Honoring My Mother
Every year we celebrate International Women’s Day as a celebration of womanhood, but this year, I would like to honor an especially honored woman in my life: my mother. Her name is Nurun Nahar Choudhury, who will be 76 years old this year, and was a former teacher for an all-women’s high school in Sylhet, Bangladesh. Almost 30 years ago, when I lost my father, she became a widow. Since then, I developed a deep respect for this responsible woman who not only had to take care of 6 children by herself, but also maintained her piety and morality. Despite all this, she has accomplished so much despite the circumstances she had to face.
In Bangladesh, it is tradition for women to get married when they become adults, usually at ages 16-19. My mother followed in this tradition, much to her disapproval, but she always turned an unfortunate situation into a beneficial one. Despite the challenges she faced, my mother continued to pursue her education and break through the biases that Bangladeshi culture forced onto her. She received criticism from not only her family and the men in her life, but also by women who internalized the oppression that society ingrained into their minds. This dedication to do what she believed in despite opposing forces is what earned her my deep admiration, and whenever I believe I am unable to push through the challenges in my life, I think about the hardships my mother faced, and it gives me the courage to keep pushing forward.
For 50 years after attaining her associates degree, she met her responsibilities in every aspect of life: she devoted so much love and care to our family, she was admired by the students and staff at the school in which she worked for, and she always gave to back to the community, despite the challenges she faced from them. Her actions and good deeds earned her the respect of people from the community as a whole, and that left a positive impression on me as well. She was an inspiration to other women in her life, including her own siblings, students, and even neighbors. Through watching her interactions of others, I have learned what it means to be a strong and independent person, despite the hardships, and have developed my sense of right and wrong based on everything she did. She taught me that knowledge and ability is power, and that by spreading good deeds and knowledge to all, society can only move forward, even past our negative biases.
But at an early age, she became widowed and had to take on the responsibilities of raising 6 children by herself. She had a goal in mind however, and was determined to raise all of her children so that they could become educated and even attend college. What she most desired was for my sister and I, her only 2 daughters, to become educated enough to develop our own sense of responsibility and become financially independent, a fact that has deep in my mind to this day. The fact that she was able to do all this is because of her deep sense of responsibility; she believed that in order to do what is right, you have to be courageous in your actions and follow your moral compass, despite what others may say to discourage you. She faced her fears head-on, and became a stronger person, which has influenced me immensely.
I consider myself extremely fortunate to have a devoted and loving mother, one who was courageous, loving, strong, and constantly afforded me her love and guidance. My relationship with my mother has shaped me into the woman I am today. Whenever I face a hardship in life and lack the courage to continue, the thought of my mother drives me to push through life’s challenges without fear.
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