Malia and Sasha Obama moved into the White House when they were just 10 and seven years’ old.
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They lived there for eight years while their father Barack Obama served as US President from 2009 to 2017.
Now, former First Lady Michelle Obama has opened up about the challenges of raising their two children under such heightened scrutiny.
“I don’t want them measuring themselves by external influences, and for young girls, that is hard to do,” Obama told Oprah Winfrey during Oprah’s Your Life in Focus tour recently.
She said that she gives her daughters “so much advice that they are sick of me”.
But there’s one key lesson she hoped to pass on.
“They have to walk their own walk,” Obama said.
“They cannot define themselves by looking at each other or looking at me or their dad.
“They have to take the time to get to know themselves — give themselves a moment to figure out who they want to be in the world, not who they think I want them to be, not what the rest of the world says about them, but to really think about how they want to shape their lives and how they want to move in this world.”
It isn’t the first time Michelle Obama has made such statements.
In a 2012 commencement address for Oregon State University, the former First Lady said “success is only meaningful and enjoyable if it feels like your own”.
In her 2018 book, Becoming, Obama also named strong mentors as a major element of achieving success.
“I knew from my own life experience that when someone shows genuine interest in your learning and development, even if only for ten minutes in a busy day, it matters,” Obama said.
“It matters especially for women, for minorities, for anyone society is quick to overlook."’
And success is more than just one goal.
“For me, becoming isn't about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim,” she wrote.
“I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self... It's all a process, steps along a path.”
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