Malala Yousafzai: Parents, this is a teen bedtime story opportunity (+video)
Malala Yousafzai's US book tour drives home the power of education and in doing so reveals just how privileged Western children really are. Maybe we need to reinstitute bedtime stories for our teens and talk about this one tonight, together.
In the West our kids get snow days, while in Pakistan schools must close due to Taliban terrorism, Malala Yousafzai, the 16-year-old girl shot in the head by the Taliban for speaking out for girls’ to be allowed to go to school in Pakistan, makes this situation more tangible for American parents as she tours the US promoting her book with the message “education is the power terrorists fear most.”Skip to next paragraph
Lisa Suhay, who has four sons at home in Norfolk, Va., is a children’s book author and founder of the Norfolk (Va.) Initiative for Chess Excellence (NICE) , a nonprofit organization serving at-risk youth via mentoring and teaching the game of chess for critical thinking and life strategies.
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That message should concern parents as education systems in the West fail under freedom’s flag. SAT scores continue decline; 57 percent of incoming freshmen not ready for college, the AP reported earlier this month. Here in Norfolk, Virginia 33 of our 45 schools, 78 percentage, have failed to make full accreditation this year due to abysmal standardized test scores.
This is something I am passionate about not only because my kids’ schools here are failing, but because I have a friend, a woman, who runs a large school in Pakistan. I won’t name her, the city, or school for safety reasons.
We met five years ago when she contacted me about permission to use a peace fable I’d written to combat terrorism, “The Mouse and the Light” as a project with her students. They were turning it into the school play after reading it on MidEastWeb where it was posted by a fan in English, Arabic, and other languages spoken in the Middle East.
We became friends and she’s kept me in the Facebook loop as she struggles to keep her students from being snatched by Taliban forces looking for little soldiers as they try and make their way to the classroom.
Over the years her students have written letters to mine detailing their love of learning. I think their passion for education began with their parents and teachers, but was intensified by all the days their school had to close due to terrorism.
Malala’s story has given me a clear picture of what my friend has had to live with as an educator.
"Exactly 12 months ago, Malala Yousafzai was in the back of an open truck on the way home from school when a Taliban gunman asked for her by name and shot her in the head," according to The Telegraph of London.
Malala is the youngest ever to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, for her efforts to bring attention to the struggle for women's rights in her homeland.