By: Dr. Miranda George & Manahil – Special Contributors
I taught a voice lesson to Manahil where she got to choose a song to sing for our Spring Broadway recital. I played a song called, “Everybody Says Don’t”, which included the lyrics:
“Everybody says don’t…laugh at the king…well I say try! I say laugh at the king or he’ll make you cry.”
“That one!” Manahil exclaimed.
A few months later, this preteen Muslim girl sang those lyrics in front of an audience of parents and fellow students. I couldn’t be more proud. If you’re wondering how she felt singing those words:
MIRANDA GEORGE (MG): What is your view of the world today?
MANAHIL: It’s a little weird. There is a lot of new stuff, new ideas, new technology, new opportunities.
MG: Cool stuff?
MANAHIL: Yes, cool stuff! It’s a little hard to handle learning all of it but it’s also cool to experience. It’s both overwhelming and hopeful. I feel like we’re being told we have to understand it all and that’s not possible but it’s still really cool to experience.
MG: If you could make any changes to the way you’re educated in order to better help you handle this ever-changing world what change would you make?
MANAHIL: I would change standards. I don’t think we should have same standards for every single person.
MG: Could you expand on that a little?
MANAHIL: I have schoolwork. That is a “have to”. Then there are my hobbies like basketball and singing. My parents let me start taking lessons and they’re asking me to do a lot, they want me to achieve a lot. When they ask to see my progress and I don’t show them immediately when they ask, they doubt my abilities.
MG: You want adults to have more faith in you?
MG: How about current events? What are your feelings about that?
MANAHIL: It’s crazy. It’s absolute madness. [she laughs] There’s a million things going on. It’s really hard to balance out, to figure out what you are supposed to do.
MG: Would you say it’s easier to not pay attention to this current events crap and to just focus on your goals?
MANAHIL: No. I would say focus on what you want to do, but do pay attention to the rest of the world because sometimes it might benefit you. I like to watch the news sometimes and read current events because it’s hilarious, but I do learn from it.
MG: So pay attention.
MANAHIL: Yes, pay attention.
MG: Stay woke.
MG: You don’t know what stay woke means, do you?
MG: Well, that’s okay. What do you want adults to understand about your experience of the world?
MANAHIL: I get that it’s sometimes hard for adults to keep up with our minds but…
MG: ‘Cause y’all are crazy.
MANAHIL: Yes, we do weird things. I think adults should try to better understand what we are learning. Sometimes if we don’t want to show what we know immediately, it may mean we are not ready yet [to share], not because we don’t know [the material].
MG: Maybe you’re not ready to share, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there.
MG: Any final thoughts you would like to add?
MANAHIL: The world is crazy.
MG: If you had magical powers and you could make the world a better place in one or two ways what would you make happen?
MANAHIL: World peace. Like, ALL of the world. To give people more integrity. In general making people be nice to one another, not discriminating based on appearance. Get rid of racism, sexism, and all that.
MG: Wouldn’t that be nice?
MG: Words of wisdom from Manahil. Thank you so much.
MANAHIL: Thank youuuu.
Manahil is a 12-year-old basketball playing, singing, reading, doodling, little brother avoiding, homework slaying, middle-schooler in Texas.
As we near the close of Women’s History Month 2017, we have curated
What is important to you?
What is it like to be a girl in your world?
What is something you think Adults need to know about your world?
Or just asked them to tell us something about their world.
SIL Blog would like to extend a tremendous “THANK YOU” to these young ladies and their parents, in Manahil’s case, Dr. George, for sharing their message and lending their voices and words conversation and celebration of Women’s History Month 2017.