One of the biggest things that shaped me as a child and young adult was seeing my inspirational mother take it upon herself to provide for our family when my dad passed away unexpectedly. By no fault of her own, overnight she had to be both mother and father, looking after the home, raising the children and earning an income too. Instead of giving up or being paralysed by grief, she channel led her emotion and energy into setting up a small market stall in our town centre. She showed me how entrepreneurship, ingenuity and sheer hard work can be a gateway for personal transformation.
My mother has always been my greatest role model and I can’t but credit her for all the things that I have been able to achieve in my life thus far. She inspired in me that entrepreneurial spark and sense of responsibility to always do the best I could, in spite of my circumstances or what others might have expected from me. Years later, I realise how my mother’s greatest hope for me is the same the hope that I have for my children, that they will able to see further, dream bigger and accomplish more than I can ever imagine.
Just by getting into university I was already exceeding expectations that people had of me, but even being able to launch my own business and pay for my studies as a teenager wasn’t enough for me. My mother taught me to push boundaries and see beyond my own horizons, she instilled in me values and a work ethic that allowed me to lead in an industry that hadn’t even been invented when I was a child!
Now, as my children get older and begin to have their own dreams, I wonder how I can best inspire them to see beyond their horizons. With the rapid rate of technological change, who knows what the world will look like when they reach my age. Instead of pushing them down a certain career path, I want to inspire them, just like my mother did, with a world of opportunities that weren’t available for me when I was a child and pass on to them the values and ethics that will serve no matter where they may end up.
Bringing along my eldest daughter, Hajrah, on a recent visit to Buckingham Palace was doing just that. I watched her eyes light up as we walked through the Palace gates. When I was her age, even the idea of visiting Buckingham Palace as a tourist was beyond me, let alone going inside and meeting the Royal Family. How will it chance the outlook of a young 11 year-old girl, getting to visit the places and meet the people that most will only ever see on their television screens – I suppose time will tell.
I want to instil in my children the idea that anything is possible. Whatever difficulties and obstacles lay in their path, if they work hard, trust God and stay sincere, they can realise their dreams. Isaac Newton is famously reported to have said, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants” – My mother was that giant for me and in the same way I hope my shoulders can be the platform for my children to see beyond what I can and achieve more than I could ever hope for them both in service of the Creator and in love for His creation.