Family

Life’s best investments

The writer, Mohamedarif Mohamed Suleman (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania) is a digital marketing specialist and an Educator-cum-Trainer. He has involved himself in community organisations and matters from a young age, and through his writings, continues to speak of social and cultural reform to this day. He is also the founding moderator of this forum.

Family:

L

ife passes in a wink if truth be told. And while adolescence, youth and then adulthood teaches us to be forward-looking, reflections inevitably become part of our lives when we outgrow our middle age phase. How we have lived our lives, how have we treated others, and were we treated, what did we gain and what did we lose? How do we feel about the good and bad things we may have done? What memories haunt us to this day and then which ones lend us pleasure even now? These and many other questions, linger in our minds, sometimes rhetorically, but almost always staying unresolved and unsatiated.

This is also the unique line of sight where we can see both ways – upwards to parents and grandparents, as well as downwards to our children and grandchildren. Tinges of ourselves surface here and there in one or more of them, and these process into a further appreciation of how qualities and traits keep passing on, to maintain lineage, almost randomly.

Apart from the guilt, one may have, a sort of remorse about things such as participating in an injustice or directly obstructing another’s path, holding the truth or revealing the faults, there is one particular dimension of life, that has the potential of being both handsomely rewarding and dauntingly punitive, depending on the investment we may have made in our earlier stages of life. This aspect is the investment we have made in our relationships, and specifically the relationships that depended upon us, for everything – our family, our children.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.” – Steve Jobs

This one piece of advice by one of the most iconic figures of our generation points to this very phenomenon, which by the way keeps us all occupied almost all of our mature lives, and that is the pursuit of wealth and creation of wealth. Whereas the balance of life lies in providing everything in the right measure, our constrained minds think of this as the only necessary tool to be bequeathed.

Our current series revolves around the Holy Prophet (SAW) and a close look at his life, tells us how equally important it is to build character, how this character then affects the kind of children we give to our family and society, and subsequently how society reacts or co-exists with them. The goodness, the courtesy, and the niceness that we pass on to our children, not as a cosmetic drive on protocol or reserved for the VIPs of our time, but just generally, will one day change the world into a happy and friendly place. Why is it that we wonder how everyone is at each other’s throats when the children we are sending out have been groomed to fight for survival and not learn to live together?

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