Parenting is the easiest thing in the world to have an opinion about, but the hardest thing in the world to do. -Matt Walsh
Parenting means child rearing. It includes the methods, techniques which required in the rearing of children. It’s the process of taking care of children until they are old enough to take care of themselves: the things that parents do to raise a child.
It is a sensitive job for parents to rear children properly with a perfect ideology. As parents are the prime guardian of children, it’s their sincere duty to nurture them properly, not only physically but also mentally. Mental maturity is needed for them. It’s not sufficient to simply feed, clothe and shelter the child. Anyone can do that for a pet cat or dog. It’s not enough for a child. A child must be raised, taught his or her place in society, given the tools to succeed and made aware of its responsibility as a human being.
The Prophet (s) said: “Allah (SWT) will ask every caretaker about the people under his care, and the man will be asked about the people of his household” (Nasa’i, Abu Da’ud).
Allah (SWT) states in the Quran about the need to raise families in the light of their end destination, which may be translated in the following words:
“O you who believe! Ward off yourselves and your families against a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who disobey not, (from executing) the commands they receive from Allah, but do that which they are commanded” (Tahrim 66:6).
Muslim children, even more, need a very different education, very different life experience and very different criteria to measure themselves. All of these have to be calculated from the earliest childhood. Being rich or poor is not about how much one has, it is about how one thinks. The best and most powerful asset that Muslim parents can give to their children is to tech them these tools, few do.
A matter of sorrow that Muslim parents are sometimes like that of any-other parents, and think to feed, clothe, shelter, send them a good school are the final duties of them for children. It is a big misconception.
- M. Forster said- ‘Spoon feeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of spoon.’
Maximum parents are busy to build up their children’s academic career avoiding the moral lesson. But without moral teaching no learning can be fulfilled. It is an inseparable part of basic education. Muslim families today spend far too little time in inculcating the value of contribution; of each generation creating its own legacy and not being content to ride on the back of their earlier generation. They give their children the same education that is given to the children of ordinary people who are not Muslim. They don’t prepare their children for the distinctly different responsibility that the will have to shoulder. This is not arrogance; it is merely recognizing the fact that the Muslim children are going to inherit a mission entirely out of context of their own effort. It is therefore essential for them to understand the distinctly different responsibility that comes with such a mission for which they will be answerable to Allah (SWT). Parents often equate expense with quality. They give their children the most expensive education which often insulates them from the realities of life and they never learn to fight the real battles. They give them expensive toys which teach them to define human value in terms of material worth (the best kids are those who have the best toys) and momentary entertainment.
Today’s child is tomorrow’s leader. Children born to Muslim parents have been gifted with resources- with the tools to connect to Allah (SWT). But like all tools, the must be taught how to use them. They are not ordinary children; to treat them as if the were to deny them their opportunity to make a mark in the world that others will have to try far harder to do. They must be brought up always with the final aim of leading the world in the mind. They must be carefully watched, nurtured and mentored from the earliest age. They must be given tasks of graduated difficulty so that they learn to win on their own. They must be allowed to face their fears and to conquer them.
They must learn that to be poor and to be honorable are not mutually exclusive; just as to be rich and to be honorable are not mutually inclusive. They must learn that virtue is a state of mind; a stance, a decision, a position that one takes, not because someone is watching, but because of one’s own sense of identity. I do because of who I am. And I become because I do. They must learn that our actions define us. They must learn that people will define them on the basis of both what they owned and what they contributed. But they will honor them only for what the contributed, because we are remembered not for what we had, but for what we gave. Only when they are taught to focus on their contribution from their earliest childhood will they be able to fight the force of consumerism that is focused on consumption; blind, self-centered consumption that will consume us all if it is allowed to proliferate unchallenged. Muslim families must bring up children who will challenge these norms and create a society that is focused on contribution instead of consumption, so that in the end we leave behind a place that is better for our passing.
As parenting is a sensitive job, parents should handle it carefully. If they try to guide them without affection and love, then there can be create a commercial relationship between them which will be harmful for children especially on their mental health. In that case we can see a calculation:
- Rules without relationship = Rebellion
- Relationship without rules = Chaos
- Relationship + rules = Respect + responsibility
Parents also can help children to acquire some fundamental moral qualities, such as :
- Making sense of faith in Allah
- Connection with Rasulullah (SM) : Sunnah and being a member of Ummah
- Learning to read and recite the Quran from an early age when the child’s memory finds it easy.
- Establishing Akhlaq which is the key differentiator
- Accepting Islam is not just a set of rituals of worship but a complete code of life
- Time management and doing things at the right time.
- Knowing the boundaries, the difference between right and wrong
- Ability for decision making
- Salah and Dua
- Charity and Daw’ah for human welfare
Moreover, parents should make a frank and love relationship with children. They should have interest in children’s choice and their own psychology. A friendly relationship can make many things easy and smooth. Parents can also make allow creative budget ways for them such as:
- Write love notes to them and hide them around the house for a ‘Treasure Hunt’ game
- Be friendly and comfortable in sharing
- Inspire and praise them sincerely for their evaluation
- Sometimes create silly song to make them giggle
- Be a good teacher and trainer to teach them both academic and moral life.
- Be aware of problems and address them straightforwardly
- Take parenting more seriously than you would a full-time job
The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him) said:
“Upon death, man’s deeds will stop except for three deeds, namely: a continuous charitable fund, endowment or goodwill; knowledge left for people to benefit from; and a pious righteous and God-fearing child who continuously prays to Allah, for the souls of his parents” (Muslim).
So, not only personal profit but also for society’s development, parents should come forward sincerely to take the right action and keep in mind that if we fail, society will fall. It’s high time we paid attention to this.