Michelle Obama and Zaya Wade held a virtual meeting on Thursday, March 4, to talk about the former first lady’s No. 1 bestselling memoir, Becoming, which was recently adapted for young readers. The daughter of basketball star Dwayne Wade asked Obama for advice for “teens who want to be themselves and thrive.”
Obama told 13-year-old Zaya, who identifies as transgender, “I am just so proud of you being just an amazing role model and embracing your truth. It does take time to know what yourself is, for young people. So, my first piece of advice is be patient with yourself. … This is the period of exploration, and sometimes we put too much pressure on teenagers to know who you’re going to be.”
During the conversation, Obama also explained that now is the time for kids to explore and that there’s nothing wrong with making mistakes. She reiterated the recurring topic in her memoir. “You’re not supposed to know yet. Your job now as a teenager is not to have it all figured out, but to give yourself space and time to learn and grow. So that means you want to try a lot of things on,” she said.
Wade and Obama also discussed the importance of not settling into a comfort zone and to always keep moving forward. “We all think that we thrive with people who are just like us. Getting a different perspective from someone else who isn’t like you really helps. And that definitely helped me in becoming me and defining my truth,” Wade added.
Obama said she wants her book to inspire young people and encouraged them to be fearless and try new things.
“At your age, or in the teenage years and probably through your 20s, you’re gonna be experimenting with so many versions of yourself, right? All young people are trying on different versions, different voices, they’re learning more about their intellect, they’re learning about what they love, what they’re good at, what they like. This is the period of exploration,” Obama told Zaya and the rest of the kids watching,
Check out the inspiring conversation between Obama and Wade on the next page from Beastblock TV.