To my three beautiful children, this Father’s Day, please forgive me

Published: June 18, 2017

Dear Muhammad, Maryam and Zaynab – I will love you all always and forever. PHOTO: SHAR

Dear Muhammad, Maryam and Zaynab,

Life is a system of cycles. One event or historical phenomenon, which takes place, tends to repeat itself albeit after numerous years. Personal histories and legacies are all the same. As we grow up, we love our parents (biological or otherwise) when we are young.

This idealism gives way to rebellion once, we as children, start to explore the world around us and subsequently discover boundaries in the shape of rules and limitations set by our parents.

The rebellion may or may not increase in each individual case but it is there to some extent. This rebellion stabilises when we are old enough to venture out on our own. Life comes full circle when we have our own children and develop an understanding that we never had, now that we are truly in their shoes.

Whether we like to admit it or not, in the end, as parents we end up realising that the scolding, restrictions and denials we got from our parents on matters throughout our life was their way of protecting us from something that they thought would hurt us.

You, my children, will also go through the same. I do know that you will hate me as much as you love me right now. You idealise me and want to do exactly what I am doing professionally but this is going to go away. Super baba is going to become a loser with age. Being Father’s Day, I think it is best to extend a few pieces of advice about some lessons of life, I have personally learned throughout my years, in the hope that these will be beneficial to anyone who reads them.

Dear Children, please don’t repeat your parents’ mistakes

As a teacher, it is the first and foremost advice I normally extend to my students at the university. On the flip side, I am requesting parents to please let your children make their own mistakes. Before any parent gets this wrong, please allow me to explain.

We, as individuals, are the sum of our successes and our failures. It is our attempts at life that teach us the lessons we need to understand the world around us and the world within us. If you don’t let your children make any mistakes, they will become incapable of facing the harsh realities of life once you are gone.

For youngsters who love their parents, please don’t consider this a license to rebel and disrespect your parents. I am only asking you not to follow them blindly. Their experiences in life are because of their mistakes and you must learn from them.

Love us like we are supermen and superwomen, but do remember that we are also human

As children, we approach our parents for our every need. With every wish that is fulfilled, we grow up with a sense of infallibility regarding our parents. Once reason and logic takes hold of us, flaws become apparent and that seriously damages the perception we have built of our parents. I guess we should have realised, or maybe as parents we need to make our children to realise, that as humans we have our flaws too.

We also lie, make up stories, procrastinate and shun responsibility like any other child they know. It is better that your kids know your existential predilections from you, rather than through comparison and analysis.

Please don’t beat up your father or mother for being too busy in work

This is unfortunately a common problem that we have all faced which has no real remedy except for understanding. The real issue is not being busy in work, but rather the harshness of modern life and the sacrifices it demands if you wish to move ahead.

Like a joke that only married people understand, kids will never be able to come to terms with their missing father or mother till they go out and work for themselves. Please cut us some slack – we are only trying to feed, educate and raise you along with achieving any semblance of success in our professional lives.

We have been there and done that, so never assume we don’t know what you are up to

As a simple advice to both parents and children, please be honest with each other. Hiding something from children or from your parents is more likely to blow up in your face than not. And it is ugly when this happens.

Please treat your children like young adults as soon as they start reasoning for themselves. They have a mind of their own that needs to come to terms with the ugly realities of life earlier rather than later. No point living in the Marvel or DC universe only to realise Batman is not going to save you from being shot in your car.

Please forgive us if we fail you

As a request to my three lovely children, please forgive me. I work too much, cannot find ample time to read to you or teach you something worthwhile, demand ultimate discipline from you, force my religion on you and cannot find it in me to tell you I’m sorry.

We as parents try as hard as we can to do as much as we can for you. Sometimes in our urge to succeed in our life, which is very tough as it is, we fail to help you make any sense of yours. Don’t hate me for being weak or for being aloof. Sometimes parents get their priorities mixed up and end up realising too late that the only true friends they could have made were their own children.

I will love all of you always and forever.


Your father



The author holds an MPhil in Public Administration and has taught Politics and Public Policy at the University of Karachi.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.