I always felt lucky being my dad’s daughter. He is 91 now. He has always been exceptional with his world views, his energy level, his undying passion for his country and his patients, and his humanity.
Going through times where we realize the many biases we all have including what we are going through right now with racism, I realize how important it was to grow up with his values. People being equal was such a given at our household. We never asked the religion or the origin of people we meet. We never had conversations in our house judging others (except when my dad expected more from people to educate themselves), but I saw my parents worrying about how much hardship some people have to go through. There was a lot of empathy floating around our house. There was always an intention to understand others’ lives.
I learned from my dad early on we are luckier than so many and that we need to use that luck to support others.
I never forget how we used to stop by at one of his patient’s house every weekend before we visited my grandmother, since that woman could not get out of the house because of her muscular disease. It seemed normal to make those visits until I grew to understand how exceptional he was to take the time to make the patients’ lives better with his kindness.
It was normal to see my dad dancing with his patients in wheel chairs.
It was normal for my dad to pay out of his pocket for light bulbs, books or tools needed at the hospital he worked when they had no budget.
I grew up seeing how much my father loved his country and dedicated his whole life to educate more people. He sacrificed his career in trajectory to be a world known doctor when he found an opportunity at Harvard, by choosing to return back to his country to make a difference for his people.
It was normal to see him implement what he learned in his years spent in the US for the benefit of his patients and his citizens.
In these days when we all face the facts about racism, I thought about him a lot. He raised me and my brother with the best values to be good human beings, to respect people regardless of their background, have respect for everyone, and do not discriminate anyone.
He is also a great example of not talking but being in action to change what does not seem right. He is still like that to this day. It is hard for my mom to keep him indoors in this Covid19 times since he does not want to give up meeting as many people as possible to educate them. Although he already has given thousands of speeches and written many books, he never wants to waste any time at home and rather educate one more person. He is an ultimate fighter for good in the world and I am glad I had him in my life as a father for all these years.
I realized once again what seemed normal to me in my childhood is not so normal and everything I learned from him is a big blessing.
Happy Father’s Day Every Day to all Great Men out there!