“We never get what we want,
We never want what we get,
We never have what we like,
We never like what we have.
And still we live & love.
My mom used to tell me a story regarding life and its choices; she always would tell me to choose wisely: one wrong move and you will ruin your whole life.
“The story of a Shoe”
“A girl was planning a long journey, a long time ago. So she bought a pair of shoes which she THOUGHT looked nice as well as comfortable. She had bought them without even trying them out for a while or asking anyone’s advice. When she started on her journey, the new shoes started pinching her feet. She ignored the hurt for a while, thinking that they are new and are bound to become comfortable after wearing them for some time. So she continued her journey
After a while, they did get comfortable a bit, particularly when she wore a pair of socks as well.
The journey was long. The socks got torn and the shoes started hurting her again
Soon there were blisters on the feet and then they burst and started bleeding because she continued her journey with the shoes on and had no choice, as that was the only pair she had. She met people on the way but she couldn’t tell them that the shoes hurt. After all, they were her own choice and she had to stick with the choice she made for herself.
Even if she told someone, the pain and the suffering she was going through, only she knew, no-one else could understand or feel its gravity.
She would take the shoes off at night, but the pain was too much and either gave her nightmares or a sleepless night because of constant aching in her wounds.
So she waited every day and prayed when the journey would end. Whenever she looked down the road, all she could see was a distant, empty horizon; and a very long way to go alone with that constant pain.
May be, Allah was testing her courage, tolerance and the constant hurt”.
Who do you think won in the end, I often wondered???
I teach under-graduates as well as post-graduates. My favorite question to them is “WHY ARE YOU BECOMING A DOCTOR”. I am always surprised at the variety of answers I get:
“I want to make a lot of money”, not bad; these days, criterion of a successful person is the one who makes a lot of money at the end of the day.
“My parents wanted it”, an answer I get quite often.
“So I could find a good spouse”, another popular answer. Female doctors are considered to make good house-wives and better mothers (can help in their children’s education).
“To serve humanity” is a very unpopular reason to become a doctor. That makes me wonder how our values have changed with time. Now we are living just for ourselves. We teach our children that money is what makes a person powerful and successful; it can buy anything but we often forget that it cannot buy HAPPINESS, HEALTH, SERENITY, CONTENTMENT AND AN INNER PEACE.
I see my peers working in teaching hospitals in the morning, then after a couple hours afternoon nap, they get busy in their private practice and come home middle of the night; by the end of each day, their bank balance multiplies and they go home happy, feeling rich. I ask them sometimes, “How much time are you giving to your families”. They always talk about “quality time“; according to them a few hours over the weekend, taking the kids out to cinema, park or a club is enough; it suffices to make them a good parent. Wives have a surplus amount of money for shopping so everyone is happy spending it while our Hard -Working Doctor is just a money making machine. Once that machine gets old and retired from work, then he realizes that the kids, who have grown up now, have no time for him as they have nothing in common; no common topics to talk about, no hobbies or interests to indulge in together, the wife doesn’t know what to do with him as she has led all her life developing her own interests while our good Doctor was busy making money.
Now our good doctor sits alone in a park on a bench under a tree and reminisces about his life, what he achieved and what has he lost. He still has a healthy savings account but could it buy him company of his children or his wife NOW?……… …….
This writing is meant for parents who dream about making almost all their children DOCTORS.
I belonged to a middle-class family. My parents never forced me to become a doctor but it was my inherent wish to become so and to serve people. Being a girl, with hardly any extra-curricular activities, it was easy for me to be locked up in my room and study with the result that I got a scholarship in Matric (O Level) and F. Sc (A Level) and got admission into the only all-women medical college on merit and with a scholarship. Obviously, I was expected to do well.
When I looked around at my class of 300 girls, most of them were there to comply to their parent’s wishes so they could find grooms from good families and could settle well in life; only a few were really motivated and inspired to become good doctors. After graduating, I went abroad, did fellowship and received an excellent post-fellowship surgical training. After 18 years of working abroad, I came back home and met my classmates at an annual reunion. I was not surprised to learn that only 40 of them were working and only 12 had done post-graduation in different faculties of medicine. The remaining were happily-married house wives.
Life of a female doctor is not easy. When she is studying at the medical college, she has no time for family, relatives, family gatherings, festivities; either there are exams or projects to complete. Hence none of the family is really happy with her. Most doctors graduate at the age of 24-25 years after which one years’ internship is mandatory. This is the prime time that a girl should be married and settled. Now starts the real test in life. This young female doctor has two choices: either give up her career, make a good house wife, keep her husband and in-laws and happy and give them grand-children. This makes all the people in her life happy.
But what about her??? Did she strive so hard all her student life to just give up her career to make everyone else happy. If she had been a high achiever; could she now give it all up. This is a very difficult decision and a very hard choice. If she decides to go ahead with her career aspirations and do post-graduation, she must remember that she is opting for a very tough life for herself.
Since her biological clock starts ticking by the time she graduates, she ought to be married and have at least one kid. Then she has to start working towards her post-graduation which demands at least 3-4 years of training in a teaching hospital and then passing two-three exams. Along with this, in our culture, it is a woman’s responsibility regarding the children, their care, up-bringing; then house-keeping, looking after the husband, in-laws, relatives,. Hence she has to full-fill the roles of a wife, mother, daughter-in-law, house-maker and in addition a DOCTOR and a POST-GRADUATE TRAINEE.
Hence, I don’t think my classmates made a wrong choice when they settled to make good house-wives unlike a few of us, who had to wear so many hats all the time, work so hard and even then, they fail to make everyone around them happy.
I OFTEN WONDR WHO MADE A BETTER CHOICE, ME OR THEM………………………………
When I was a little girl, I read this quote written at my school entrance, “Education is not INFORMATION, its FORMATION”.
I never understood at that time what it really meant, but now, after many years when I have entered into this field, I have realized the true significance and value of this one phrase.
I see school-going kids carrying huge bags full of books on their backs. After daily carrying this huge load on their frail backs, their back-bone just bends and their posture is ruined for the rest of their lives. I stare at all those kids while dropping off my daughter to school and wonder what kind of education are we really imparting; this torture starts in KG 1 & 11 and then continues for the next 10-11 years of their school life.
I meet parents at the end of term parent-teacher meetings and listen to them complaining to the teachers that their kid did not get an “A” or an “A+” in one subject or the other though he/she has been studying so hard. I frown at them and think, what kind of parents are they: don’t they know that all children are different with different learning abilities, capacities to grasp a subject. As parents, it is their job to know what are the strengths and weaknesses of their child and what are his/her limitations. Why are our expectations so high from our kids. They are not computers or is it what we are striving to make them. They should have an excellent memory to retain what has been taught to them and reproduce with perfection.
I would like to draw the attention of my readers,, who are parents already and those who are going to be, to a few points:
1) Our children are our future.
Please do not ruin their mental faculties my making them cramming machines. This makes them develop tunnel-vision; they lose all their ability to question things, to ponder upon facts, to apply their own minds at the information being fed to them.
By this attitude, how can we even think we’ll be able to produce scientists, leaders, thinkers, visionaries.
2) All children are born with different mental capabilities.
If one of our kids is an A+ student, we cannot expect all our children to be like him/her. Some children are quick to grasp things, some need more time and a lot of patience by the parent or the teacher to make them understand.
It is our job to understand our each child and make things easier and interesting for him/her to understand. We need to inspire and motivate them to study rather than make them hate their books or a particular subject.
3) Please do not develop very high expectations from all your kids or set very high goals or standards. This can result in childhood depression, physical illnesses and very unhappy children.
Life is tough as it is; let them enjoy and cherish their childhood. Only happy children make happy, successful adults.