Wednesday, January 20, 2016

He Dreamed of being a Pilot

Image result for pilot

He graduated from high school and could not decide what he wanted to study. His father wanted him to study a field that would gain him and his family status and pride. His grades did not allow him to study medicine or engineering in his country- the top two majors that Arabs press their children to study, for both of these majors allow you to place a title before your name: Dr. and Eng. respectively. Also both majors are considered to be a great help to humanity even though there are so many other jobs that benefit humanity but are not as prestigious such as: teachers and nurses.If you are a woman in our society, you are applauded when you get married to a doctor or engineer, for that presumably means you will lead a relaxed life.

In our countries, there are limited higher education institutions and therefore, students are usually accepted to a certain faculty based on their scores in their last year of high school rather than on what they would like to study.

His father then found a great school where he could study aviation and become a pilot. He became really hyped and liked the idea. He even told me that he liked the ring of his name with the title 'captain' before it, and he said it to me, so as to show me how great it sounded.

His father later found out that the school tuition was more than he could afford, and he could only pay it in two installments, which he could not due to their financial state and the fact that he had 3 others siblings who still would need college funding after him. He was heartbroken and said that his father apologized to him. He said it was the first time he felt that his father was defeated and could not grant him what he wanted and it made him feel very vulnerable.

He then told his dad that he would just study nursing, but his dad refused and sought out his connections to get his son a scholarship to study abroad. First, he found a chance for his son to study medicine in Ukraine, but his mother refused as she was afraid her son would marry a foreign woman and never come back.  His father finally found a scholarship that his wife did not object to: civil engineering in Libya; Libya was a country even more conservative than the one they lived in, so to Libya it was.

Image result for civil engineerHe made his family happy by acquiring the title Eng. before his name, and he is so content with the title that he uses it in his social media accounts. He tells me that if he did not listen to his father, and he went to studied nursing, he would not have had the life he has now. I do not think any job should be belittled compared to another because they all have their role in society, but that is the way family and society pressure us to think.

He currently works at a renowned company in the Gulf and his family is very proud. I asked him whether he would study to become a pilot when he saves enough funds, but he said that it is too late. He says that he will achieve his dream in one of his sons (notice here how he did not mention a daughter as another implication of gender bias in Arab society). I asked him what would he do if none of his sons wanted to be a pilot, he said that it was a prestigious job and one of his sons was sure to want to be a pilot.

There it is, a story of a young man who dreamed to be a pilot, and now wants to achieve his dream in one of his unborn sons (not to mention that he's single as well).This is how we become parents that force our dreams upon our children just because we could not achieve them.