A month ago I went to Assuit to attend my cousin’s wedding. Assuit is a beautiful city in Upper Egypt; it takes almost a 6 hours train trip to get there. The wedding was nice, I didn’t stay long enough to enjoy the city but what I have seen was enough to make me want to get back sometime.
And as all the good things in life, the nice trip to Assuit has to come to an end. When we arrived to the train station we found our train moving. It wasn’t supposed to depart until another 30 minutes, but people started saying that there was an unannounced change in the train schedule. And that was when my uncle, my dad and my brother started running to get aboard the moving train.
My brother jumped into the train, my uncle followed and my decision was “I am not going to jump in”. The train was accelerating; I didn’t find the circumstances suitable. But here came the father who started yelling at me to jump aboard. He actually kept running holding the train as if he would magically stop it while yelling at me to jump.
The image of my father ran over by the train was the only thing that made me take that step. He wasn’t going to jump in without me and he wanted to get into that train by any means. So, I jumped aboard an accelerating train. I took an unnecessary risk because my father wanted me to do.
I did the thing he believed is right, though I still believe that it is wrong. I did the thing he thought is for my benefit just because I was too scared he would kill himself trying to put me on that train.
Ironically after we jumped aboard the train stopped. It was a sort of silly joke.
But the point is my father didn’t want me to miss the train, as if that train is my only ride to paradise. In the time there was going to be no harm to leave me behind. I had enough money, I had my cell-phone and I wasn’t in a strange city. My aunt lives there, actually 15 minutes away from the station and another uncle was staying the night there and was heading back to Cairo next morning. There was no harm leaving me behind and the destination of that train wasn’t paradise.
Yet my dad, yelled at me to jump aboard an accelerating train. He made me take a risk that I wouldn’t take just because he believed my benefit is to be on that train.
I don’t know why this train incident would sum up how “parents” in this part of the world affect their children’s lives. That train represents the opportunity. My decision to pass and my dad’s decision to jump in represent the conflict of interest between the best our parents want for us and the best we believe in. I believe that missing that train would have been an exciting experience. I would have seen new things. I would have had a mini-adventure. The risk wasn’t high and I am not a school girl who won’t know how to get back home. Actually the risk of falling off the moving train was higher than the risks borne to staying the night in a strange city.
My point is, missing an opportunity might be an opportunity. It is not the end of the world. And no one should know what’s best for you but yourself. No one has the right to corner anyone into doing anything because they believe it is the right thing to be done. There is nothing “right” in this world. And if there is anything that has to be right, it will always be the things your parents taught you while not influenced by adrenaline!
Later, he admitted it was wrong to push me to jump aboard that train. It just seems that he was the one who couldn’t take the risk of leaving me behind. But this is the point. He spent all his life preparing me for the moment he will leave me behind. He spent all his life teaching me the risks of trying to catch a departing train. He was the one who taught me to see the opportunity in missing the train. He brought me up on appreciating what I have in hand. But in a glance, he lost faith in me.
A thing that makes me wonder if that faith was ever there. Or if love would make us unintentionally hurt our loved ones.
Or do we intentionally hurt them to push them to do what we believe is right?!