Lessons Learned From Michelle Obama


Kate Shanahan

“Becoming,” a novel by Michelle Obama

Kate Shanahan, Staff Writer

On November 3, former First Lady Michelle Obama hosted a moderated conversation at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Obama came from humble beginnings and has worked hard for all her accomplishments. She spent the evening talking mostly about her recently published book, Becoming. Other major discussion topics included family, empowerment, relationships, and her child health campaign. 

Becoming is a memoir by Obama in which she opens up about deeply personal experiences with her parents, Barack Obama, her transition into the White House, raising two daughters, and making history. 

Growing up as Michelle Robinson was not easy. She did not have a luxurious childhood and her parents were not able to provide her with many materialistic goods. However, they gave her something much more valuable that no amount of money could buy: her voice. The dinner table was an important place in the Robinson’s household. Even though Obama and her brother, Craig, did not care much for some meals served by their mother, they appreciated every bite. 

Obama’s parents made a point of always listening to their children’s opinions and voices during dinner. This is something that has dramatically molded Obama into the woman she is today. Understanding the importance of developing a voice, Obama empowered her daughters through the dinner table just her parents did for her child. 

The transition into the White House was a new challenge for the Obama family to tackle. In her talk, Obama described the hectic experience of moving into a foreign place. After the first inauguration of Barack Obama, she had no idea where her daughters were or who was looking after them. Not knowing any of the people working for her family or where any of their belongings were was an uncomfortable feeling for Obama. However, her and her family soon became accustomed to the First Family lifestyle. This was when the surreal realization had occurred to Obama: her family had made history by being the first African American First Family. 

Obama was able to begin her own campaign work after adapting to her new lifestyle. She worked primarily on finding a cure to the child obesity epidemic plaguing America. Encouraging parents to make healthier choices for their children, reforming school lunch programs, and promoting physical exercise for kids everyday were some actions Obama took. 

Life as the First Lady had its struggles. The press and media were always in search of something or someone to tear down. Obama quickly became the center of their attention, and not in a good way. Through internal strength and the support of those around her, Obama was able to take the high road and not retaliate towards the false descriptions the media created. 

Overcoming numerous forms of obstacles throughout her entire life, Obama has an inspiring story for all. Having transformed from a working-class African American girl in an underprivileged community into the first African American First Lady, Obama shows that anything is possible with hard work and determination.