Maya Angelou, the great champion of social justice, certainly knew it. The late author and poet, however, also learned the awesome benefits of speaking up, following her gut passion and going beyond normal. Fortunately she also had the courage and fortitude to reach for something else, not only in her own life but for countless others.
Her words give me goosebumps, chills up and down my spine!
To me, her words affirm that every person deserves to be seen and respected as an individual with their own gifts, passions, limitations and quirks. This includes both children who struggle to fit in, the ones who are bullied, alienated, persecuted, discriminated against as well as the normal kids, yes, whoever they are, whatever normal means. Every child has their our own unique talents and traits. Each should have the opportunity to discover and develop in their own special way, in other words, to become amazing.
Plenty of obstacles arise on the road to amazing. You name it. The media. Peer pressure. Academic pressures. Athletic pressures. Even well-meaning loved ones. We moms and dads bring to the task our own complicated set of expectations, hopes and fears. It’s amazing that kids can and do glimpse the amazing within themselves with so many influences trying to shape them or persuade them to be one thing or another.
Thank goodness some brave souls have taken a chance to stir up normal. If nobody bothered venturing beyond normal, we’d still think the earth was flat or that girls couldn’t be astronauts. Or that polio and measles couldn’t be prevented. It’s not easy asking a lot of questions or going against the popular crowd or accepted convention. True, for most people amazing doesn’t mean curing a terrible disease or flying to the moon but simply living life on one’s own terms and seeking something meaningful. It also means letting kids follow their interests, instincts or relationships however messy, ill-advised or unconventional. Please feel free to remind me of this in a few years if my daughter decides to major in medieval printmaking.
My wish then is for more amazing. For more kids to be amazing. And for more kids to have a chance at being amazing.
This summer you can help a child on the other side of the world be amazing. Here’s how. This month, during Shot@Life’s Blogust 2015—a month-long blog relay - some of North America's most beloved online writers, photo and video bloggers and Shot@Life Champions will come together and share inspirational quotes for their children. Every time you comment on this post and other Blogust contributions, or take action using the social media on this website, Shot@Life and the United Nations Foundation pages, one vaccine will be donated to a child around the world (up to 50,000). Please join me in giving more children a shot at life and even a shot at amazing!