This is in response to column “The lesson Rihan taught me” by Sabria S. Jawahar in the Saudi Pulse section. The article is very heart touching. It is a human-interest story that throws light on parent-child relationships and what should be our considerations and sensitivities when we are raising our children. I would like to first respond as a parent: Parents across cultures are put on a pedestal and enjoy great respect, rightly so. They nurture their children, give them all their love, time, energy in raising them to be the “good” citizens of their society and the world at large. But sometimes, in so doing, unknowingly, we as parents do certain things or act in certain ways which may not be just and fair and may not be the best for our children’s well being.
I am not sitting in judgment of Sabria’s parents but would like to say this much that why they did what ever they did to their daughter’s much loved pet goat Rihan are reasons best known to only them. They did not give into any of the sentiments or sensitivities of the child, if at all they might have felt any. Obviously they gave more weight to other considerations. They did not consider what effect it might have on their six-year-old daughter.
Little Sabria might have gone through an array of emotions like, disappointment, sense of let down, anger, helplessness, a great sense of loss and above all loss of trust in her custodians when Rihan was taken away from her and killed for the celebration. She was too young to protect her ward/child/playmate. She might have experienced guilt too.
It is Sabria’s generosity of heart or discomfort or a sense of guilt that prevents her from blaming her parents for the loss of Rihan. It may be too scary for her to do so. Might not be the right thing to do for a “good” or “dutiful” daughter. I was wondering why this article was titled “The lesson Rihan taught me,” when lessons came from some other source! — Arundhathi H., Riyadh