Nora Al Matrooshi
Nora Al Matrooshi Image Credit: Instagram/@astronaut_nora

Ever wondered what it takes to grow a child so confident that the world can’t shake her? What goes into building up self-worth in a person so that they carry their own weather?

The first Arab Emirati woman astronaut, Nora Al Matrooshi, offered some insight into how her parents instilled in her the belief that she could – and would – do anything that she set her mind to. During the launch of Lego campaign called, ‘Girls are Ready’, which aims to inspire more girls to take interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) through play, Al Matrooshi spoke of a ‘little girl’ via a pre-recorded message. The little girl with big dreams who wanted to be a doctor, an astronaut and so much more. Al Matrooshi said the girl told her parents about her wishes, and their response was key to how she would live her life and what she would go on to do.


She said: “They [the parents] told her, ‘you can be anything and you can go anywhere as long as you put your mind to it. If you believe you can do it, you can achieve it.’ So she believed, and her passion and her dedication guided her. She ignored the people who told her she couldn’t. Why? Because she believed in herself. She knew she was strong, she knew she was smart and she knew she was talented, and no one could tell her otherwise. And you know who that little girl is? That little girl is me and that little girl is you.

“There are 7.9 billion people here on Earth and among them there is no one like them, there is no one with your skills, with your talent, with your intelligence and your passion, and there is no one who can do the things you do. So all you wonderful kids out there, I want to say, be you, be kind, aim for the stars and work towards making all your dreams come true.”

For the first few years of a person’s life, their world revolves around a few people, namely their parents or parental figures. The concept of who they are will evolve with time and troubles, but that foundation is laid when they are young; it will define how they perceive the world and more importantly, how they see themselves.

According to the study ‘Parent involvement and student academic performance: A multiple mediational analysis’, published by US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, there is a statistically significant association between parent involvement and a child's academic performance, over and above the impact of the child's intelligence.

And as per the US-based Centre for Child Well-Being (2010), parental involvement in their children’s learning not only improves a child’s morale, attitude, and academic achievement across all subject areas, but it also promotes better behavior and social adjustment, quotesthe study ‘Parental Involvement in Child’s Education: Importance, Barriers and Benefits’, published in ‘Asian Journal of Management Sciences & Education’.

Not negating a dream is key. As Al Matrooshi explains, as long as you believe and you dream, you can reach for the stars – and you’ll make it.

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