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A young man from Pakistan, writes on how he would want to raise his daughter. A must read post, this Father’s Day weekend.
I believe there are ways and ways of bringing up a child.
My daughter will be the talk of the town, for reasons of her own. For a woman in a conservative society, I believe freedom is synonymous with rebellion. Since I intend to ensure she has freedom to do/to be whatever she wants to do, I will have to ensure she grows up like a fighter. My understanding is, if you are living with animals, you have to know how to fight with them. Only quietness and peace-within will do nothing – they will come after you, no matter what.
Also, I wish to ensure she does not face any racial/gender pressure. It is true that in patriarchal societies like ours, she will face male chauvinists everywhere. She has to become brave enough to give those b&^#!rds the run for their money. I will teach her the best of fighting tools, so that if she gets into a scuffle and if someday she’s attacked, she can deal with those cowards. I will teach her how to operate a gun as well. I know life is unpredictable anywhere in the world, especially in Pakistan.
I will also tell her that I too would have wished to be born a woman, if I had a choice before my birth.
That aside, she will be the talk of the town for what she is. I don’t want her to feel lesser than anybody. She will not disrespect anyone, but she will not take disrespect from anyone either. Self-respect is what matters most. I will tell her that being a woman is the most wonderful thing in this universe. I will also tell her that I too would have wished to be born a woman, if I had a choice before my birth.
Choice. Choice is what I tell her is most important. She should stand by her choices, face the fire if need be, take the roses, if life presents them to her. I will not teach her any religion, but values. Simple humane values, like don’t lie, don’t cheat, don’t hurt, etc. I will tell her that the truth stands alone in the face of lies. (I know that will make her invite trouble! Because life is not fair and liars usually take the cake.) Thus, she has to be strong.
Most importantly, I will tell her to follow her heart, always.
I will tell her how life is a matter of chance, and as we are here on our own, so we have to show some humility in front of this vast a universe.
I will definitely make her read books (of her choice). I will tell her that Art is more important than Science. I will tell her how life is a matter of chance, and as we are here on our own, we have to show some humility in front of this vast a universe. Still, I will teach her that she can go for any religion of her choice. I will tell her that dreams are very important for her health, both mental and physical. And no dream is achieved without striving hard.
I will tell her that humility is one thing I learned from a dear friend, and that it’s good to have some humility. But I will also tell her that very rare people will admire her bowing, so she should know who deserves her bow; also, that manners and courtesies are a must for life as is the carefree voyage like the wind. I will tell her that travelling the world alone or even with a dear companion will enrich her internal life. So that’s a must as well.
I will tell her that selfishness is not a virtue. It is humane to share, to give away!
I will tell her that selfishness is not a virtue. It is humane to share, to give away! I will tell her it is okay not to have money. It’s perfectly alright! I will tell her it’s neither ideas nor money which is the most important thing in life, but the people are. Yes, humans! Without them, this world is a piece of crap!
I will teach her to love animals and forests; and I will teach her how this world is being ruined by the profit-mongering mafias of Capitalism. I will tell her it’s okay to have a little house. Big houses and big cars are not important. I will tell her to love! Love thy neighbour, love thy fellow beings and love them at heart and do something for them when they need you. I will tell her not to expect much in return. Be content and feel good inside.
I will tell her this: Even if she does not follow anything I say, or tried to teach her, as she chooses not to learn, I will still respect her choice and love her forever. Because she will be my dream that came true!
And lastly, I will tell her that we all die. It does not matter how we die, what matters is how we lived and how good we were for others.
(This post is a part of letters exchanged with a friend on bringing up a child. Published with due permission although the author is not named, on request. Minor edits for readability).
Father and daughter image via Shutterstock
Proud Indian. Senior Writer at Women's Web. Columnist. Book Reviewer. Street Theatre - Aatish. Dreamer.
Nicely written !! Thanks for sharing !!
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