Today is father’s day and, while I don’t like these ‘days’ much, I still feel the need to write something about fathers; my father, your father and all fathers out there.
My late father was a great dad, as great as your dad is or as anyone else dad is. I cannot imagine there are any bad, or even not-so-good, dads.
There may be some dads who are extremely successful in their lives and have been able to buy everything for their kids; bikes, cars, big houses, foreign travel. They are great dads. Their sons and daughters love them and are proud of them.
Then there are dads who have not been able to become as successful as they wanted to or as much as their kids wished. They have worked hard but probably not able to buy every thing for their kids; good house, good clothes and not even good education. And some down the road have not been able to buy even good food for their kids. These dads are not lesser heroes than any other dads; they are, in fact, bigger heroes than other successful dads. They have not only worked hard but also, unnecessarily, kept the pain of regret in their heart to not come up to their own or their kids expectation; If you have such a dad, you need to take care of him while you can.
Then there are dads who ultimately commit suicide because they cannot bear the thought of going empty hands back to their house from their work and face their kids. For them humiliation of a failed father is way too much. Without realizing that being bankrupt is not their fault but the failure of people and society around them. These are the dads who would have been super dads, better than all dads, if they lived and were successful.
My father was a learned person with two master degrees to his credit, author of over 100 books in Urdu and English and countless articles published in The Pakistan Times, The Nation, The Muslim, The Frontier Times and other newspapers. He started writing on Islamic Jurisprudence from the age of 26 and his last article was published at at age of 72, 6 days after his death. His home library contained thousands of books in Urdu, English and Arabic. He has given me big enough target of hard work to match and I have long way to go to match it. When I think about his achievements I feel good.
But that’s not the point of being a great father. My father could be completely illiterate, done something other than literary work, like work as a laborer in factory or somewhere else, and still a great father. Great fatherhood does not come from a particular kind of education, job or wealth. My grand father was like that and he was still a great father.
Some of the great things that happened to me because of my father are:
- He actively helped me pursued my hobby of playing with electronics and then computers, buying me an expensive computer, without worrying what I will do with that. I remember that he had announced a Rs: 100 prize for me in my 8th class if I could create a working radio from components.
- I was asked, expected and motivated to actually work (as a salesman on a shop) after my 10th class exams and then 12th class exams. The biggest learning of my life and getting rid of any shyness and ego of working outside my home and by doing a petty job.
- I was never forced in the choice of my study subjects or future direction. I was free to become whatever I wanted to. I could change my decision every day and he was not worried.
- My grades never mattered to him. He was ok as long as I got passing marks.
- I, along with my brothers and sister, were regularly taken to library to study and borrow books. This was the start of the development of self-learning which then never ceased.
- He actively worked to help me setup my business after my education helping me with setup of my office.
What could I ask for more?
In addition to wishing your dad a happy fathers’ day, you can also do one more thing to make him happy. And that is to become partially or fully self-reliant as much as soon as possible.
Let us get rid of our local tradition of completing our masters degree on the expense of our fathers money. Start working, start doing something, and earning money. Let your father live his life without worrying about you; the grown up adult.
One final note; Don’t worry if your dad is old fashioned. All great dads are simple and old fashioned. Celebrate that.
Happy father’s days to my father, my kids father and all fathers out there.