3 Life lessons I learned from my Father

On September 27th, 2022, my father, Mokhtar Chidiac, passed away after battling cancer for 15 months. Only a few months ago, I had a rare opportunity to spend time with him with my camera just before his health started to deteriorate and had him tell me his life story and the moments that shaped his life. It was a very intense emotional time for me at that period while filming and listening to his stories and seeing him laugh and pause as he recalls and reflected.

I have picked the below three lessons that I will cherish for the rest of my life, and I have decided to dedicate this Monday Tip in his loving memory.

1) Never give up on your dreams

My father was very active in the community and was one of the Leaders of an NGO in Lebanon called “Offer Joie” since the early 90s; in the year 2000, while he was leading one of the youth boot camps in a Lebanese Town called KFIFANE, he noticed that there was an old Mosque, a barely 1 room small space, that one of the locals was gathering donations to help maintain and refurbish.

Since that day, it has become a dream and life mission for my father to assist in rebuilding the Mosque of Kfifane, and through thick and thin and over the course of 20 years, he managed with the support and love of so many others, to re-build the 1 room mosque to become a fully functioning fantastic facility.

When I asked him at some point why he was making all that efforts to make a big mosque, while there were relatively very few who would use it given its remote location, he told me that he had a feeling that this would change… and Indeed, after the war started in Syria, there has been a significant number of refugees that came to Lebanon and spread around the different areas of Lebanon; and the mosque was filled with dozens and even a hundred of worshipers every Friday; which was an unexpected turn of events for those who watched the growth of the mosque.

This mosque was his life dream. His wish was to be buried there, and on Wednesday 28th of September, he said goodbye to the structure he always dreamed of making, and we prayed to the rest of his soul in the mosque and buried him in its graveyard, in a space that he chose and marked ten years ago.

He saw his dream come true, which was the perfect ending to his story;

Lesson Learned: Never give up on your dreams  

2) Keep Fighting for what you believe you deserve

In the late 1960s, my father went to Libya for work and was among a team contracted by the government to work on road & urban planning. And while in Libya, in 1969, there was a “Coup d’état,” and the government of Idris got ousted by Gaddafi’s troops, and a new era started for that country.

Among so many things back then, one thing that was very impactful for my father was that the new government decided not to honor the reimbursement of costs of living that was agreed on by the previous management. And, of course, it caused financial liabilities to him, so he decided to complain and sue the “revolution” for what they owed him.

It was a shot in the dark and a hopeless case. Still, my father kept going every week to the office of complaints and the courts, and after more than a year, he got surprised that they approved his request and paid him for the past period. He recalls that his manager (a Libyan) told him in a surprising note that you are the FIRST person who could pull something like that and win a case against the “Revolution.”

Lesson learned: Never give up on what you believe you deserve.

3) Be Optimistic & Always believe that things will get better

Even on his death bed, his words were always including, “when I will get better, we will _____ ”; I could recall so many instances where life brought me down to the ground and hit me very hard, but every time I talked to my father, he used to comfort me and tell me to be optimistic, that things will get better, no matter what.

He said that as long as you are kind to others (regardless if they deserve it or not), love your family, do the best you can, and work to become the best version of yourself, things will always get better.

His life included going through wars, extreme uncertainty, loss, and health issues. But he was always an Optimist; he never gave in to the current situation and had the spirit of a fighter. 

Lesson learned: Things will always get better, keep the faith!

He was a loving father and husband and will be remembered by so many whose lives were touched and influenced by him. May your soul rest in peace, dad. I love you.

Thank you for reading & have a great week,



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