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“We don’t learn the importance of anything until it is snatched from our hands.”- Malala Yousafzai
Recently, the media has been all a-buzz about Malala Yousafzai – the sixteen year-old girl from Pakistan who was shot by the Taliban last year for promoting and advocating education for girls. Shockingly, she survived –and has gone on to win numerous awards, write a novel, and even be the youngest person ever nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Malala was deeply convicted of two things: that all people have the right to education – including women, and that education is the very weapon which we must use to “become the change we want to see in the world.” Her strength of character is inspiring, and reading about her story made me ask myself – How strongly do I feel about education? Would I be willing to die to defend this right? What are today’s children being taught about their own convictions? Are we currently raising a generation – right here in Chester County – of children who will change the world with their vision, compassion, and determination to use their skills for the betterment of others?
During an interview, Malala was asked how she had the courage to continue her mission of education for women. Her answer was rather humbling: “Why wait for someone else? Why don’t I raise up my voice? Why don’t we speak up for our rights? We must fight others through peace, dialogue, and education.” Although Malala may have wanted to retaliate, defend herself, or even run away – she faced her oppressors with grace and fairness that defies human nature. She openly stated that she even wished for education for her enemy’s female family members!
Malala’s story really captured my attention because it shed light on how much we take education for granted in this country. In America, education is a right – and even higher education is deemed the expected route, regardless of the astronomical expense. What we have forgotten is that education is BOTH a right AND a privilege. While we send our children off to school each morning, people in other countries are forbidden to attend, and even killed for promoting education. Why? Education leads to knowledge, and knowledge leads to power. But what are we teaching our children to do with this power? Do they even realize that they have it? That they each have a greater purpose to fulfill?
This may all sound extreme – but it’s the truth. Today’s generation often takes for granted the many privileges that surround them on a typical day. They can go to school and learn. They can use those lessons to develop truly admirable character. They can use their skills, knowledge, and personal convictions to bring about positive change in the world – even if it’s in a way that is considered untraditional or insignificant. Malala’s voice is proof that ONE person can be powerful enough to inspire real change. If nothing else, please share this story with your own children and students. Remind them that they, too, are capable of impacting the future. Guide them to the understanding of just how privileged they really are to have the opportunity to become educated and not live in fear each day because of it. Most importantly, I encourage you to teach them sincere gratitude – not just in words – but in their actions.
One of the main objectives of Triumph Tutoring, Inc. is to inspire students to recognize their individual strengths and potential – and give them the tools to use them for good. I am inspired each time one of our students overcomes an obstacle, experiences disappointment and rises to the task at hand with renewed motivation, and finds true joy in the process of learning. Life itself is a gift – as is the opportunity to be educated and affect the future and well-being of others. Contact us today so we can help your child discover their role in changing the world!