When Michelle Obama launched her book, it stirred up a lot of attention, followed by appreciation and love. Personally, I have been an avid follower of The Obamas. There aren’t any interviews and public appearances of The Obamas that I have missed or not watched for at least over a dozen times. I feel like there is this gravity that they have with their words and actions on people at large. You didn’t need to be a citizen of the United States, to love and adore them. So, when Michelle Obama came up with her book, it was a beautiful, well-planned surprise.
Like the title already suggests – Becoming is a book about transformation. The transformation from ordinary citizens to the most honored two individuals of the nation. When I picked up this book, I was looking forward to learning more about both Michelle and Barack Obama. I wanted to know about their journey as young individuals. And Michelle very gracefully captured all of it.
Becoming comprises of three parts – Becoming Me, Becoming Us, Becoming More. And I have noticed that the one thing that has stayed to be constant is the importance of parenting in her book. Perhaps, it was not a conscious decision on her part to make parenting and upbringing the central theme of the book, but nonetheless, it ended up making a mark. The commonality in both Michelle and Barack’s lives has to be their absolutely stunning upbringing. There’s a saying that a person’s upbringing tells a lot about them. And it clearly reflects through this book. When you see two great people, you wonder how they became like this. And Michelle’s book tells you that a lot depends on the kind of parenting they receive.
In the book, we get to know about Michelle’s mother and father, who happen to be great parents. They give Michelle and her brother Craig the kind of atmosphere where both the siblings grow and learn, irrespective of the lack of significant resources. They set an example to give your child a great upbringing; you don’t have to be supremely rich and live in a palace. All you have to do is – teach your children values that you practice in your life as well. But values aren’t everything if you don’t give your children – scope, freedom, and space to have their own opinions. Michelle speaks a lot about her parents, giving her and Craig a lot of space for them to grow. Even though they lived on the south side where resources were few and life wasn’t as easy – her parents never let the hardships dawn upon them. So, now, when I look at Michelle Obama, I see her as a product of some stunning parenting."The presence and absence of resources or wealth do not determine the quality of parenting." True right?
But, it’s not just Michelle’s upbringing that is a matter of significance in the book. The most important and critical point in the book comes when The Obamas move in The White House. I guess it’s still somewhat easy to bring up children with fewer resources because sacrifice and struggle happen to be two great teachers. Michelle recognized the threat of her daughters getting blinded with fame, privilege, and power. She realized that it would be a hundred times more difficult to make her daughters learn the values with which she grew up. Hence, Michelle did everything to keep her girls grounded. She reveals through her book that she made sure her daughters made their own beds, did their own laundry, asked only for things that they really needed. She made sure that even in their privileged lifestyle, her daughters were aware of modesty, humility, and kindness.
So, it doesn’t matter who you are and where do you come from. The presence and absence of resources or wealth do not determine the quality of parenting. It’s the people and their values that allow a nation to prosper by giving it great individuals as its citizens and flag bearers.