A wise son or daughter makes a father proud.
That’s precisely the case for Peninatautele Maria Taimalelagi’s father, Taimalelagi Na’otala, from the village of Mulifanua. Peninatautele is the youngest daughter of Taimalelagi Na’otala and Margaret Luaipou Taimalelagi’s three children.
The 23-year-old has just graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from the School of Medicine at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. She is now working at the Middlemoore Hospital in South Auckland.
Achieving this great accomplishment has made Peninatautele’s parents incredibly proud.Speaking to the Samoa Observer, her fatherTaimalelagi said he feels as he’s won the lottery.
“This is the youngest of my three children, and to see her achieve her dreams is such a fulfilling feeling,” he said.
“I told her that this is not the end; instead it is just the beginning of her medical profession.I kept telling her when she was young that education is the key to a successful life. We live in a world of dreams, we have to try and conquer every mountain, search high and low and follow every step until we achieve our dreams.”
Taimalelagi said when his children were young, he did not only tell them that education is the key to a successful life, he also showed them.
“I went to the law school myself. I am fully qualified as an international consultant, I have traveled all the around the world as well, in Europe, Jerusalem and everywhere because of my profession.
“So I used to challenge my children to be successful in education and even when they were young and even before they achieved and got their degrees, I already started calling them doctors and lawyers. And that challenged them and it made them feel as if they owe that to me. I kept calling them with professional names and titles, and I saw that it actually made them realize that they can actually get those titles by working really hard to achieve it.
“I showed them that you can get anything in life if you do well in school and be successful through my work.”
Taimalelagi paid tribute to his children’s mother.
“Their mother is the main driver to their successful journeys. For me, I spent most of my time working and wasn’t always there for them. But their mother has been there for them all along. She is the main driver; she plays the biggest role of holding the family together, and kept motivating my children to achieve their goals.
“I’ve learnt that as a parent, we need to push our children and believe in them. Nothing is impossible if you have faith. We are not all smart and strong, and we need to rely on someone and we got to have faith. And that someone is always there, it’s not that we know that there is a living God, but we believe that there is one.”
“I have to say that there were times where I felt like that I didn’t really need to push them to do their best.
“You know in Samoa, some people send their children to school and say to them to go to school and learn something just so that you can get any kind of job. We always hear that saying in Samoa that goes like- “A iloa a tusi le igoaua lava.” If you know how to write your name, that’s enough.
“But for me, I believe that if parents keep pushing and keep encouraging their children to do their best, they will become the best.”