About…   Doubts and Decisions for Living

Volume I: The Foundation of Human Thoughts

 

 

Prologue

The night my first child was born, thirty years ago, my life changed forever—for better or worse, I would never know. Many lucky (or doomed) parents probably feel the same way when suddenly a huge sense of love and responsibility hits them like a sledgehammer and keeps them anxious for the rest of their lives. At the time, I had a flourishing career in Iran with promising prospects. But, that night, I felt I should do everything in my power to make my kids’ future as solid and happy as possible. The first thing to do then was to find a peaceful place for them to grow up in—a better society with more opportunities and freedom. After a few months of struggling with all kinds of doubts, the need for taking some risks became obvious. I left my wife and child behind to travel to the United States in 1981 and apply for immigration to Canada, which appeared to be the best country for my children to live in. Depriving myself from the joy of witnessing my baby start to talk and walk was only one of many sacrifices I had to make to pursue my goal. All along, many doubts tortured me about my sanity to plan such a difficult and unpredictable future and leave behind everything I loved in my own country, including my parents, family, and friends.

Due to the Iran-Iraq war and the closure of all borders, only government authorities were allowed to leave Iran on official business. And the U.S. consulates had stopped issuing visitor’s visas to Iranian citizens due to the hostility between the U.S. and Iran’s new regime. Yet I overcame all these obstacles and got our permanent residency papers from the Canadian Consulate in Los Angeles within a year, despite a ban on education-based admissions—due to recession and high unemployment in Canada. Then my young wife and daughter had to flee Iran from the Pakistan border with enormous difficulty and hardship on top of the large sum of money we paid to people who smuggled them on foot out of Iran. In Vancouver, I looked for a job matching my qualifications for four years and our second child was born too. By then we had spent our lifetime savings. We were on the verge of destitute when I finally found a relatively suitable job. Afterward, life became somewhat easier and our kids grew up away from all the hassles of wars, the educational curriculum of an Islamic regime, and the limited freedom of expression in Iran. Overall, I often believe my decision thirty years ago has been correct.

The short account of our sacrifice to bring our kids to Canada cannot reflect the true hardship that my wife and I endured to make our kids’ future more enriching and to give them an opportunity to live in a better environment. A large book should explain the details of all the challenges and setbacks we faced to finally make this dream come true.

But the main point for mentioning our challenge—to achieve only the goal of settling in Canada—is to stress the agony that most parents willingly bear for their children. Yet, as my kids got older, it seemed that I had an even more taxing task ahead. I felt that my main responsibility as a parent was to answer their questions and guide them during adolescence when all kids face the highest amount of doubts about themselves and life and must make very serious decisions in a short span of time. As a parent, my duty to enlighten them, if I could, appeared ten times more important and difficult than all the hardships of bringing them to Canada and providing them with a comfortable life. Considering the hassles of living in modern societies with inefficient economies, unreliable job markets, phony lifestyles, and materialistic values, it was necessary to prepare my kids to think somewhat independently instead of accepting all those values blindly. I had to tell them what life was all about—if I could. The questions were whether I understood life myself and whether my kids cared about hearing my interpretation of life. The answer to both questions seemed to be a resounding ‘no.’ I did not know much about life myself, and my children, like all other kids, were not interested in hearing the advice of their old-fashioned parents. Still it seemed imperative to me to somehow complete my responsibility. I had to establish my opinions about the main features of human life and struggles for my own benefit at least. Maybe I could then share my conclusions with others, too, especially youth who strive to find themselves and their futures in such debilitating environment. It dawned on me finally that it would be more productive to write a book gradually and systematically instead of offering random ideas here and there. Then maybe my kids and others took the trouble of reading this account of a parent’s wisdom leisurely on their own.

Therefore, I started this trilogy fifteen years ago and finished it in three years. Through extensive research and contemplation, a comprehensive book evolved gradually, but I failed to get my kids to read it carefully. The reasons for my failure to raise their interest are noted in the Epilogue. Apparently, we all like to discover our naivety about life in the hard way—after many years of experimentation and disappointments. Perhaps my kids read this book more keenly eventually when their youthful ego subsides and social artificialities become more apparent to them. Would it be too late by then to sharpen their focus and revamp their lifestyles? Would the points raised in this trilogy be still useful to set their life priorities more realistically and escape life traps?

Not all parents have the time and patience to explore the meaning and effects of the new lifestyles objectively and collectively. Besides, it is hard to draw a general picture of life and its pitfalls in the 21st century. No study in this area can be easy, straight forward, or complete. But I have accepted this task on behalf of many parents who would like to give their children a more realistic view of life.

 

Happy reading

Tom Omidi, Ph.D.

Vancouver, 2014