Academic education is valued highly in our Iranian culture. The notion of being someone with university degrees is a yearning that involves many factors such as status, position, opportunities, labels, and power.
The education systems that we Iranians come from is strictly competition and ranked based while there are no focus on the applicability of that knowledge in the real world.
As a clinical counsellor, I see number of young Iranians who have gone through all the steps of getting to the top mountain of education, while they have forgotten the self. In some cases, choice of education has been equal to survival of parental nagging about future, comparisons to other’s children, and the risk for losing family status. In many cases, my young clients are telling me how much they have lost motivation even though they have tried to satisfy family’s expectations of them. Usually,this is the message most Iranian parents give their youth; you study and we pay. In this common scenario, individuals sense of identity, feelings, perceptions, and choice are out of question.
Number of of these young clients tell me how much their families did everything in their power to provide for their secondary and post secondary educations.
Now these individuals being in their 30’s they have reached the point where they realize their life has been sacrificed for a dream. The question is whose dream?
To be fair, let’s admit, we know that, most parents in our communities are willing to do anything to get their children become Doctor, Mohandas, or lawyers. Most Iranian families struggle for the sake of educating their children. Families in Iran, they are willing to sell their homes and use their life time savings to send their children to best universities in Europe or here in North America.
Families force their children badly to enter programs that are not really on the list of these young fellows. I used the word “badly” because it is visible that families do not consider the effect of this push and pull game they are in. These families work hard to get their youth to attend universities and colleges, while they forget to teach their youth self-dependence and social skills.
Education has become a discourse that impacts people life in a multifaceted way.
Sadly, most of the times we Iranian parents direct our children to fulfill a lost dream that is basically ours and not necessary theirs. Families who come to report that their young child wants to become a “doctor”, i always wonder about the emotional health in that family.
Families who come to tell me how many doctors they have in their extended group and how much they fear failure to procure another Doctor now that they are here in Canada.
There is no doubt that our Iranian life has turned upside down during past 30 years, obviously no one lives in their own skin.
Now maybe you ask what is wrong with being ambitious? What is wrong with educating our children?
Clearly, there is nothing wrong with helping our children to attend post secondary education. There is nothing wrong with being an ambitious parent. Indeed pursuing academic education is valued highly in all communities and we should continue using all means to empower ourselves.
However what happens to the need for knowledge and wisdom before any academic work?
What happens to the social skills that involves basic relationship and interaction in the world?
What about teaching our children to have a dream first and then encourage them to pursue their dreams?
Most of us are unaware of how much we negatively impact our children’s health and how much we cause emotional distress in a young body, when we forced them to follow a certain pattern.
How do we know what is right and wrong for our children?
How much do we differ between raising happy, independent, and healthy children compare to raising educated, discouraged, and spoiled children?
These are all the questions that have to be answered before talking to our young children about what they should and should not do.
Honesty comes first.
Note: This article was originally written and published in EzineArticles May 12th, 2010 by this author.