Open letter to parents, guardians
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or +263 772 467 255.