Saturday, November 3, 2012

A whisper to my Daughter




 Dear Rahmat
     Every family have a tradition that have been passed on from generation to generation, once in a while  a generation alters this tradition to suit ‘the moment’, to the displeasure of surviving members from  the generation before. The worst of all is if a generation have to lay  a long cherished  family tradition to rest because it is not in harmony with current trends or doesn't fit in with the present or will not make sense to the next  generation. Most repetitive  traditions have something in common, either they get misinterpreted or the story behind why and how or sometimes which predecessor kicked it off gets blurred as time goes on. I Know that by now you are wondering why, I , your Baba(dad)  is addressing  you in a public sphere rather than during  our weekly intimate chit -chat . Rahmat its because I am  finding it difficult to come up with how to share this long family  tradition of story telling, especially  my grand mom’s favorite, ‘the tale of the spider who flew on borrowed wings’ .  

      From the age of 3 all children in my grandmothers care sat in a circle to listen to fables, stories, allegories and what have you from the adults in the family and the night always wraps up with my grand mother’s moral tale of the ‘flying spider’. It is a tale that she use to tell us of the dangers of being greedy,ingratitude and lack of compassionate, that story have been in my family for generations to the extent that some people in my family ‘believed’ that it is a true story.. It goes like this

       Long long long time ago, there was an animal village in a far far far away land , and the citizenry of this village are  from many different animal kingdoms, they came together and created the most thriving  village in the middle of nowhere it was a well knitted and every one knows and like their neighbors. Tigers had coffee with the sheep and her family,Lion cubs play alongside deers , the birds and the spider are friends.. Until one day everything changed. A great famine swept around the world, lakes,rivers and even some believed the ocean dried up.  There was a lot of bush fire out breaks and many kingdoms perished, many animals migrated. In this kingdom where every one get along animals shared food , help each other, they even took in some animals from other kingdoms who were running away from the fires that was burning down their settlements.
        Mother bird and father Bird decided to take a risk and fly to see what was out there, they flew for ours until mother bird who was following her husband, spotted a something that look like a small village, she signal him and he circled and landed on on the tree in the middle of this village. Mother and father bird saw a lot of food all over the place , but there was no living being, so they ate and ate and took some home. They shared it with all their neighbors especially the spider and his family since they share walls with the bird family. This continue for several weeks.
   One day spider requested that the Bird family bring him to where the food is so that he will help them bring more to help the village folks, at first they hesitated  , but spider was persistent and convincing.. The bird family gave spider some feathers and took him to the food land.
    One spider told the bird family he was sick and cannot go to the food land with them. The bird couple went by themselves and to their amazement the village look like any other village, they though they may have lost their way so they kept flying for aways and still didn't come across anything. So they decided to go home and trying again the next day. For three days they will fly for several hours without luck. So they decided to ask Spider if he have any food left over from the past, spider said ‘I am sorry I don't have any food….. 
   The next day father bird woke up a the middle of the night and he saw spider flying out of the village towards the direction of the food village.Father bird went back into his house and woke mother bird and the eight kids, they went into hiding until the morning light started streaking in, then they saw spider flying into the village quietly with a bag full of food carried on his back. The bird family rushed out and asked spider where he get the food from. He confessed that he had been going to the food village by himself and asked for forgiveness, the bird family took their feather back and spider was banished from the village for being greedy and selfish.
        Rahmat, this story have been in my family for generations, I will not be able to share it with the same  bravado my grand mom shared it with my mom and myself,even if grand mom shared it with you , you may not have the same imagination when listening to it like me and my mom did.. You will be missing the wish of being able to fly because you are born in an era where flying is not about being on a borrowed wing like the spider, but being able to do things that you want, being able to be whoever you want to be and having the choice to fly with others in an airplane or a private jets or in an individual capsule as was done recently by Felix Baumgartner
Rahmat and her Baba
  On the contrary , unlike my grand mother and my mother whose only hope for me was to take the moral in that story and figure out how to live in a small complicated world, the world they know. I have a much bigger opportunity, to day dream, hope and believe for many opportunities  to come your way . I envisioned you being the first from my lineage to go to space, fly a real airplane (instead of borrowed wings) I  envision you being the first  female  of color  Governor of  the great State of Maine or even the first female of color to lead this great country.. But all of this will be on you just like  my grand mom and mom hope that I will take the moral message   from the repetitive  story to guide and live my life . I also hope you will take this story and widened your possibilities, get education, be involved with the community that you grow in, reach out to people near and far. Be compassionate, for it doesn't matter how bad your situation may be, there will still be others you can stretch and give . Rahmat, I am human and have my  deficiency, but I am sure by now, you know I am  compassionate and fair to others, please be better than me.
  
If you chose to be  a politician, use compassion in  dealing with your constituents . Don't make money the center of your policy. 

 If you happened to be  a chef,catering or butchering, please do not throw away your left over food, there is always going to be the next door neighbor who is hungry.
  
You can also be a teacher or  school administrator,  please make sure you listen to what your students have to say and know that all your students may not have the same abilities.
  
If being  a cleaner is your choice,  do know that, YOU, and no one else have the privilege to make wherever you clean a healthy environment for all.
  
I envisioned you being a medical doctor, please treat all with fair, irrespective of how they pay you or what insurance policy  they have.
   
The ability to misuse bestowed authority and  power is always tempting, if you decide to be a law enforcement  officer,  be the most honest and upright  officer you can be.  Be humane to those that break the law irrespective of  their sexual orientation, skin color, the car they drive or political status
   Being  judge is a blessing, if that is what you calling is, please be the most fair of them all.

  Rahmat I can go on endlessly,  counting all the possibilities that is out there for you just because, you were  born in one of the greatest countries in the world, so I  hope you grow up to be a useful and grateful global citizen irrespective of which path your life or Allah takes you .
Your  loving Baba