A Cosmopolitan Family in Riyadh

I know I did an earlier post on Waste & Excess in the Kingdom. It is a fact that those habits do abound. However, I must also say that since writing that post one Saudi woman wished to apprise me of her own experiences within her family to illustrate that not all Saudis are alike in their practices.

She comes from a well-known and highly educated family. Her family could easily provide many luxuries if they so chose but at the same time the parents wanted to reinforce appreciation to their children and for them not to naturally take anything for granted. The woman and her family were routinely given various chores and responsibilities while growing up in spite of the home having a housemaid. They were also taught to respect the housemaid and not view her as an indentured servant without feelings or emotions.

She remembers watching her mother when she was a young girl and how her mother held a professional job and managed a home. She recalls watching her mother use a typewriter (yes, typewriter; not a computer) for correspondence and at age 12, learning from her mom how to type and memorize the letters on a keyboard. Her father was busy with various business activities and he would ask for her to assist with small tasks related to the business whether filing, answering the phone or typing. He’d also reward her for her work.

The whole family enjoys reading and then discussing what they have read. In the beginning either her mother or father would read to her but as she grew older and could understand the words, she’d simply beg them to keep getting new books for her to discover.

The daughter now has her own career and her mother continues to work. The mother works with students and routinely takes them out on field trips and excursions to broaden their exposure and views of the Kingdom and the world.


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