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Malala Helps Us to Appreciate Canada

Malala Helps Us to Appreciate Canada

By Susan Williams

I remember the first time I watched the Jon Stewart interview of Malala Yousafzai. I was nothing but short of amazed.

Here was a sixteen year old girl who was so motivated to improve the lives of the girls in her country through the rights to education that she was willing to place at risk her most valued possession – her life.

Not only was she willing to sacrifice her life for this cause but she also demonstrated a level of compassion towards others that well surpassed what we would have expected any human to show in her situation.

As I thought about Malala’s plight, it made me think of other great people that had come before her.  Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa are also examples of other individuals who believed so strongly in their causes that they were willing to put on the line their own personal needs, safety and in some cases their lives to stand up for what they believed in.

All of this made me stop and think about what I would be willing to die for.

I know that I would easily give my life for my family but what I was wondering was whether there was a cause that I felt so strongly about that I would be willing to put my life on the line for.  As I began to think I suddenly realized why nothing quickly jumped to my mind and then I realized why – I am Canadian.

As Canadians we are blessed.

We have access to food, housing, education and healthcare.  We have social programs to support the less fortunate, police forces to maintain order and the ability to influence our government through our votes.  We have human rights which are defended in our court systems and the ability to speak our opinions. We are not fighting on a daily basis for our basic human rights and dignities.  If we did not have these things in our everyday lives, then we too would probably also be willing to put our lives on the line to get them.

Now I’m not naive – I know that there are lots of things that could be improved in Canada (and I have a list of these too) but I think we sometimes forget how fortunate we really are until individuals like Malala remind us.

There is a phrase that is often used –“those to whom much is given, much is expected.”

Maybe as Canadians that is our responsibility. 

Maybe what we need to do is continue to remember how fortunate we are and be willing to give our support for those trying to have the same rights and freedoms that we often take for granted.

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Susan Williams is the Founder of Booming Encore. Being a Boomer herself, Susan loves to discover and share ways to live life to the fullest. She shares her experiences, observations and opinions on living life after 50 and tries to embrace Booming Encore's philosophy of making sure every day matters.