It is that time for many parents, time for SATs, ACTs, and GPAs. And let’s not forget those tedious college applications and essays. The process is fairly time consuming and stressful. Many kids have already decided which profession they will enter. For many kids and parents, medicine is the only career choice. It would be scandalous for some parents to think of any other career except medicine for their offspring. I have known parents who put enormous resources and time into making sure that their child ends up in a medical school.
It was such a moment of shock when my brilliant daughter refused to enter the medical field. At first, my brain registered her refusal as a problem that needed fixing, but upon many discussions and heart to hearts with my baby, I have concluded that she should do what she loves doing. I’d like to share a couple of observations here. My first mistake was the fact that her decision was a problem that needed fixing, and my second mistake was that I was equating success with the field of medicine. After much heartache, and emotional discussions, I came to see her decision as a life choice that she should make without coercion and stress. Also, in my daughter, I see a person with enormous talent and passion for art, literature, and humanities. I respect her choice because I know she will put all energies into something she enjoys.
Kids should be allowed to make career decisions based on their happiness and compatibility. Additionally, success cannot be measured by a profession and the amount of money the profession will generate. Success should be measured by how much humanity we contain within us, how much we are giving back to people, communities and the environment around us, and what makes us better humans. If we are doing what we truly enjoy, we learn, we grow and we add to this earth. I have seen people who push their kids into professions that the kids dislike, but they enter the field mainly for financial rewards. The message for kids is that money rules everything, and a person is only important if they are earning a certain amount. This message is not even a message, it is a philosophy for life that money is important for life, but when we give the message to our kids that our worth, our self-respect and our true value is tied to the profession that we enter, and the money that we earn, then something is wrong with us. So the bottom line is after all the Islam that we have taught our kids, we still spend an obscene amount of effort on producing one physician. We never stop and think that if a person truly enjoyed a career, professional success will naturally follow.