When I was in school and college I learnt a lot things listening (at least I tried to when I was not distracted by the cute boys in class) to the lectures and, it did help me in understanding how stuff worked in our world. But the most crucial lessons in life I have learnt by my own mistakes and experiences or by the blunders committed by others.
I have learnt the most important lesson of life from my mother. And that is financial independence for women.
My mother had studied only till her tenth class since her father expired during that time and she was forced to give up her education due to financial reasons. She did try acquiring other skills like type-writing but her heart was not in it.
When she got married, she happily settled into the role of a homemaker. My dad was the breadwinner in our home while my mother took care of the children and house. And this suited well for them, never once did my mother express a desire to work outside the home. Until tragedy struck when I was around 4.
My father succumbed to heart attack and expired, leaving my mother a widow at a young age of 35. Suddenly she was faced with a scary task of bringing up three children and providing them shelter, food and education. From a cocooned world she was thrust into a world where she was left to fend for herself and her kids. I can only imagine the dread the she must have felt in her heart at this daunting future ahead of her.
Had she been encouraged to study further or had my father urged her to work after marriage, I guess she wouldn’t have been left high and dry. It’s totally another matter that she learnt to pick up the broken pieces of her life and glued it back together to make into a beautiful and sheltered life for me and my brothers.
But I shudder to think what would have happened to us, had she bowed down to the societal pressure and agreed to stay back at home depending on some of the relatives for money.
I know that there are some men and women in our world who think that providing education for a girl is futile since anyway she will be provided for by her parents, brothers or her husband. But empowering a daughter, a sister or a wife by educating her and making her financially independent will help you rest in peace that no matter what the future holds for her, she will be able to survive in any part of the world, under any circumstances.
We need to make sure that every girl child is assured her right to education. She deserves to be free, and she deserves to be financially independent.
Today when I look at my own daughter I make a promise to myself that I’ll provide the best possible education to her, I’ll be there to guide her but I’ll let her make her own decisions, I’ll be there to pick her up whenever she falls, I’ll be there to wipe her tears whenever she fails, I’ll be there to inspire her to get back at life with a renewed vigor and no matter what sphere of career she chooses, I’ll teach her to be independent, I’ll teach her to fly and conquer.