I have been blessed to meet many people here in Dubai that have shown me how to be a better parent and a person. I have also met people that continue to dismiss, judge and laugh at the joy and happiness that I have being an Arab man that stays at home with his kids. I’m also laughed at because I share a different view about tolerance and growing as a person.
StayAtHomeDads, we are unique. We go against the normal traditions which I really understand and respect. We also live a life full of relationships. We have a relationship with the cashier at Spinneys, the nursery head, the school parking attendant. We have a relationship with our maintenance guy, our childs teacher, our boss, our friends, our spouse, our cleaners, our guys at Starbucks (and every person should have a wonderful relationship with the barrista because he rocks!) and yes, our children.
I met a woman, months ago, a doctor actually who runs a place called Lighthouse Arabia here in Dubai. They help adults and kids and everyone with the changes and challenges, grief and love that comes along with living – an continuing to live. We met by accident when I saw some things they were doing on Instagram and I wanted to see what they were all about. Yet, I might be stuck again, with another lot of the mummy Gucci Patrol (on the Jumeirah side its called the ‘Prada Patrol’ by the way). I really takes risks!
I am lucky because I drop my girls off to school and nursery and I get the chance to have some mornings where I meet amazing people (and sometimes people that just make me laugh, worry and want to hit my car because I was playing on my phone while driving – which, by the way, after a 500AED fine and a big lecture from the #crazywife is never worthwhile).
What I have figured out, after my time in Dubai, is about how the way I am raised and what I do may not always be what fits my kids. After all, they are them. They are unique. They are special. But wow, I really want them to be what I want them to be.
THAT is not what is going to happen.
Cue in, Dr Saliha Afridi who one day had shared with me one day at a group discussion at Lighthouse Arabia about a letter her daughter had written to her. Her daughter is now a teenager (I bow down to all parents that have teenagers) It was a moment where I finally realised that I was not what they (my girls) were going to become. They were going to become what I never dreamed.
This letter was written to her mother. She was very clearly upset. She told her that she was her own person – she wanted her own direction – she wanted to go her own way. She said that she was not going to be as perfect as her and that she had different dreams and different ideas.
When I read this long letter, among all of these women in this discussion, my eyes began to tear up.
I listened to this girl explaining to her mother, as incredible as she may be, that she wanted to pursue what was important to her and that she was not going to be what she ‘thought’ her mother wanted her to be. She was tired of being compared and wanted something more. It was raw. It was pure from this girl. It was raw for a mother to hear.
As a parent I want them to become better. In my mind, I think I am better. I think that what I have done is responsible and sensible and logical. I also want them become MORE responsible – MORE sensible and MORE logical.
Side note – My CrazyWife wants them to become plastic surgeons so that they can come up with something better than botox and can make her look like a 20 year old. I kinda like her as she is but she thinks differently as I suppose we all think when it comes to our life. And, what is botox anyway??? I’m Egyptian, we use vaseline to look young!
I want to share a few things with you about what I have learned and am doing everyday to be a better parent, husband and human.
Science says that human beings are not meant to be together physically for a lifetime but emotionally, we are in tune to lifelong connections. This makes me think that those connections, whether its married, divorced, parental or any other, remain forever.
Children, as vulnerable, true and pure as they are, see what is in front of them and whatever relationships they form set the foundation for them, especially early on.
If they see loneliness, fearfulness, hatred, they will exhibit the same signs.
Our love for one another, in whatever way that is as a parent, guardian, couples or anything means that love needs to be evident. It needs to show.
Our partner, in any way that is, needs attachment, closeness, someone that holds your inside securely but helps you bring it out. Our partner needs someone that gives a sense of security and safety.
I had learned along all of this blah blah blah in reading and meetings that sometimes those really ‘educated’ people can say is that the strongest individual and the strongest couples that are deeply connected make the best mentors, parents, coaches, friends, people. Maybe that blah blah blah wasn’t such blah blah blah.
Its those couples (and I use the term loosely because a couple can mean anything), that exhibit trust and love, seems to offer energy on everyone around them (like a really good virus that you don’t always think you want but sometimes you need to make you better), are the ones that end up lifting up everyone around them – including their kids.
When we trust each other, we get several things:
When you have a partner, you are able to feel like there is someone to stand up for you (my CrazyWife will stand up for me- argue endlessly with them until we are on the verge of deportation and then tuck in behind me for protection )and thats her – but its also me – because I know she has my back. I know that when I need that help, she jumps in. I also know that when she needs me to be there for her and make her feel like she is the top of the world, I’m there. When I am worried or happy, she stands right beside me like a partner in battle or in celebration. Kids see that.
When we have a healthy relationship (in whatever way you think that is), it becomes physically healthier, more creative, more independent. You feel like you can take on the world.
Can you imagine how our kids would feel with that? Can you imagine how our children can feel seeing not only their parents or uncles/aunts/grandparents be like this but knowing that the feeling right there means that it gives them strength to persevere. It gives them strength to be more confident, independent, opinionated, creative, curious and innovative.
We also know that with a positive relationship as their role models, they see love, fondness, admiration, responsibility and being gentle.
The influence becomes unimaginable. They want to help solve (rather than run away). They want to help create (rather than wait for someone else to do it). They want to thrive (rather than falter).
When we become influencers, and only at that time, do we become people that can bring UP other people.
When we show tolerance to every nationality, every religion, every choice in lifestyle, every way of living – we get the opportunity to show our next generation what THEY are capable of – not what we were – but what THEY ARE capable of doing.
We have few chances to be real. We have many chances to share everything with our kids. Even if your wife wants them to be plastic surgeons, lawyers or doctors or helping the environment – We get to show them a foundation of love and they go on their way.
Even if you are divorced, single, in a relationship or anything else, we get to show small ones around us the good and love that people can have for each other.
Take your shot at thriving. See what happens when you do.
For information on Lighthouse Arabia– click the link. They are great friends to #ArabBabaThatsMe
*This is not a paid post.