Sometimes you feel like life is purposely taking you in a certain direction. That everything that happens is somewhere, somehow shaping up to what you need to be doing. And there are moments that define that. Moments like you entering a classroom, meeting those kids for the first time, interacting with them. Their eyes look at you in wonder. You start to feel interested in knowing them, teaching them, counseling them. And just when you ask them what they want to be when they grow up, a girl replies: “I want to grow up to be like you.”
As much as that sounds elevating for my own self-esteem, I am a little startled by her statement. I smile at her humbly and ask the next kid about what they want to do. I start to ponder what she said. What did she think I was like? Why would she want to be like me? When I think deeper I see things that may have inspired her. She saw me drive to and from school on my own. She heard me speak fluent English. She probably noticed my confidence.
So what did I do to get this? What did I do to get an education and family support in everything I wanted to do? Why doesn’t she have it? Why is she studying in a school that caters to the underprivileged? These are some of the questions that keep occurring to me.
And then, I realize I want to do all that I can to help Nabila be more than me. Not just Nabila. All those beautiful faces, all those really intelligent kids–I want them to grow out of the underprivileged cycle. I want them to grow up to be something. Perhaps someday someone can tell them, “I want to grow up to be like you.” InshaAllah.