Alhamdulillah, this New Year's weekend, we were able to invest our time in a very beneficial vacation. We drove to Sacramento for a conference and the theme was the title you see above. The Youth of our Ummah is our kids. As parents, one can never read or learn enough about parenting, its challenges, responsibilities, how one should tackle problems, what are the problems of today etc....A parent is always yearning to hear new techniques, methods and tips subhanAllah...And this is because of many reasons:
1. You love your kids to death. You want the best for them always. You want the best for them in this duniya, and if you yourself firmly believe in the aakhirah and its eternity, you want the best for them in the aakhirah too.
2. A muslim parent think of this blessing (the blessing of having a child to invest into) as a trust from Allah. And as with anything that has been entrusted, you want to make sure you keep it safe, protect it from external harm.
3. Having a righteous child who will make dua for you, is one of the three things mentioned in the hadeeth An-Nabiyyu Sallallahu alaihiwassalam, that the reward of which will continue to culminate. I see it as a kind of selfishness on the parent's part for wanting to have a righteous child- the greed for continuous reward.
Some pointers on how we can do our best in ensuring our kids will be on the straight path- the path that Allah wants us to tread on:
1. Proper Communication with them:
Usually, when we talk about good communication skills, we think of the best manner to convey your message, having eye contact while you speak, using the language that is easy to understand. Well, you do not have proper communication skills even if you master the art of speech till you have also mastered the art of listening. Being a good listener needs much more training than being a good speaker. And some of the elements needed are lot of patience, a sincere interest in the other person and controlling your inner force that tells you "You have to make your point". As Sheikh Yasser Fazzaqa (Hafidhahullah) said, the person is more important than the point.
Listen to your child. Only through listening will you know your child. If we do not listen to them whne they are really young, you will not be able to hear them as they enter their teens. Its going to be too late and will leave you to fret over "I cannot understand my 15 year old." Your child must be given the freedom of conveying her feelings, emotions and discussing everything that happens in his/her life.
Also, to bring them up to be a listener of what you, as a parent, say to them, you have to teach them to listen. And the only way to teach them that is by practising it yourself inshAllah.
2. Mutual respect:
Well, the goal is for them to respect you since you are the parent. But again, the best way to teach how to respect is by respecting them (and hence, the mutual respect). Respect their feelings, their visions; let them have a say in family matters especially if it is concerning them. Give them a choice, allow them to choose from within their limits.
There is one aspect of respect which can become fear of the parent. This is dangerous, and it can lead them to become liers and hypocrites. This is a scary line for myself to draw. But if parents could always remember not to be imposing or dictating, it could help inshAllah. "Because I said so" should not be the reason for their obedience. Rather there is a higher ultimate reason- it is not good for you, Allah loves for you to do that/avoid that and Allah's Magnificient promise of reward.
3. You are what your friends are:
Man, in general, is impressionable- let alone kids. We get influenced by the people we hang out with. And we always want to belong to a niche. A group where we feel comfortable and cozy at. Especially for our young ones, they sometimes feel more at home- not at home, but with their peer group. They have a lot in common. With this in mind, we need to:
a. Be a friend for them.
Lower yourself to them, where they feel comfortable establishing a friendship with you (ofcourse while being a matured parent too) Try to be in their shoes.
b. Make sure you connect them with kids whose parents share your values too.
c. Just like how "Home Sweet Home", let "Masjid Sweet Masjid" be too- because thats where they meet nice people.