WOTM: Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama: Her Story

“We learned about honesty and integrity - that the truth matters... that you don't take shortcuts or play by your own set of rules... and success doesn't count unless you earn it fair and square.” - Michelle Obama

America’s first ever African American first lady, Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama was born on the 17th of January 1964 to Fraser Robinson and Marian in Chicago. Michelle was raised in a small apartment on Chicago's more rural South Side. “And I come here as a daughter, raised on the South Side of Chicago - by a father who was a blue-collar city worker and a mother who stayed at home with my brother and me”. The family was close knit, usually sharing meals at the dining table, reading together, sharing thoughts and playing family games together at the end of the day. Michelle and her family believed that although their days could be packed with a mountful of activities and were strictly busy, there was always time to spend and share with their family.

Growing up, Michelle and her older brother Craig did not always live the easy, spoon-fed life. Knowing their parents’ struggles to make ends meet, both siblings were always supportive of them and would never complain nor cause much trouble in the household. The siblings shared close quarters. They would sleep in the living room with a sheet serving as a makeshift room divider. Despite their situation, both children were raised with a great emphasis on education. They learned to read by the young age of 4, and both later on skipped second grade. 

Michelle was a gifted student, managing to score outstanding results in all her tests and exams. By sixth grade, she was attending gifted classes, where she learned French and took accelerated courses. She later went on to attend her city's first magnet high school for gifted children where, among many other activities, she served as the student government treasurer. Michelle strived and shined in all she did as she always put in all her efforts to making the best of the situations she was put in as well as the responsibilities she was given. “I never cut class. I loved getting A's, I liked being smart. I liked being on time. I thought being smart is cooler than anything in the world”.

Not long after her marriage to The President of The United States, Barack Obama, Michelle left her job to launch a career in public service. She had also became the executive director for the Chicago office of Public Allies which was a nonprofit leadership-training program that helped young adults develop skills for future careers in the public sector. Michelle’s focus was to give back to and to help the society, especially the young adults. Throughout her husband’s campaign, Michelle provided both him and their daughters the support they needed. 

After her husband was elected President, Michelle Obama became quite the fashion icon and role model to women globally. Other than that, she has also become an advocate for nutrition, poverty awareness, physical activity and healthful eating. She has supported the organic food movement, getting the White House kitchens to prepare and serve organic foods for guests and her family. “We can make a commitment to promote vegetables and fruits and whole grains on every part of every menu. We can make portion sizes smaller and emphasise quality over quantity. And we can help create a culture - imagine this - where our kids ask for healthy options instead of resisting them”

Michelle has focused her attention on important issues such as the support of military families, helping working women balance career and family, and encouraging national service. During the first year of Barack’s presidency, Michelle and her husband volunteered at many homeless shelters and soup kitchens in the Washington, D.C. area. Michelle also has made appearances at many public schools, stressing on the importance of education and volunteer work. 

Living in the eyes of the public, having Secret Service protection, staying in the White House has drastically changed their daughters’ lives. Nonetheless, both Michelle and her husband try to make their daughters' lives as normal as possible. They set times for studying, playtime, sport activities, going to bed and getting up. "My first priority will always be to make sure that our girls are healthy and grounded. Then I want to help other families get the support they need, not just to survive, but to thrive”. Of course, Michelle’s main priority that she takes very seriously is being a mother. She has nurtured her two daughters to grow into the lovely young women they are today and has tried her best to make them feel as comfortable as possible in their inescapable popularity and responsibilities that came with their status.

Michelle Obama has been and will continue on to be an inspiring role model and mother figure to all young women out there. Her quirky but serious personality has been a huge influence to many girls who are looking to be the next women figures of America and even the world. May you continue to spread your invigorating energy and inspire others, Michelle. “One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals. And so when I hear about negative and false attacks, I really don't invest any energy in them, because I know who I am”.


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