Always a Friend: Never a Foe

by Nina Rosoff '65

Every time I look into another woman’s eyes, I see her soul. Each of us reflects love or fear, especially to another woman. Foes are only foes out of fear. Female friends are forever; nothing can change that. Women are the patches, each one different, in a woman’s life quilt. From mother and mentor to colleague and competitor, women are my friends because each one, like the pieces on the tapestry of my life, reflects me, and them. Each is essential, a part of my growth, my heart, my hurts and disappointments, my greatest joys. Each woman I have come to know, becomes a place on which I land, both in my mind’s eye and heart. Tossing my stone onto life’s hopscotch, I wonder will she be a friend or a foe?

No woman has ever been my foe for long. Some have cost me jobs, while others have opened doors of opportunity. I understand each and both, for I am both. Women colleagues span my 40 career years with lasting good friendships.When other women colleagues, feeling threatened, threaten other women out of envy or fear, then they are foes. Foes and friends reflect earlier women relationships. The scars and joys we formed long before we met, their own pain or happiness had been sewn into their heart threads, becoming mine.

Women colleagues need women—desperately! Now, more than ever, women’s souls need to blossom as stewards of global change, birthing new global souls.We have different qualities than men in abundance. Unfolding the flower, petal by petal: endurance and determination; wildness and courage; optimism and clear thinking; hope and faith; humor and drive; instincts to nourish, nurture, and protect; resilience, dignity, and integrity; strength and intuitive wisdom; an ability to receive, hear, take in and wait, patiently and not; laughing out loud at the mistakes we make; kindness. And most of all we communicate; our voice cannot be taken from us, silenced, or dampened.

Yet, daily, in my heart and soul, exists an uneasy feeling that echoes uncertainty about what we women are doing individually and collectively to, for, and with one another.

Are we making progress—alone and together? What are we closing our eyes to that needs eyes wide open? In what direction is this present progress taking us? Is it the direction we need to be going?

Are we bringing our unique gifts as women to the workplace? As women perhaps it is time to:

  • Lead as stewards.
  • Use our voices (graciously, with wisdom) more poignantly.
  • See the whole picture, not the sum of its parts.
  • Mentor, guide, teach by sharing what we know.
  • Walk our talk with unwavering integrity and character.
  • Befriend all women…and men, not create foes.
  • Heed our own unique call; bring our special gifts to work.
  • Stop thinking we have to block out, compete, take down, or take from someone else, women and men alike, in order to succeed.
  • Build bigger tents and cast wider nets.
  • See the chard of God in everyone.
  • Reflect our humanity, not our inhumanity.

We must become friends.The 21st century needs women leaders to steward others at home and at work.These times call for different mental and emotional maps and paradigm shifts in the ways we think, work, care, and achieve success, in order to sustain the world and make it generative.

Always a friend: never a foe.