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Inspired by Malala Yousafzai, 14 Year Old Hero

Malala Yousafzai from EPI

Since I started this blog in August, I have  been out of touch with local news and world happenings. There are only 24 hours in the day, and unless I can find a way to give up sleep, my waking hours are filled with family time, work, exercise, household jobs, and now blogging. I’m sure most bloggers can relate. I can’t remember when I watched the news or looked up the CNN website, but an article in People magazine, of all places, caught my eye this past week. Before you start thinking I’m a bad PF role model because I subscribe to People magazine,  it was my office copy for the reception area. The short article was about 14 year old Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani girl who was targeted and shot in the head by the Taliban for “promoting secularism.”

In reality, all this girl did was love ice cream, speak near perfect English, and blog anonymously about her experiences trying to get an education and live life under Taliban rule when they took over her area of Pakistan in 2009.  You can read her story at the BBC blog, Diary of a Pakistani Schoolgirl. Her identitity was revealed in 2011, after the Taliban was driven out of her village. She received numerous awards for her bravery, but the Taliban continued to threaten her family. Earlier this month, the Taliban stopped a truck she was riding in with classmates on the way home from school, shooting Malala in the head and neck and wounding another classmate. She is currently in a UK hospital and is expected to make a “good recovery.” No one knows what sort of life she can expect, especially with the Taliban stating that they will “finish the job” if she speaks out again.

When your read a story such as this, it hopefully makes you thankful for the things you have. I’ve spent the last couple of months trying to help educate people about making smart financial decisions. I complain about taxes, government waste, having debt, and how much things cost, but I am truly one lucky person. By being born in the United States, I probably will never have to worry my daughter getting gunned down for things like wanting an education, having the ability to earn money, and choose her path in life. No matter who wins the upcoming election or if my taxes or health care costs rise, I will probably still have enough to eat, a place to live, and the ability to write or say what I please without retaliation.

Stories like this make me almost feel guilty about having the freedoms and luxuries that I have.  Am I making the most of what I have been given? Would I continue to express my beliefs and opinions if I lived in fear of being shot in the head on my way home from work? Ultimately, I can’t change who I am or apologize for having an easier life because of where I was born. The best I can do is carry on with what I know, be humble,  be greatful for every day,  and be as mindful as possible of others who are true heros like Malala Yousafzai.

Do you sometimes take your freedoms for granted? Could you speak out for your beliefs if you were physically threatened?

 

About Kim Parr

Kim Parr is a private practice optometrist, freelance writer, and personal financial blogger. You can follow her journey to 20/20 financial vision at Eyes on the Dollar.

28 comments

  1. It really does make you realise what you take for granted…. I hope she continues to stand up for what she believes in (and I am sure she will). What a courageous young girl –

  2. I DEFINITELY think most Americans (and others in developed countries) take their freedoms for granted. No one really notices erosion of freedoms until something tragic happens such as this story in Pakistan. And I agree, the story of Malala is an inspiring one.

  3. Great thoughts! I completely agree tht many of us, myself included at times, take our freedoms for granted. We allow ourselves to get lulled to sleep by our freedoms and just expect it to always be that way or not give thought to others that are fighting to get them. I think a lot of it comes down to being grateful for each day and enjoying life, because it all could change in the matter of seconds like it did for Malala.

  4. I read about that girl too, it is so inspiring. In France we are raised with similar stories of heroes who resisted during WWII, and as a kid I always heard my grandma say “think about how lucky you are to have this and that” or “don’t leave food in your plate because when I was your age I was hungry”. It breaks my heart to see that in 2012 we are still hearing such stories, and I am so grateful for everything I have and take for granted, food, freedom, clean water, peace.

  5. I have read about her and I think she is absolutely amazing! It makes you wonder why the sad pathetic Taliban feels so threatened by such a young girl.

  6. It always amazes me how other countries do not value life. They kill so easily. They raise their children to kill. It is on CNN all the time. It’s as if in some parts of the world things will never get better. Fortunately this young lady will survive but what will her future hold. She shouldn’t have to go through stuff like this, ever.

    Whenever I find myself sulking about my life I remind myself about what a charmed life I have. Awesome health, safe, warm home and very happy marriage. Life has been so good to me and I am always very thankful for that. 🙂

  7. I don’t know to be honest Kim that’s a hard question unless I was in that situation. I can only assume that she felt that if she could make a difference this would be the way and whether she lives or dies she did what she could. Who knows what she was thinking but what a brave little girl, more guts than the strongest of men or ladies I know. We do take alot for granted and we should be very thankful for the food on the table, the clothes on our back, the roof on our head and most of all our freedom. Cheers Mr.CBB

  8. Maybe if the internet existed in WWII, Anne Frank would have had a blog, too. How come it’s always the young that are able to speak with such clarity about injustice in the world? I’ll keep her in my thoughts and hope for a full recovery of her health, her spirit, and her freedom of expression.

    • Mandy @MoneyMasterMom

      Great story Kim, thanks for the reminder about what is REALLY valuable – the marketing men have us fooled sometimes 🙂

      Mrs. Pop
      It amazing how inspiring young people can be. I visited the attic where Anne Frank lived in Amsterdam and it`s so powerful to imagine Anne lying on a mattress just writing.
      A 14 year old girl from our community just swam across Lake Ontario to raise money for a camp for children affected by cancer. She trained for 2 years, and was in the water for 27 hours – she couldn`t touch a boat at any time. Man I can`t imagine trying to eat a power bar while treading water, let alone swim for 27 hours. Geez, I get winded chasing the kiddos one block. She raised over $175,000 (last number I remember hearing)

      Leave it to our young people, they`ll change the world!

    • They certainly seem to have more courage often than adults or maybe just certain people are extraordinary from an early age.

  9. Wow. That’s insane. And so sad! In the western world, for the most part we are free to sit down on a computer and blog about whatever we want. I think we all take that for granted.

  10. I definitely take it for granted much of the time. Even here, I tend to self-censor myself on a lit of issues.

  11. Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager

    Just found your blog via Budgeting in the Fun Stuff. Definitely inspired by Malala! I definitely feel blessed to feel safe going to school, getting an education and grew up being encouraged that I could do anything a boy could.

    • I can’t imagine having to fight that hard just to go to school. I see people not value education here and it is really sad. Thanks for your comment and for stopping by.

    • I can’t imagine having to fight that hard just to go to school. I see people not value education here and it is really sad. Thanks for your comment and for stopping by.

  12. Okay Video. But the gunmen/women who shot her where probably the same people who took her to the hospital.

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