For this week’s Sunday Kindness we wanted to do something a little different (because who doesn’t love a Sunday shake up?) so we’ll be sharing something special from our Program Days with the kids.
During Program Days we use AIME TV Interviews as a tool to bring world class mentors into the room to share their wisdom and allow the kids to imagine what’s possible. Since 2017, leaders in their field have lent their voices to AIME TV, including Adam Goodes, Taika Waititi, Swati Dlamini Mandela and many more.
Today, we are going to share an excerpt from one of our interviews. And over the next year we’ll start to open up AIME TV for all of you, so it can be used in classrooms across the planet to download the wisdom from some of the great mentors of our time.
Are you ready for your sneak peak?
Manal Al Sharif threw Saudi Arabia into a frenzy when she posted a video of herself driving on social media. Manal co-founded and led the #Women2Drive movement, to challenge the ban on women driving in her country. She was arrested and imprisoned for nine days for “driving while female”. She kicked off a movement that resulted in the country reversing its laws to allow women to drive in June 2018.
JMB: How do you trust that voice inside of you when everything else around you is saying that it’s wrong?
Manal: I think that when you are not happy and when people expect you to meet their expectations… you try to make them happy – your family, your society, the religious people, teachers; but the more I was making them happy, the more I was miserable and unhappy. So that was wrong. That is what felt not natural.
I started questioning more and more these rules. And the more I questioned them, the more they shut me down, and that made me question more. If it was the truth, it shouldn’t be that difficult to explain. It should be natural.
The day you know who you are, before the world told you who you should be, that is the day you are free. You know your true purpose on this planet.
JMB: How do you think you find that?
Manal: By being more and more yourself. I meditate. So when you pray, you speak to God. But when you meditate, God speaks to you. We all have God within us. We always look for God in family, in therapy and in books, in churches and in mosques. But it is here (gestures towards heart), the inner peace and being is here.
JMB: Can you take us back in time to the moment you defied the odds and you got in that car to drive? What was running through your body and mind?
Manal: Actually, my defiance didn’t stop by driving a car. My defiance started when I uncovered my face. I covered my face all my life. 21 years. The day I uncovered my face, I found out who I was. It took me ten years, by the way… from the time I decided to uncover myself until the time I actually went out in public with my face fully uncovered and my hair, too. I think that was my biggest defiance, it wasn’t breaking the rules and restrictions around me, it was really breaking the chains within me.
JMB: Do you actually think that human beings have the capacity for change? Or do you think that you are particularly unique?
Manal: Once you decide to, of course you can change. You can change your world.
I think when we start changing ourselves, so does the world around us. We can choose to help, encourage, support and inspire our circle of influence. You don’t have to influence 7 million people. …By being a better person and knowing who you are, you will inspire and support the people around you.
Imagine if everyone thought this way, the world would be different.
JMB: It would be a special world. Have you got a final message you would like to share with kids around the world?
Manal: Know who you are, love who you are … you are unique and beautiful. Just the way God created you.
Manal Al Sharif
4th August 2019