This morning I read an amazing article by Lindsey Mead Russell in the Huffington Post called 10 Things I Want My Daughter To Know Before She Turns 10. This got me thinking about what I want my own children to know about life as they embark on the amazing journey themselves.
I started writing and noticed that although Lindsey focused very much on relationships in her article and alluded to inner emptiness, my wishes were more related to the inner journey of life. Relationships come and go, but who you are as a person is fundamental in this life and I do believe that what’s going on around us is a manifestation of what’s going on inside.
So, to my dear children, here are the five things I would love you to learn in your lives, just as I am trying to learn them in my own.
Find your purpose.
You have your own unique purpose in life and it is fundamental to who you are and what you are doing here on earth right now. Only you can know your purpose, and it is your mission to find it and fulfil it. One of the great mysteries in life is why so many people feel like they have no purpose, as if ‘purpose’ is some amazing, secret gem that is only divulged to a few. Clearly these people are looking in the wrong direction. Every single person has a purpose but not all find it because they spend their lives looking outside rather than in. Your purpose is always related to the thing you love doing, that you find natural, that makes you lose sense of time. Find your purpose and you have the meaning of life. And it is not 42!
Keep your faith through thick and thin.
Never fall into the trap of saying things like “I didn’t deserve this to happen to me”, “She was such a good person… why would God let her die”etc. Relax and know that everything is exactly as it should be…. Allah/God does not make mistakes or do injustice.
Spend your life learning about truth and building your character.
Learn to be like those who have the level of clarity that in every situation what is the best thing to do based on truth. By understanding truth, you will not be influenced by stupidity in the disguise of good and you will become a role model to all in your character. Build your strengths, improve on your weaknesses and help as many as you can along the way. Hazrat Ali, one of the great scholars of Islam, said “Faith means that you prefer truth when it hurts you to falsehood when it profits you”.
Never think you are better.
Once you know truth, don’t fall into the trap of thinking you are better than anyone else just because you know it. Remember always Jesus saying ‘Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” and you will remember that to judge others is the path away from truth, not towards it.
Above all, enjoy your life.
In Islam, Allah teaches us that the right way is always the simple and easy path. It doesn’t have to feel like torture. It is supposed to be fun. So above all in life, have a wonderful time. If you find you are not having fun, don’t be afraid to change what you are doing. Life is a journey of adventure – enjoy it!