I went to see the movie, He Named Me Malala, with my Mother today. I thought the Lutheran Mother Theresa should see a story about Pakistan’s Mother Theresa. She watched the movie smiling ear-to-ear. She was riveted by Malala’s story of surviving an attack by the Taliban after speaking out for a girl’s right to an education, Her mission of worldwide education really resonates with my Mom.
I told her, “Now that Malala is born the next generation is in good hands, so you’re off the hook from being the one to save the world through education. My Mother was a pioneer in education. She started her career in 1966 as a foot soldier LBJ’s battle for a Great Society by helping high school dropouts get their GED. Then when refugees started to flood into Minnesota at the end of the Vietnam War my Mother helped the U of M write the curriculum for Minnesota’s new English as a Second Language Program. After nearly thirty years she retired from teaching, and began a second career as an Adlerian psychologist.
The reason my Mother has the “street cred” to be called a Lutheran Mother Theresa is besides being five feet tall and hunchbacked, she spent a year in India traveling from city to city teaching western style counseling. She then went to Africa to found a school for western counseling at Iringa University in Tanzania.
Her secret has always been to work one-on-one with her students; whether it was a single mother struggling to get her GED diploma; an immigrant from a war zone learning English; or a native African navigating the 21st century global world. My Mom has spent her live helping change the world one person at a time.