Raising a Rebellion

I am not Malala.

I am fortunate to live in a place where I can wax eloquently (on most days) about issues that American children face in education, where we hold forum (after forum) debating the merits of new standards and websites urge parents to opt out of standardized testing. I live in a place where I can speak freely at school board meetings, with my children's teachers, with community members, and on social media about how we fund, or don't fund as is often the case, educational and extracurricular activities, and how parents are often marginalized from the dialogues and conversations about the education their children are receiving.

I am not Malala.

While I do currently live in a place where elected leadership continue to frustrate and baffle me with their decision making processes which has (as I write this) lead to a serious impasse that could potentially harm millions of people. Where we sign petitions and hold concerts calling for an end to poverty yet permit politics to get in the way of compassion and care and slash assistance to the poor, turning a war on poverty into a war on the poor. The simple fact that I can even write about these issues without fear of censorship, arrest, or any other physical harm, again means this:

I am not Malala.

I did not grow up in a place where by simply being born a girl it means being less than invisible, it means being disposable.

I did not grow up in a place where in order to have an opportunity at an education I might have to travel unsafe roads where I could potentially be raped or murdered.

I did not grow up in a place where my only purpose in life was to be given away into marriage before my seventh birthday or sold into slavery or prostitution.

I did not grow up in a place where my getting an education would be seen as a threat to others and where I would be ambushed while riding in a van and shot and blamed by those who committed the crime as the reason for the crime.

I am not Malala.

But because I am not Malala I must do my part to make sure that every child, every girl, is able to grow up and treated with care, respect, and value.

I was fortunate this fall to hear Malala speak at the Social Good Summit #2030Now where she spoke about her some of her experiences and her new endeavor, the Malala Fund.  And I most certainly can support efforts to raise awareness about programs which support transformational change in how girls (and children) are treated in other countries and by celebrating and sharing about the International Day of the Girl.

I am not Malala.

Yes, I'm "Raising Ms. President," Aren't you?  
But I stand with her, and as I hold my daughter's hand, I know I'm helping create a world where she can grow up and say we all did our part to make sure that what happened to Malala never happens to another child again, and that there is education for all, everywhere.

Because I am raising a Malala. I am raising my daughter to believe in herself. To believe that she can be the President of the United States and an artist and a scientist. To believe that she has a voice to speak up about what she considers an injustice and to be a solid friend and caring citizen in her community. To believe that she is cared for. That she is respected. That she is valued.

That no matter what she is creative, resourceful, and whole.

I want my daughter to be: defiant, decisive, daring, dazzling, different, difficult, dynamic, and determined.

I want her to not just gently shake the world. I want her to bring the action.

I am not Malala.

But I believe that if we don't support all the Malala's in our world, we will have failed Malala most miserably.

I'm interested in raising a rebellion, are you?

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