This month’s New Era magazine features a great article entitled Your Future: Awesome by Design, with the tag “Want a great career, family, and testimony? You can choose the path to success today!” Like the recent Friend article “Savannah the Engineer,” discussed at By Common Consent, this article cuts against traditional gender stereotypes.
While acknowledging that “making choices now to achieve your dreams for the future can seem challenging,” readers are advised that making those good decisions now can yield tremendous results. The article highlights the role of committed preparation in the lives four men and women: an American man who works as a storyboard artist, a Romanian woman studying information systems at BYU, a British woman strengthening her love of the gospel, and a Taiwanese man embracing fatherhood. Each interview touches on the importance of hard work in making our goals and dreams a reality.
Understanding that we can be proactive and shape our own futures is an empowering message. We are counseled often to act instead of waiting to be acted upon. Creating a plan for our lives, learning by faith, and taking charge of both our actions and our faith is being proactive, it is acting, instead of reacting.
Not only do the individuals featured in the New Era article reflect the worldwide nature of Church membership, their stories also buck traditional scripts; women are featured for goals other than marriage and motherhood (hooray for women pursuing technology and gospel mastery!), and a man is highlighted for his desire to be a good father. While women are often depicted as mothers and men as providers, it is refreshing to see the reverse. The message that all of these things are possible for both women and men is important. I hope this article is the beginning of many that allow young women and young men to envision a rich and varied future for themselves. Young people, and really all of us, benefit from more encouragement to explore and create a future, to be proactive about our lives instead of relying on autopilot.
We are all given a wide range of talents from the Lord. He expects us to use them to benefit ourselves, our families, and our communities. We are able to actively choose with guidance from God the pathway we will follow. Our future is, as this article states, awesome, by design. We are masters of our own destiny; each of us have infinite potential. Instead of waiting around for good things to happen, we are given the ability, desire, and tools to proactively shape our life. We can (and ought to) choose to embrace all the positive and good things life has to offer: education AND meaningful career AND family AND hobbies AND church service. Kudos to the New Era for showing the full embodiment of these things for both women and men.
 2 Nephi 2:26
James E. Faust, “Acting for Ourselves and Not Being Acted Upon.” October 1995 General Conference
David E. Bednar “Seek Learning by Faith.” February 2009 Ensign