Monday, October 7, 2013

What To Do When Your Kid Starts Whining About Going To School

Act #280:  Tell them about Malala.

Today my son returns to school following a full week off for fall break.  Like many six-year olds, he whined a bit last night, stating that he wasn't looking forward to getting back in the routine of things - he had quite a week off visiting pumpkin patches, having play dates with friends, playing miniature golf, and decorating for Halloween.  In the next hour or so, I imagine that he probably won't be that enthusiastic about waking up.  I imagine he might even begin to complain about sitting at a desk for 7 hours learning how to read and write.  And if he does, I will tell him about Malala Yousafzai.  I will tell him what it is like to grow up in a place where little girls are not allowed to go to school.  I will tell him how much little girls like Malala are willing to give up just to sit at a desk for 7 hours a day to learn how to read and write.  I will remind him just how fortunate he is, how much of a gift it is for him to be able to walk through those front doors every morning.  This week, the Taliban issued yet another threat to kill Malala, who is now living in England and has returned to school.  When the Taliban struck the first time, exactly one year ago on Oct. 9, 2012, Malala was on a school bus in the northwest Pakistani district of Swat. A gunman got on, asked for the girl by name and then shot her three times.  Despite what she has had to endure, Malala's commitment to campaigning for the rights of girls to receive an education is stronger than ever. On her 16th birthday, she gave a speech to the United Nations and she is the youngest person to be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.  So in the next hour or so, if my son wakes up and starts whining about going back to school, I imagine I will hug him a little tighter, and pray a little more earnestly for his safety and well-being today.  And I will tell him about Malala.  

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