If you’ve ever heard me speak (or seen ANY of my posts on social media), you obviously know my history as a contestant in the Miss America Organization. I affectionately use the term #HasBeenBeautyQueen to describe myself, and honestly, I don’t use it lightly.
This past week there were more than a dozen state pageants around the country to select contestants for the 100th anniversary of the Miss America Pageant which will be held later this year. I loved watching the updates online, and we even tuned in Saturday night to watch the Miss SC finals online. Pageants, like everything I guess, have changed a lot over the years. But I’m grateful for the opportunities I received from that experience.
Where else could a young woman learn the value of competition (both winning AND losing), earn scholarships to pay for her college education, learn how to nail a job interview AND develop enough poise to jump up immediately after being knocked over by a football player on the sidelines during a live television broadcast? That’s right… nowhere else other than growing up as a “pageant girl.” Additionally, I met friends who are still part of my life today – THIRTY years later! (Wait – how is THAT possible??)
Some may criticize pageant competition, and I’ll be the first to admit all pageants are not created equal. But isn’t that also the case about most any activity, group, business or person we interact with on a daily basis? So why do we criticize something (or someone) who has different interests than us? The same reason we are critical of people themselves who are different than us. Usually because it makes us uncomfortable or because we simply don’t understand it.
This week, will you join me in researching some activity, group, person or organization that you aren’t already familiar with and see what you can learn. Maybe it will reinforce what you already know. But maybe you’ll be surprised by what you learn. Select a religion, a club, a person, a group of people, a sport, an organization – just something that may be already in the news but you aren’t involved in.