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Becoming


An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the ...
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Discuss Becoming by Michelle Obama:
How did Mrs. Obama's insight into the roots of failure shape her work and mission as First Lady? What can we all do to help break this cycle?

Created: 01/01/19

Replies: 3

Posted Jan. 01, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2143

How did Mrs. Obama's insight into the roots of failure shape her work and mission as First Lady? What can we all do to help break this cycle?

In discussing her neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago, Michelle Obama writes, "Failure is a feeling long before it becomes an actual result. It's vulnerability that breeds with self-doubt and then is escalated, often deliberately, by fear." How did this insight shape Michelle Obama's work and mission as First Lady? What can we all do --- as individuals, parents and community members --- to help break this cycle?


Posted Jan. 15, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
paulak

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 112

RE: How did Mrs. Obama's insight into the roots of failure shape her work and mission as First Lady? What can we all do to help break this cycle?

I think Michelle Obama's quote that "failure is a feeling long before it's an actual result" speaks volumes about how she approaches trying to break the cycle. Helping young people understand what is possible and encouraging them to reach for it is a way of interrupting that cycle.


Posted Jan. 17, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
elise

Join Date: 04/22/11

Posts: 58

RE: How did Mrs. Obama's insight into the roots of failure shape her work and mission as First Lady? What can we all do to help break this cycle?

Mrs. Obama saw how putting a child in an environment that is not nurturing makes the child feel marginalized and unimportant. I think programs like Head Start are very important to ensure kids start in a positive environment while very young. The Local Foodbanks in my area (Cleveland/Akron OH) also partner with the schools to provide backpacks, school supplies, and easily prepared weekend meals for the children. I think these programs are very important for the health and self esteem of low income children.


Posted Jan. 25, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ylhoff

Join Date: 10/23/12

Posts: 65

RE: How did Mrs. Obama's insight into the roots of failure shape her work and mission as First Lady? What can we all do to help break this cycle?

Mr.s Obama's family reflects my own upbringing in that she saw both successful people and not successful people throughout her childhood and learned something from each as she began to shape who she wanted to be. Because she had a home life that gave her the space to be observant and to reach her own conclusions about the personalities that surrounded her, she had the time to reflect on what she saw. She noticed the small lives of her aunt and uncle, as well as the uncle whose life was limited because of his distrust of anyone who wasn't black, the dentist, etc. She noted the lives of those who lived with more money and in better neighborhoods and decided she wanted that as well ... without letting the harder journey it would take to get there deter her from trying. She had parents who didn't raise her or her brother to look at the boulders in front of them, rather they taught them that life was often hard for people of color, but that was no excuse for not excelling anyway. I believe it was crucial that her parents had a stable relationship and while money was not always plentiful, they always had enough.

She held herself apart from her environment well enough to look at failure dispassionately rather than letting it decide how her life would go. In some ways she was lucky, in other ways, she decided the direction of her life.

I think the answer to the second question varies for different groups of people in different walks of life. Everyone has a part to play, but I think that at this point, a heavier burden sits at the feet of the people who would most benefit from adopting a mindset of taking every step to speak up for themselves, to take the opportunities placed in front of them, and most importantly, ignore the circumstances and the negative voices that would push them backwards or hold them down. There are a lot of people just like Mrs. Obama, with same background and experiences, who have quietly moved through life becoming more than what society tells them they can be. They may not have made the same blazing path nor were they gifted with public acknowledgment, but they have reached a level of success that makes them fulfilled. Those who have managed it need to be just like the mentors and advocates she encountered throughout her life and take the opportunity to pay it forward as she has.


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