Today’s blog is about a new leader being born, inspired by role model, Malala Yousafzai. Rachel Peters is the fifth grade’s first-place winner in the 2014 Art Raab Memorial Essay Competition. Peters attends Larson Elementary, where her teacher is Mrs. Shlader. Students wrote on the theme: “Take a world event and talk about how Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would react to that event.” Her essay was published in the Lodi News Sentinel, in California.
After a well-researched and written essay about Yousafzai’s journey, Peters steps up to claim her own voice — a step we must all take in order to be leaders wherever we find ourselves. She says: “Although I only have one voice, I can make it a strong one.” Here’s what she wrote:
“The Taliban do not want girls educated because they know education would give women power. Malala and I agree that education is important for everyone. Even so, I don’t know if I would be able to stand up to the Taliban if I were put in Malala’s position. I would be scared of losing my life, and never seeing my family or friends again.
I think we all have a lot to learn from Martin Luther King Jr. and Malala Yousafzai. They were each one person, but they had the courage to speak out for what they believed in. Through Martin Luther King Jr. and Malala Yousafzai, I have learned that although I only have one voice, I can make it a strong one.“
I hope this lesson stays with this child for the rest of her life. However cynical we might be about leaders who become celebrities, Yousafzai holds a powerful space for girls and women in the world. She certainly inspires me. It’s leaders like Malala who help prevent the crab-bucket syndrome, the tendency for people to pull visionaries back into the bucket of despair, just as crabs pull the stronger ones back from escaping the fisherman’s bucket. It’s leaders like Malala who invite all of us to become leaders in our own communities.
Who inspires you to make your voice strong? What leader makes you believe you can lead?