A few days ago when I came home from school, my aunt said, “Come here Arifa. I want to see if my niece can cook. Now you have to cook for dinner.”

I said, “Aunt, there is already food for dinner. I don’t need to cook. I have to prepare for my school tests.”

She said “Come on. You always study but not this time. You cannot escape this time. One day you will get married; what will you do when your husband wants you to cook for him?”

I said, “Aunt, I am just 13 years old! I won’t get married soon.”

She said, “But it does not mean that you won’t get married forever. Can’t you see girls who are at the same age as you in villages—they know how to cook. I don’t know why you always think about your lessons! You know when I was a similar age I could cook everything.”

There was no escape from her, so I agreed, and I cooked. While I was making dinner, I remembered sentences I read in a book called “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne. She wrote about how you will become what you think about most. Your thoughts will become a real thing tomorrow. If your thoughts are good or bad, small or big, your mind will plan for what you think. After reading that, I wanted to change what I should become when I grow up.

I want to become a businesswoman who has the most beautiful hotel in the world. But what I see here is most of the girls are just thinking about how to cook a potato, while girls abroad are thinking about how to get accepted by the best university.

If women here think about becoming a president, they will. If they focus more about something better for themselves, they will get it. Not just president. They can think about being a businesswoman or a prime minister or a teacher who could teach girls in their village. I am sure this is much better then cooking a potato and sitting at home and doing the housework .

Let’s start changing our future for the benefit of ourselves. We start by changing our thoughts, because thoughts are the only thing that we can change now. Let’s make a better future with our biggest and best thoughts.

By Arifa, age 14