Keep trying | By Faiza Abdur Rab 

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Keep trying


WHEN I was a kid, I had several difficulties; one of them was that I used to take a longer time to understand and get familiar with new things. “You can keep trying” used to be my father’s words whenever I looked for help from him. He was a doctor.

Realizing that I have difficulty in learning, he used to ask me to translate and write in English, a practice that he introduced to me which became an activity that I used to enjoy the most. He used to teach me casually the whole day, particularly during meals.

Mom used to teach me Urdu etc which was more difficult for me to learn however my parents never forced me to do anything particularly studies merely to fulfil their wishes. Their advice was “never learn for marks”, comprehend the content.

These days, parents force their children to do everything to fulfil their dreams, even those things which they themselves could not achieve.

Additionally, they humiliate their kids for their shortcomings. Fulfilling the wishes of children should never be confused with a good upbringing.

My father worked abroad and he had very good earnings but we lived a simple life and ate freshly prepared food at home. My parents have a lot of time for us.

Major expenses incurred on high quality food, education and books. Whenever we ask our father to buy us something that our fellow children have, he used to suggest nothing comes for free work for it in a fair manner to get it.

We had to either learn something new or not to fight with other siblings or something similar whatsoever he used to suggest us to do as a part of good upbringing.

Forgive others, be patient, kind and fairly justified and, above all, “first deserve, then desire” were his pieces of advice that helped me throughout my life e.g. owning the responsibility of failures, not to complain and blame others while respecting privacy and keeping secrecy.

When we were hand to mouth our parents advised us to work in a fair manner rather than seeking financial support from others even when we were studying as well. We entirely did self study only throughout our life and never took tuition.

My research project in the UK was in an unrevealed area of knowledge and inadequate funding to support my living during my study made it even more challenging.

My father believed firmly that I could be successful as he took a promise from me to go back and complete my studies when he was in bed before his death.

My work revealed the most novel findings in our area of expertise and now I am a reviewer of the Royal Society of Chemistry for all of their Journals; Alhamdulillah, a worldly achievement for which, I am sure, he must be celebrating in the heavens, but I myself find it difficult to believe that I am probably the only Muslim woman scientist working as Assistant Professor in a University in Pakistan who has become Reviewer of Royal Society of Chemistry for all of their Journals in reported world history.

Life has taught me many lessons, one of them is: people can dishonour, defame, harm, hurt or even kill any individual but can never steal or copy the knowledge and understanding on the subject the person has.

So always stay focused while being fair, creative, positive and justified and never give up trying.

These days a maid takes care of children and feed them, tutors help them in their studies and mobile phones are their companions.

If children do not perform as per parents’ set standards, they are taken to a psychiatrist or soul healer (Aamil) or both. Genomic profiling is also used to establish the presence of abnormality.

Children, having any difficulties in showing unusual genomic profile, are usually treated as special individuals which in turn in most of the situations make them deprived of acceptability, basic emotional and upbringing support.

Most of the parents are neither prepared to invest their time, support and efforts other than hired parenting at the most nor is the family system so integrated these days that other close relatives can do the needed parenting as it used to happen in olden days.

Whereas in reality, it is revealed that defect in genes does not necessarily is demonstrated as a defect in the living entity including human beings as nature has its own mechanism to cover the impairment and to repair it in certain cases over a period of time, also indicating that food and environment are critical factors modulating the overall health and mind well being, revealed in our findings during my research study conducted around two decades ago in the UK but stayed unreported as yet.

Genomic profiling was not available around four decades ago, many individuals having shortcomings managed to spend a quality life while several created historical impact merely because their parents believed in their children and in spite of their shortcomings took pain to raise them well while offering unconditional support and respecting their individuality and personal space.

Raise children well, support them and love them unconditionally as their failures are not barriers; tell them “You can keep trying”.

—The writer is Assistant Professor, Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Karachi.

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