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Azim and Tariq (002)

Question of the Month: What Does it Mean to Be a Good Father vs. Being a Good Dad?

What Does it Mean to Be a Good Father vs. Being a Good Dad?
If I look at my own challenges around being a father of my children, Tasreen & Tariq, I believe I may have fallen into the same trap as my own childhood. While I was always a father and took care of my children’s welfare, I failed as a Dad. Looking back at my life post-the-loss of my son, I believe that it is important to find that balance between being a father and being a Dad. As a father, it is important to cultivate and role model healthy and moral values, healthy disciplines, and teach proper boundaries.
Both Tariq and Tasreen grew up with their mother Almas in Seattle who, as a single Mom, did an outstanding job of raising them and instilling strong moral values in them. She moved to Vista a little before Shahin, my first grandson, was born and has been an important and consistent support to Tasreen and dearly loved by the grandkids. I feel blessed and in gratitude that we have stayed good friends and continue to enjoy many family gatherings and celebrations. Part of being a good Dad and Father is honoring and uplifting the mother of your children and role model healthy relationships no matter what.
Being trained as a banker, I taught my children early in life the responsible obligations we all have to our families and communities. Each month I sent them both pocket money which I increased as they graduated to a higher grade, but I had 3 strict rules: (1) Take 10% and give it away (tithing); (2) take 20% and put that in your savings account and (3) You can spend the remaining 70% any way you like, but you need to send me a budget of how you spent it. This was not that I wanted to pry into their spending but to make them aware as to where their money was being spent.
Tasreen was always on time with this, but often I would get a call from Tariq and he would say “Dad – I did not get my pocket money for June.” My response was, “I did not get your budget for May.” He replied, “Ok, sorry Dad. I will mail that to you today.” And we would both follow up that day with our commitments. To build trust, I never said I will wait until I get your budget. Invariably, his budget always showed up, albeit sometimes late. When he moved to San Diego to go to college at SDSU, every month I helped him with balancing his checkbook. He eventually did get it and after he passed, I was pretty amazed how meticulously he kept his records.
My daughter, Tasreen, is an exceptionally responsible daughter, a phenomenal mother to her own family, as well as an exemplary leader as the Executive Director of her brother’s Foundation ( She is a stellar single Mom—balances looking after my three beautiful (and smart!) grandchildren Shahin (16), Khalil (14), Miya (10), while successfully running TKF.
I honestly do not know how she does it and when she does rely on me for support and advice, I am there for her, holding her hand, especially during difficult times like her divorce and other challenges. With the grace of God, she and the grandchildren are healthy and doing well. For this blessing, I am forever grateful.
To be a Dad is to unconditionally love and provide meaningful support and encourage a growth mindset. This is also an important role of a father. I feel sad and guilty that I was not always there for Tariq as a Dad and had to release my own guilt after he passed for not putting this relationship in front of my business priorities when I had the choice. Living in different cities, (working hard as many of us do in our lives) to make a living in some very difficult financial times. I know I missed many important events in his life and failed to be there as a Dad to provide emotional support. Today, I am even more committed to doing this with my daughter and my grandkids who now live close by.
It is a moving target as your children grow into teenagers, young adults, adults, and parents themselves. At each of these stages, the rites of passage are critical and the balance between a responsible Father and a loving Dad also shifts. My own style is to be transparent, teach by example, promote good moral and spiritual values, and be of service to others. When your children fall, help them lovingly get up and support them in their journey forward. There are times when you will disagree with your children and their decisions – at these times it is good to remember Gibran’s advice above. Remember also that our children are here to teach us and are a true blessing and our progeny!


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