Open let­ter to par­ents, guardians

The Manica Post - - Comment & Feedback -

ED­I­TOR — I do not know when you went to Pri­mary or High School but I started my pri­mary School in the 90s that gives you an idea of how old I am. There was a ten­dency by the school to give notes to pupils writ­ten “Dear Par­ent/Guardian” and th­ese would con­tain very im­por­tant mes­sages for the par­ent con­cern­ing the child. As I am writ­ing this ar­ti­cle I am seat­ing in my car typ­ing it on my phone.

You may want to know what has trig­gered such an ar­ti­cle. I am reading mes­sages to­day, mes­sages I seem to con­sis­tently re­ceive from stu­dents ask­ing about their ca­reer choices. One state­ment which is dom­i­nant is one which says, “I want to be this . . . but my par­ent(s)/guardian(s) doesn’t want me to do it. They want me to do this...” Have you ever done that to your child? If not I am glad, if you are do­ing that or once did, this ar­ti­cle is for you.

This week I am writ­ing a let­ter to all par­ents and guardians and please read it care­fully, slowly and se­ri­ously. Your Chil­dren might not be able to tell you what I am go­ing to tell you, hence I am go­ing to be their voice and speak out what they would want you to know.

Do not im­pose your dreams on your chil­dren

Dear Par­ent/Guardian, please do not im­pose your dream on your chil­dren. You may have wanted to be a doc­tor, lawyer, ac­tu­ar­ial sci­en­tist, teacher, what have you but you failed. Do not see your chil­dren as an av­enue for you to live your dreams. They also have their own dreams, they have their own as­pi­ra­tions. Let them live their lives. If you have a law firm that does not mean all your chil­dren have to be lawyers.

A frus­trated suc­cess­ful sur­geon

A real life story is of­ten told about a heart sur­geon who car­ried out one of the first suc­cess­ful heart trans­plant on hu­man be­ings. His fa­ther had al­ways wanted to be a doc­tor but this could not hap­pen for one rea­son or another. Heaven then blessed him with a child. He then re­solved that his child should be­come a doc­tor and set aside all the nec­es­sary re­sources for him to be­come a doc­tor. The child went to the school of medicine and passed with fly­ing colours. He went into med­i­cal prac­tice and he re­ally made a great dif­fer­ence in the commu- nity that he was liv­ing in.

The com­mu­nity then re­solved to hon­our the doc­tor who was help­ing the com­mu­nity so much, the doc­tor was in­vited and peo­ple started to give speeches in praise and ado­ra­tion to him. A time then came for the doc­tor to give a speech on how it felt to be in his po­si­tion. “I am tired of this; I do not like what I do. I never wanted to be a doc­tor in the first place. My fa­ther forced me to be a doc­tor,” re­marked the doc­tor. Shock­ing as that might be, the doc­tor poured out his heart. Later on the doc­tor in­di­cated that he wanted to be a mu­si­cian.

The morale of the story is that par­ents and other peo­ple alike need to al­low chil­dren to do what they want to do in life. You do not know the lives he is go­ing to reach out to when he as­sumes the ca­reer that he wanted. Do not be self­ish, al­low your child to ex­pe­ri­ence their dreams and fan­tasies. What they fan­ta­size about they can ex­pe­ri­ence it thus the ne­ces­sity to en­sure that they fan­ta­size about great­ness.

There is no ful­fil­ment in liv­ing a lie. There are sev­eral peo­ple who are liv­ing a lie as I write right now. You know very well that what you are do­ing is not what you wanted to do. You know what you wanted to do and up to now you have not man­aged to do it. Re­sist this temp­ta­tion to make your chil­dren into what they are not. It’s very pos­si­ble to ac­tu­ally be suc­cess­ful in what you are not. There is no ful­fil­ment in ful­fill­ing a wrong as­sign­ment. Do the right thing and do the right thing right. That’s the key to per­sonal and pro­fes­sional suc­cess.

If your par­ents per­sist on forc­ing their dream . . . What do you do?

This is ad­dressed to all the chil­dren out there. The so­lu­tion is sim­ple but not nec­es­sar­ily easy. I will give you a true story of a sim­i­lar case which moved me. A child ex­celled very well in school and ad­vised the par­ent of what he wanted to do. Like what some par­ents do, they turned him down and forced a de­gree pro­gram on him.

With no in­ten­tion to quar­rel the child took up the pro­gram and did very well. The day of grad­u­a­tion came and the young man grad­u­ated with fly­ing colours. He took the De­gree Cer­tifi­cate to his par­ents and said “mum and dad here is your de­gree . . . I am now go­ing to do mine.” This is what many chil­dren are go­ing through just to please you. Why don’t you al­low some­one to pur­sue their tal­ent?

We are not all aca­dem­i­cally gifted

The pur­pose of a par­ent is to cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment where your chil­dren will be able dis­cover their pur­pose. Trust me, we all want our chil­dren to ex­cel aca­dem­i­cally and bring home “As”. This is why we sent kids for ex­tra lessons, win­ter school, hol­i­day lessons and even lessons when schools are closed. Truth be told not ev­ery­one is gifted aca­dem­i­cally. Help your chil­dren dis­cover more about them­selves and their hid­den tal­ents. Why do they need to get “O” Level?

This I re­peat, even if you are not aca­dem­i­cally in­clined get the ba­sic qual­i­fi­ca­tion. We want sports peo­ple who can com­mu­ni­cate ef­fec­tively at in­ter­na­tional plat­forms, artists who are or­gan­ised, and con­fi­dent and elo­quent. The pur­pose of ed­u­ca­tion is not to make you rich but to open your mind. Sev­eral peo­ple can’t read con­tracts writ­ten in ba­sic English and their bound to some weird and queer con­trac­tual terms. Fight ig­no­rance.

Ed­u­ca­tion is not equal suc­cess

I am an At­tor­ney by pro­fes­sion, I write books and I speak to peo­ple. I have trav­elled more as a speaker than I have done as a lawyer. My in­ter­na­tional trav­els are con­nected to speak­ing en­gage­ments. I en­joy my le­gal prac­tice so much such that I can’t also af­ford to think about leav­ing law prac­tice.

Here is my point, I might never had this op­por­tu­nity to men­tor, speak and train peo­ple had I stuck my­self to what I have cer­tifi­cates for. I dis­cov­ered a pas­sion, a tal­ent which even com­ple­ments my pro­fes­sion and guess what I en­joy it! Do not send your chil­dren to school think­ing they would be rich. Ed­u­ca­tion does not make you rich; it sim­ply opens your mind. This is the rea­son why you need to com­mit your en­ergy to help­ing your chil­dren to dis­cover them­selves and be­come good at it.

◆ Arthur Marara is an at­tor­ney, au­thor, speaker, and ca­reer coun­sel­lor. Send feed­back to great­ness­ or +263 772 467 255.

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