Ten Value Lessons I Learned From My Father by Raj Shah
We celebrated Father’s Day last month. The time is right to be grateful for all the knowledge and advice my father has imparted to me over the years.
Growing up, my father taught me many important life lessons that have shaped the person I am today. He has always been a pillar of wisdom and guidance. From how to handle difficult situations to how to be kind to others, my dad showed me the value of these lessons through his own actions and words.
He has consistently taught me important life lessons that have served me well into adulthood. From teaching me the value of hard work to the importance of having a positive attitude, my dad has been a role model of what it means to be a responsible adult.
The Value of Education
My father spent his entire life as a teacher before opening his own school. He published a number of books on mathematics. He consistently highlighted the significance of education, and I have carried that concept with me throughout my life. To him, education was about more than just landing a decent career; it was also about broadening one’s worldview and improving oneself. He demonstrated to me the value of continuing to study and develop on a personal and academic level. Our key to comprehension, invention, and personal development was education. He discussed the fundamental value of education—formal and informal—as the basis for a fulfilling life.
The Value of Religion
My father had a strong sense of spirituality, and he built his life around his faith. He taught me to accept all religions and their core principles while defending my own Hinduism. Never be ashamed of your Hindu faith or its principles; instead, be proud to be a Hindu. He showed me the need to have the value of religion in life in order to have hope, direction, and a moral compass in the face of difficulties. He was one of the leading advocates of Hinduism. I still remember when our Goswami (gurus) from Vrindavan visited Ahmedabad, they frequently told the crowd that the actual Goswami (guru) is Bahechardas (my father), who has done more than anybody else to disseminate information about our religion through his writings and speeches.
For my father, family was paramount. He taught me that no matter what success I achieve in life, it’s all meaningless without the love and support of my family. He made it clear that one’s first duty should always be towards their family. He always reminded us that family members are the people who are likely to be there for us through thick and thin. When we put our family first, we create a support system that can provide us with emotional stability, love, and care. This support system becomes crucial during challenging times, as our family can offer a sense of belonging and understanding that is hard to find elsewhere. As with everything else, he taught us by example. My aunt became a widow at a very young age, and at that time, marrying again was not the norm. My father gave assurance to my aunt’s parents that he would take care of her. And she lived with us all her life, and my father took care of her.
My father was deeply involved in several community service projects, ranging from religion to education to women’s empowerment. I still remember very vividly that once I visited my father’s birthplace town, Sadra, with my entire family, I was invited to the high school, which my father started as a non-profit project, to speak about my experience in the small town of Sadra. It was a very humble experience since everybody was ready to put me on a pedestal because of my father. Everybody, including the principal, teachers, and high school students, spoke very highly of my father because of his effort toward progress in school. He believed in the power of giving back and taught me that one of the most rewarding experiences in life is helping those who are less fortunate. And speaking of the less fortunate, my father started an organization to help poor widow women living in my hometown, Sadra. When he started, the organization was able to help only five women. At this time, the organization helps over 500 women. His commitment to service inspired me to become a more compassionate and responsible individual.
Hard work pays off
From an early age, my father instilled in me a strong work ethic. He showed by example that success isn’t handed to you—it’s earned through dedication, commitment, and perseverance. He worked very hard all his life. I still remember him telling us that he was practically broke when he graduated from college. Besides taking care of my mother and brother, he was also responsible for taking care of my aunt and his parents. But that did not deter him from his goal. He started his career with a simple teacher’s job while simultaneously giving private tuition to students and then starting his own school. He was awarded the best teacher’s award in the state. He wrote several books on mathematics. His life has motivated me throughout my personal and professional life.
Integrity is Crucial
In the eyes of my father, integrity meant more than just honesty. It was about being consistent in both your actions and your principles and about being genuine to yourself and others, even when no one is watching you. This lesson has assisted me in keeping a strong moral compass in all aspects of my life, which is something I am extremely grateful for. In the 1950s, my father started his own private school. And finding employment as a teacher during that era was quite challenging. Many teachers were interested in working at my father’s school, and several of them were prepared to bribe my father in order to get hired there. However, my father refused to accept any bribes. Not only did he refuse to accept bribes from anyone, but he would also become extremely angry with those individuals who were prepared to bribe him.
Never give up on your dreams.
My dad always taught me that if I put my mind to something, I could accomplish it if I worked hard enough. Never give up on what it is that you want to do, regardless of how difficult things may seem. He instilled in me a confidence in myself that has been of great benefit to me throughout my life. When I applied for a visa to enter the United States, the consular officer informed me that due to my health, I would not be granted entry. My father advised me not to let discouragement get the best of me, and he stressed that the United States of America needs bright students like me just as much as you need to come to the United States.
Persistence and Resilience
My dad instilled in me the importance of overcoming hardship and the knowledge that failure is a natural part of the human experience. He demonstrated to me that the path to success is frequently paved with challenges and that perseverance and resilience are essential for conquering these challenges. During my battle with cancer, I found that these lessons were of immense use to me. When I first opened my eyes in the morning, before I prayed to God, I would pray to my parents and ask them for the strength to face the day.
Be grateful for what you have
My dad always drilled into me the value of being grateful for the things you have in life, no matter how big or how tiny they may be. He taught me that cultivating an attitude of gratitude and contentment is the path to achieving inner peace and pleasure, and that a never-ending pursuit of more might result in unhappiness and disappointment.
Help Others When You Can
My father always stressed the importance of treating others with compassion and goodwill. He was someone who was always willing to assist other people in whatever manner he could, and he showed me that a little bit of compassion can go a long way. Because of this, I love to continue his legacy of understanding and compassion in the world. This valuable lesson from my father inspired me to start a Hindu cremation project where I love to help family members whose loved ones have passed away.
About the Authors
Raj Shah, A software engineer by profession, Indian culture enthusiast, ardent promoter of Hinduism, and a cancer survivor, Raj Shah is a managing editor of Desh-Videsh Magazine and co-founder of Desh Videsh Media Group. Promoting the rich culture and heritage of India and Hinduism has been his motto ever since he arrived in the US in 1969.
He has been instrumental in starting and promoting several community organizations such as the Indian Religious and Cultural Center and International Hindu University. Raj has written two books on Hinduism titled Chronology of Hinduism and Understanding Hinduism. He has also written several children books focusing on Hindu culture and religion.