Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Plan

I talked in a previous blog entry about my uncle Mohamed and how he's a very intelligent and ambitious man. Actually, there are three aspects of his character that fascinate me: his intelligence, his achievements, and the way he's raising his kids. Over the years and after we returned permanently from Libya, I was pretty much occupied during our family gatherings with making myself "noticed." You see; we were always the "distant relatives" who spent their entire lives away from the family. My mother missed the major milestones in her family's history; my grandpa's death, the birth of all of my cousins, and the marriage of her two brothers. So I wanted very much to "fit in" as I always tried when we were in Libya (looks like I'll never fit in anyway in any place!!!)
Anyway, this "fitting in" practice faded throughout the years and was replaced with a keen desire to observe the mechanics of this family; how they talk, how they think, how they love and how they progress in life. I knew it was common knowledge that my uncle Mohamed was extremely smart; he spent his high school years in the "A class" which can be found in most schools in Egypt. He went to study in Cairo ever since and went to the Faculty of Engineering. There he became an electrical engineer, and moved on to work for some high profile companies such as Ezz and Elswedy. What's remarkable about his professional career is that he never settled for mediocre jobs; he had to be on top and advancing, so when things ultimately didn't fit his aims, he went on to build his own company.
The best part that I liked to observe and learn about was his relationship with his kids. I think that from the day they were born he had drawn in his mind a "plan" to raise his kids the right way. He wanted them to have respect of his authority and their mother's authority; the two never to conflict, so I guess they made a purposeful agreement on that plan. His kids must have faith in his opinions, choices, and orders, but at the same time he's encouraging them to build a creative mindset and express their opinions freely and with respect. They must respect his family members and have polite manners without being dull and wallflowers. The most beautiful thing was that he encouraged them to have hobbies; something most parents "kill" in their kids because hobbies take time that should be spent "studying."
He once told me that he used to search the Internet to find ways, games, and quizzes that would enhance his kids' creativity. I was really fascinated by this fact, and even did my own searching out of curiosity. What's beautiful about that is that he didn't take the easy way out; he works so hard to ensure that his company is successful and enough financial security is provided for his family. He could've said: "let their mother take care of all this miss, I already do my job securing their future." No, he doesn't say that, he plays with them, he watches TV with them, he keeps track of their activities, and he keeps "installing" his ideals in them. He once told me with a strange look in his eyes that he fears for his kids; he looks at them and wonders how their future would turn out to be. I wanted to assure him that two things provide him with a good guarantee: the first was that he was there - in every meaning of the word - for them, and the second was that he planted his values with such a smart way that they will follow him with no second thoughts.
You should look at his kids watching him when he talks about something; their eyes full of fascination, adoration and awe at their father, their love and worshiping very obvious to the naked eye, and their "ultimate trust" in him evident in their words. That doesn't stop them from asking questions and raising logical paradoxes that grow in complexity as they grow in age. I like to watch that and how he handles it; with wisdom and admiration of his own at his kids' brilliancy. The beautiful thing is they're not "empty" replicas of him or even of each other; every one has his own distinctive character and their father deals with each one according to that character.
In my previous entry, I talked about my uncle's opinion of his mother and how he saw her as an exemplary mother who missed some things that he needed. That was what he needed I guess; a plan with a target to reach, which is a way to raise your child in mind, soul, and ideals as much as in body and emotions. He devised and understood the plan and had the perseverance to follow it through, I think that he'll enjoy the fruits of his work; much as my grandma enjoys the fruits of hers. I would like to sit with him one day and ask him how he found ways to make his plan work so good.

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