Arab parents often encourage their children to pursue fields that have traditionally been associated with prestige and financial security. As the famous, ever-relevant meme goes: It's either medicine, engineering, law, or "disgrace to the family."
While the pressure they enforce most likely stems from concern for their kids, it usually causes plenty of frustration for those with ambitions that don't fit traditional areas of work; even more so when the latter seek careers in fields that weren't as widespread during their parents' peak years.
There's no denying that Arab mothers pretty much define unconditional love, which has earned them the commonly-used title "nabe3 al 7anan" (the spring of kindness) ... Well, that is, until it comes to their children's career paths.
Let's take programming, for example. Convincing an Arab mom to give her blessing for a career in programming would be an extreme sport. Here's how the conversation would go down:
1. First off, the "WTF does that mean?" look
Hour-long interrogations are expected when conversing with an Arab mom. So imagine how long that session would take when a kid tells their mother of their "programmer" dreams.
The kid attempts to explain just how important the industry really is ... but to no avail. Deep down she probably knows it but doesn't get why someone would choose it over ... engineering, medicine, and ... that's pretty much it.
2. Then comes the stage of denial
A mama's negotiation skills are unparalleled - she might as well be a lawyer herself, but until then, she will exploit them trying to convince her kid to listen to her words of wisdom.
She simply wants to flaunt your profession at every opportunity, and "programmer" would be too much of a hassle to explain. It also does not hold much leverage against her competitor khalto who has a son working as a neurosurgeon.
3. She will put in her best effort to convince you to become a 'daktor'
You have hated science all your life and chose the General Sciences section to avoid studying biology in your senior year at school ... but are you *sure* you do not want to spend the next 7+ years pursuing a degree in medicine? Yalla, habibi, you can do it!
4. Programming is not "computer games"
No matter how hard you try to explain programming to her, she will always associate it with bumming around and playing on the computer. It's not that she doesn't get it, it's that she doesn't want to.
5. Brace yourself for a guilt-tripping session
You will hear comments along the lines of, "No one listens to me/takes my advice in this house," before she storms off to discuss the matter with your father, hoping he could change your mind.
6. You might as well just save yourself the trouble and tell her you'll study engineering
Close enough, right? You've got yourself a proud, happy mama as long as she can say "yo2borne, ebne/benti mhandes/a."
Allow your kids' passion to materialize ... with Dreamers
STEP Group's Dreamers is a platform dedicated to empowering children to become the innovators of the future.
Among the platform's first initiatives is a summer camp that will be held in Dubai later this month. Dreamers Camp welcomes kids aged 8 to 18 years to gain hands-on knowledge about future industries and technology, space exploration, along with the foundations of entrepreneurship.
*Disclaimer: Dreamers is a brand owned by STEP Group, the parent company of StepFeed.