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A father’s letter to his son on first birthday

Picture provided by the writer

By Dr. Parvaiz Ahmad Rather –

At times our purpose drops in our laps as if the heavens threw it by accident. On this day in 2019, I got a gift from heavens in shape of my beloved son Abdul Manan-Bin-Parvaiz. The 17th of December 2019 was one of the happiest days of my life when I took you into my lap and you smiled like you knew me from hundreds of years. And today on your first birthday, I am writing this letter so that when you will be able to read this you keep this in mind and will follow my words that I wanted you to hear on your first birthday from me and you remember it throughout your life.

As the whole world is facing a pandemic in the form of COVID-19, there will be many other fathers like me in the world who are not able to join the birthday celebrations of their children. As I am busy with my job in college, I will not be able to reach and join the celebrations, so I want that my wishes should reach you in the form of this letter. I wish you a happy birthday and wish you a happy, health and peaceful life. So here I go…

If you only ever listen to one thing I say, listen to this, all I want from you is that you must develop a strong mind to live a strong and happy life. A strong mind is built from feeding it with positive thoughts and learning new things every day. Not every now and then, not for a little while, every single day. A strong mind is built with daily gratitude. When you are grateful for everything you have, there is no room for negativity, no room for doubt and anxiety. A strong mind is built with goals. Goals that give you a reason to get up, out of bed and attack the day. A strong mind is built from knowing you are responsible for your life, your results, your success, and your failures. A strong mind is built with learning. Learning new things every day, on topics that expand your mind and develop your skills. Growth is the key to life. If you are growing and challenging yourself every day, you will lead a happy life, if you are not, you will suffer. The mind is like a muscle, it gets stronger when you embrace challenges, when you push it to its limits, when you learn what works, and apply that to your life. A strong mind is one that surrounds itself with the right people. A strong mind does not let opinions alter its course in life. It follows its own path, no matter what. A strong mind is one that visualizes successes and is prepared to work to make the picture come to life. A strong mind does not let fear get in the way of success. If you are not willing to learn no one can help you, if you are determinant to learn no one can stop you. Live your life with that determination to learn; every single day no one will stop you. Develop a strong mind and you will live a strong life. There are some more important things that you need to remember. Never ever complain, swap complaining with gratitude, big goals with little milestones, cluttered desk with clean desk, dwelling in the past with focusing on the future and most important is swap over committing with saying no.


Do not fear the failure, but please be terrified of regret. As giving up is the birth of regret. You will see hundreds of moments that will be filled with someone telling you “NO”. The reality of life is we will hear more “NOs” than we hear “YESs”, and we will fail a lot and I mean a whole lot. But what I ask of you today is to not take no for an answer. Don’t be afraid of NOs. Be afraid of possibility of yes. That you have prematurely destroyed because you decided to quit before the clock strikes 12. 

(The writer is an Assistant Professor Department of Environmental Sciences GDC Basohli)