It is mid-October and the new school year is well under way. Summer vacation experiences are old news and by now many kids are already complaining about the amount of homework they get or the teachers they have. The exception to this, of course, is Malala Yousafzai, the 14-year-old Pakistani girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban last week for promoting education for girls in her country.
For her ‘Western thoughts’, Malala was hunted down by extremists thugs who thought she was a danger to their religion and their way of life. So, apparently, God got the last word in here because, miraculously, this little girl survived. For her courage, little Malala inspired a nation of women, yes, second class citizens, to rise up and protest her near assassination.
Whisked out of Pakistan so she could undergo delicate surgery at a London hospital, Malala’s future remains a question mark, for the Taliban has not lifted their death threat on her. In fact, they vow to hunt her down and kill her no matter how long it takes. Big scary guys with guns threatened by a 14-year-old who wants to read? Hey, kids, take a lesson here.
So here we have a teachable moment for all of us, especially students who, in mid-October, might be already complaining about the drudgery of going to school. Not everyone in our classrooms thinks that school is a waste of time. Believe it or not, a lot of students really want to learn and make something of their lives. Like little Malala did until last week.
Every day, hard working teachers and counselors get up and go to their jobs with the sole purpose of making their students more knowledgeable, capable and accountable for their young lives. Education is still a very valuable commodity whether it is offered here in the United States or in Pakistan. Sadly, in our own country, many students often take this privilege for granted.
And, to be sure, whichever candidate wins the presidential election, we know one thing for certain: their party will not have a posse of thugs shooting up 14-year-old girls who want to learn. Thank you for the reminder of things we take for granted, Malala.
And thank God for all we have in this country that allows us to tolerate dissension and accept differences in one another without fear of a bullet getting lodged between our ears.
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