Every now and then life gives us individuals, moments in time, movies, disasters, victories, elections and role models that change the course of history forever. We struggle to find ways to package such people and events to summarize their profound effect on life or history, and at best, we can only muddle through phrases that barely seem to do them justice. One such individual who will surely leave a legacy for many young and old alike to admire is none other than our First Lady Michelle Obama.
As a Health Coach and Corporate Trainer, I remember not so long ago not being able to find a single African American woman to look up to who had done anything significant in our state of failing health and wellness. Now, with reality TV, anyone can become a self-proclaimed champion for the people, not only in the fitness industry but in self-help and coaching arenas as well. Everyone is a “guru” to better your life.
But in the case of our First Lady Michelle Obama, not only has she proven to be a champion for the people, such as our Veterans; she’s launched national initiatives like “Let’s Move”, fighting childhood obesity and “Joining Forces”, mobilizing support for service members and their families. She’s written two books and even beat Jimmy Fallon in a push up contest with a stellar sense of humor.
She is a child wellness advocate, a corporate game changer, an advocate for poverty awareness and most of all, an amazing role model as a mother. She is the first African American woman in the White House to bring forth programs such as Let’s Move, fighting childhood obesity; planted a White House vegetable Garden and bee hive that supported many local and state-wide field trips to educate about the importance of growing your own agriculture and the President’s and First Lady’s own dietary needs. She danced and exercised her way through commercials, the Disney channel, and even Sesame Street so that every child from the youngest to oldest could identify with her message to the masses that we must educate our next generation about the importance of their health through food and exercise. She rapped her way to the top of the YouTube charts and even I posted some of her amazing workout videos from her own training sessions. She never just started initiatives; she was living the movement through her very own lifestyle by example.
I remember talking to my nine-year-old son Joshua one day as we were about to play a game of soccer in the front yard and he paused to watch a commercial before heading outside. He said, “Wait Mommy, my President and First Lady are on TV talking about exercise.” He watched intently and as the commercial went off he said, “I wonder what would happen if one day we had a White President and First Lady in office. Would they exercise too?” In that moment, I felt the tears and emotions rise in my spirit as it never dawned on me that in his generation, he only knew an African American President and First Lady and their example to the world was one I could be ever so proud of. Not only from a political stand point, but even a role model family.