The performance of social media platforms during the month of July

LIFE

Parenting Can’t be Outsourced

Parenting Can't be Outsourced

Read

Reading has become a redundancy and this is the root cause of most of our problems. Not reading disconnects us from our own history, our culture, religion and from Allah

. Reading enables us to know what is happening, to put it in perspective and to anticipate problems and opportunities – two names for the same thing. So ask yourself how many books you read every month. Ignorance is not bliss. It is ugly and shameful. So start reading. Read and encourage your children to read. Read and analyze and discuss and debate. See what questions they ask.

The questions are much more important than the answers. Let powerful questions arise in the mind and answer them yourself or find others who can answer them. Cultivate the company of those who read and who have intelligent conversations – not Gheeba (backbiting and slander) disguised as social talk. Cultivate the company of scholars of all kinds of knowledge. Go to them and take your children with you. Don’t worry if your children tell you they can’t understand anything being said. That is a result of the upbringing you gave them and what they failed to learn in school.

Consider it a sign of sickness. That is why you took them there, to stretch their minds and to expose them to the expanse of knowledge. What you hear today and don’t understand gets stored in the memory and comes to your aid years later at unexpected moments. You need to change your habits and your social life. If your social life consists of attending random weddings and re-eating biryani then none of what I have said will be possible. You have to do first what you want your children to do. Make no mistake. To give you must first have.

Anticipate

Learn to read the signs both in your children and in the environment and prepare for them by being proactive. Combative and harsh attitudes usually get negative results.

You need to be able to reason and convince, not force. To reason and convince you need to have knowledge and be convinced yourself. Brings us back to reading.

Another great resource is the company of wise people. Wisdom begins with Taqwa so people who disobey Allah

, by definition, can’t be wise, though they may have some skills or some specific knowledge. Seek the company of the Muttaqoon who obey Allah

and follow the Sunnah of His Messenger

Monitor your conversations. Monitor your company. Who do you meet with your children? Who are your children exposed to? What are they likely to learn from them?

Make sure you keep the right company and expose your children to the right company. Most children today spend time with their own age groups. The question is, what can a fifteen year old teach another fifteen year old? Children need the company of wise and knowledgeable elders to learn life skills. This is how mammals learn – from elders.

As the urdu saying goes, “Sohbat say Sahaba banay.” The Sahaba learnt from the sohbat (companionship) of the Prophet

. Our children are starved of the sohbat of wise elders and the tragedy is that most are not even aware of what they are losing.

Create

Now that you have an idea of the challenges ahead and you have anticipated how some of them are likely to touch you and your children, create solutions. Teach tools because your answers don’t work anymore. Teach tools because they are timeless and can be applied to all kinds of problems. Among the most important tools are:

1. How to connect to Allah

2. The power of dua
3. Disciplined living
4. Drive for excellence
5. Managing money – earn/not spend
6. Take ownership – no excuses
7. Structured thinking
8. Focused reading
9. Social graces and manners
10. Humility – No arrogance

Execute

Finally, execute and implement, because only results can be banked, as the saying goes. You must create a schedule to impart these skills and knowledge to your children. Parenting is a contact sport. You can’t outsource it, no matter how competent the care taker.

And remember that children listen with their eyes. If you don’t wake up for Fajr it is no good telling your child to pray Tahajjud. If you don’t read, the child will not read. And if he reads because his teacher inspires him to do so, soon he will know more than you and that is shameful.

Remember you signed up to raise your children the day you decided to have them. Whatever you did until now, it is time to take stock and ask yourself what you need to change. It is eye-opening if you ask your children what they learned from you. I began this series of lectures by asking you how many of you had one of their parents as their role model and you know the pathetic result. Ask if you want your children to think the same? If not, the time to change is now.

It is simply not enough to feed, clothe and ‘gadgetize’ your children and then leave them to their own devices except to refill their bellies or accounts. You have to get serious with their upbringing.

For the children an even more critical message: Remember that one of the seven who Allah

promised the shade of His Arsh on the day when there will be no shade except His, is the youth who grew up in obedience to Him. So this is a very critical time in your life. This is the power of the multiplier. During this stage every action of yours has a far higher reward than the reward of older people doing the same thing. Everything you do that is obedience of Allah

and the sunnah of His Messenger

and every temptation you reject because it is against the order of Allah

or the sunnah of His Messenger

will take you closer to Allah, make your dua more accepted and be a witness for you on the Day of Judgement. This period of grace will end when you grow older. So focus on making the best of this time and don’t lose this period of grace to please some loser who claims to be your friend.

The effect of friends, both positive and negative can’t be overemphasized. It is huge. I constantly hear the lament after a final exam, “I only got so many marks.” My question is, ‘”Why? Did they run out of stock?” Their answer is, “Friends. My friends who I gave more time to than to my studies.” I say to you, “Wake up! Convert your friend to your way of being or delete him from your list. You can’t afford losers as friends, no matter how cool they look. So get serious. We only live once. Let us live it right.”

Source: Muslimmatters.org

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