20160109

Freedom to Choose



Talking a bit about culture..

Yesterday I went out of the office late because of some additional work. On my way out, the head of security guard stopped me before I reached the gate. Feeling a bit puzzled, I entered his office. It turned out that he wanted to discuss a bit about his daughter's education. He asked me where did I study my undergrad. I told him a bit about my undergrad. He said he wanted his daughter to enroll at the same kind of university. My university used to be a school for teacher-to-be, it is cheap bcos it belongs to the government... at least when I studied there. The thing is, this man wants his daughter to follow his plan which is to take certain major in order to be able to work in a certain institution. Well, I cannot say anything because I am an outsider. What I did was just giving him information that sometimes the field of study does not match the occupation. It happens to a lot of people. I hope he could just let his daughter chooses her own study, according to her own field of interest. People in Indonesia tend to think too far, they want to plan their children's future, what they study, what kind of job they will do. I am not gonna lie that even my Mom, up until this moment, still wants me to be a teacher/lecturer. This kind of thinking must be changed. As a younger generation who will be parents too one day, we need to realize that our (future) children should get their freedom in choosing their own paths. They only need guidance, to know the good from the bad, the right from the wrong, not the exact path to choose for their future.

Sometimes opportunities come not only from somewhere familiar, but also from somewhere far away. Parents' jobs are to make sure their children do the right thing for themselves, to give supports anytime the children need them the most. It is never a job of parents to decide the future for their children. That's God's job. I have a tragic story of a mother calling to the embassy in search of her daughter. She said her daughter ran away from home to pursue a degree in X country, and she did that without her mother's blessing. We talked for a good 30 minutes. She tried to track down her daughter's scholarship, she wanted to go to that university and she wanted to literally drag her daughter to go home to Indonesia simply because it is not the way she is supposed to be. That's what she said to me on the phone. I was just baffled. Well, I don't know them personally, but I feel bad for both of them. I feel bad for the mother because her daughter ran away from her; and I feel the same for the daughter for having such a tough mother who does not want to give her blessing for her to pursue (probably) her dream of studying abroad.

I am lucky that my parents are supportive, although they have their "expectations" for me, they still support the paths I chose and always give their blessing. For some people, things could be tougher, or sometimes, in rare case, easier.

Why I am writing a long-ass-essay like this in the middle of the night? I am just concerned, that's all. I hope no more parents chasing down their children only to drag them away from the paths they choose for their lives. Dear Parents, please stop acting like god/guardian angel for your children. It is not your job to decide your children's future. Dear Children, don't stop pursuing your dreams, even if it is big and looks like a huge mess of impossibility, let God decides what is best for you after you do all your best efforts.

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