Today Keith and I went to parent/teacher conferences at Molly’s pre-school. We basked in that particular parental glow that comes when your kid’s teacher tells you how well they’re doing – shapes, colors, letters, beginning reading skills – we’re all over it.
It was a good conference. There was a lot of laughing and love shared in the room about this little person named Molly. With a mind like a sponge, she is learning more and more each day.
There were some things we didn’t discuss.
We didn’t discuss if it was right for her, as a girl, to receive an education.
We didn’t discuss if attending school would make her a target.
Where we live we discuss homeschooling, public school, private school, standardized tests, grades, college prep, etc. I engage in these conversations frequently.
But I have never been in a position to have to defend my daughters’ right to learn. I have never had to put my life on the line for their education.
So, today, as I leave Molly’s conference, I can’t stop thinking about Malala Yousufzai and her father. I am simultaneously in awe of their bravery while heartbroken over a world that required such bravery.
I can only hope that if I’d been born an ocean away, I would have had such courage.
In an interview with CNN from 2011, Malala said:
“I have the right of education. I have the right to play. I have the right to sing. I have the right to talk. I have the right to go to the market. I have the right to speak up.”
It’s sadly easy to sit in my safe life and take these rights for granted.
There will always be tyranny and oppression in our world. There will also always be people like Malala. She is just one person … one girl … one child. Yet the ripples of her bravery and intelligence are felt across our globe. I can’t help but think about all the other people, like Malala, risking their lives for rights that I take for granted.
I can only hope for a sliver of her courage. If she can stare down the Taliban, I can speak up for the injustices I see in my safe corner of the world.
After all, in Malala’s words, “I shall raise my voice … If I didn’t do it, who would?”