When you, dear Oriental, decide to have children, and bring them to this beautiful world, you must contemplate very carefully that you’ll end up with duties to deliver toward your child. You will also have to teach your beloved child that they will accumulate a burden of duties they will have to deliver towards you and the world.
You will also have to realize, dear mother, dear father, that your children are not your possession. You will not bring them upon this earth to control them. They are not dogs or donkeys you decided to raise in a moment of boredom. They’re people! They’re conscious. They have free will and minds, and are able to distinguish right from wrong from an early age.
The point of this rambling is to tell you, parents, that a human being has the right to choose whatever relates to their private lives. A human being has the right to choose their partner, work, where they live and what do to for fun. All you have to do, dear parent, is to relax and guide them to their adulthood. Arm them with the weapons of wisdom, the ability to choose right, and critique their own actions. Give them the guidelines and let them be!
You’ll have to bring them up under the notion of right and wrong. You’ll have to pass down your experiences and life lessons. You’ll have to teach them to respect themselves and to respect others… And to respect themselves means to allow it to choose! And to respect other is to respect others’ choices even if they don’t agree with the choices. You’ll have the right of objection! You’ll object to those choices you deem stupid, and oh those are going to be many! You will have the right to provide advice and express your opinion. You’ll go through endless arguments. You’ll practice the right of explaining your point of view, but eventually, it’s up to them to decide whatever it is they decide!
A 25 year old man lands a job offer in another country, and will have to relocate. You can try to have him reject the offer. But you don’t get to forbid him from going. An 18 year man decides to study architecture. You can pitch the idea of medicine instead. But eventually it’s his choice to make. A 19 year old woman decides to study medicine, who the hell are you to deny her studying medicine arguing it’s against Islam, or tradition to be co-eded? A 27 year old woman chooses a man, you find unfit, to marry. You have the right to put forth all the scenarios of hardship she might face. But eventually, she’s an adult who can evaluate other adults according to a set of standards she’s set for herself.
Let your children experience and make mistakes. Let them fail and solely be responsible. I don’t tell you to give your 15 year old son total freedom over his life. I am not saying your 16 year old daughter should have the say over her marriage. I am talking about those men and women who are considered adults in the eyes of the law. Those who are punished and tried if they committed crimes. I am not saying give them the choice about joining ISIS or becoming heroine addicts. In those cases you intervene, for to literally ending lives is not anybody’s choice! But if for some reason you thought that studying architecture is ending life, then you’re dramatic and mistaken. You don’t draw a path for them and ask them to walk it. I repeat, they’re not cows! Those are people with rights to choose and live their own experiences, not experience what you choose for them in the name of honoring thy parents!
Honoring you doesn’t mean you get to control their decisions. It doesn’t mean you tell them how to lead their lives. It is being kind to you, treating you kindly, taking care of you when you’re old, and asking about you. It is praying for you and help you when you need them. It is not honoring you when they abandon what they desire to please you. You’re not doing them a favor when you provide for them. To feed them, to educate them and provide for them is their right. They earned it when you accepted being pregnant, and bringing them to life. So you can’t use that to strip them from free will.
Our problem in the Orient is that we live collectively. We don’t value individuality. We’re opposite to the West who glorifies the individual and cancels the family. Both are on the wrong. We have to understand that we own our mistakes individually! Our mistakes should not reflect back on our families. Our messes are ours. But in our societies, if we sin, the whole family gets the blame and faces the executioner. If a woman is divorced, the whole family suffers. If a son loses all his money, we belittle the family. If a daughter fails her school, her family gets the blame. If someone is let go or fired we start rumors of addiction, alcoholism or sexual harassment! It is why our families don’t give us the room to make mistakes.
I have heard a lot of stories about men and women who acted out. A man spent his college days telling his family he was studying engineering while he was in Law School. His father threatened him he would cut him out financially if he studied Law. Another 25 year woman ran away to marry the man she chose. I realize a parent’s heart doesn’t withstand the idea that their offspring will fight battles, and may lose! No parents want to witness their kid’s hardships. But that doesn’t give you, the parent, the right to limit your child’s choices in the name of tradition and religion. You, as a parent, can’t manipulate heaven and hell, and drain your kids emotionally, because it’s selfish.
Why do you drive them to lying to you! Why do you let them fool you? Why do you just let them make the decision and help them. If they fail school, are you going to abandon them? If your daughter divorce her non-Orient husband, are you going to ask her to stay where she is and never come back home, because she chose the husband for herself? Are you going to bear that much grudge against them because they decided to live their own life?