why the cause you selected was to support teenage mothers?

JoyceIt was. But I was really impacted by how many girls in my high school had become pregnant. Every day I saw the physical and emotional struggles they were going through.

Tracie: But you seemed to have escaped that fate and were a scholarship student in college.

JoyceI did, but I found out later that my college education was more of a hindrance that a help in making a difference.

Tracie: How so?

JoyceI became an outsider to my community. Girls saw me as coming from a background of privilege, not realizing that I became an orphan at age 5.

Tracie: How did you overcome that barrier?

JoyceNot well. I’m very outgoing and at times I can come across too strong. I thought that I could win them over with my personality, but that just made it harder to be accepted.

Tracie: What did you do?

JoyceI wish I could tell you I had a plan, but I didn’t. On one of my visits to my former high school, one of the girls went into labor. The school health          nurse was absent and a 9-1-1 call was made. But the baby wouldn’t wait. I had worked with midwives so I had enough knowledge to help birth the baby.

Tracie: That must have been a scary moment?

JoyceIt was, but Charley would have described it as a value shaping event. When the other girls saw me covered in birth fluid, I gained credibility. That mother joined me as a key member of our cause, and we have made a wonderful team.

Tracie: Looking back, what would you change?

JoyceIt’s critical to accept others you want to help as they are, not who you would wish them to be. I’ve learned attempts at conversion rarely work. They just build resentment.

Tracie: But what do you do to change minds?

JoyceAgain, I’ll use a Charley phrase. You guide them through discovery learning. You help them discover the change they want to make, not tell them. You do that by seeing things through their eyes, and not through yours.

Tracie: This was a great start to the interviews. Thanks so much.

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“The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection.” – George Orwell (Author)

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