Saturday, December 18, 2010

Mika the Blackjack King, God, Atheists and Probabilities

Mikhail is what people may term a ‘precocious child’. Last night I taught Mikhail to play Blackjack. I figure that it would be a good way to teach him about probabilities and statistics. He picked up the game pretty quick. He can do that so long as he is focused. Most kids can I think. Next I am gonna teach him Gin Rummy and then Poker.

PROBABILITIES. Atheists like to talk about probabilities. They say that God is humanity’s way to cope with the seeming arbitrariness of life and fate. Then they dig up a few fossils, draw some charts and cross out God’s existence. Well, it’s fine if they want to think that way, just as long as they don’t force anyone to conform to their views. After all, there should be no compulsion in any religion, including Atheism (hehehe).

For some people though, everything is the creation of God. And that includes mathematics and probabilities. For me, I do not discount the possibility (or should I call it probability?) that God utilizes probabilities / chance in the mechanics of nature and the Universe. In fact I believe it with all my heart. So through card games, I am gonna teach my 6 year old heir the subtle hand of fate that God deals through the science of probabilities. Or maybe that is just an excuse (hehehe).

MIKHAIL. I took Mika out for an early breakfast today, before the Sun came up. Later as we chilled at home, he suddenly blurted to me, “Hey, Papa. You are the best dad I have.” I looked at him as he continued, “If I have another papa, I won’t like him as much as I like you.” I smiled, “That is sweet of you to say that, Mika.”

I love my son. I remember being in constant worry how we would bring him up. I do not know how to. Mika will have to be my 'work-in-progress'. So even before he was born, I remember seeking help to even up the odds a bit …

93. Muhammad Mikhail
May he be a servant of God,
A lover of the Prophet,
A friend of the Angels,
A mureed of the Masters,
A caretaker of the Traditions,
And spring of charity
To all who may come to him in need.

Somewhere far, far down the line,
Perhaps he can also call himself
A son of mine.

That is my prayer for my son.

189. Ward Of The State Of Friends
Knowing himself unworthy,
The father,
In anxiety,
Declares the child
Ward of the State of Friends,*
A pupil of Angels,
Before the child ever
Breathed his first.
(‘Friends’ are in reference to Saints, both in the past and alive.)

WE DON’T OWN OUR KIDS. Early on in my fatherhood, I have always felt that there I have no real proprietary right over Mika. I don’t ‘own’ him. Like all fathers and mothers, I like to think of him as a trust, to be cared and loved, before he sprouts his own wings to begin his life as a young adult. And if years on, our children thinks back fondly of us, ah… that is simply a bonus.

If you feel the same way about your own precocious son or daughter – then really, how can we not be brothers and sisters?

Have a nice weekend, sunshine.

Pax Taufiqa.

Footnote 1 – In his first ever game last night, Mika beat me by 20 to 16 in Blackjack. I complained “How do you keep winning all the time?!” Mika reassured me, “I am a beginner, Papa. This is what you call beginner’s luck”.

Footnote 2 – ‘Muhammad Mikhail’ is from Chapter 1 ‘The Dam.SunSun.Ana’, while ‘Ward of the State of Friends’ is from Chapter 2 ‘Dam.Munir.Ana’, both recorded in 2004.

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