President Obama & the Nobel Peace Prize

On the way to school this morning, Za’id had to study for two tests (grammar and Greek mythology) so we did not listen to NPR. After I dropped him off at school, I turned on the radio and heard for the first time that President Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. I called Za’id, but like the obedient son he often is, his phone was probably in his book bag locked in his locker. I wanted to tell him about Obama’s accomplishment because we have been talking about the president all week. Za’id’s composition teacher told the class to write about a person who has inspired them. Za’id chose Obama, but several times he considered abandoning his topic. “Mom, maybe I should write about my mother the way all of my classmates are doing.” Needless to say, I encouraged him to continue working on a piece about Obama. This morning he said, “Mom, I’m not going to read my piece aloud in class.” “Why?” I asked. “I don’t think my friends will get it. Why read it if it’s not going to be taken seriously?” I have not read the piece yet, but in our conversations this week Za’id and I have talked about some of the same characteristics that the Nobel Peace Prize committee site as reasons they gave the award to Mr. Obama. Za’id said Obama has shown him that it is important to have grace under pressure and that education is important. We talked about how Obama refused to publicly ridicule people who said demeaning things about him during the campaign. I told Za’id that it is difficult for me to remain cool, calm, and professional when people attack my life’s work, but I try harder to do so because I admire how Obama reacts to critics.
Za’id said his essay includes Obama, but he also writes about other black leaders who have inspired him. This makes me happy because as I wrote in my blog below about Judge Neal it is not easy for some young people to be comfortable exhibiting academic prowess; I am happy Za’id is learning how to seek out role models.   

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