Purposely Parent (Step 2 of 3)
Assuming you’ve read step one, you’ll be clear as to what exactly an “obedient child” looks like – by my definition. While it may have a selfish connotation suggesting a parent wants to control and dictate the life of their child, in actuality an obedient chlid is the outcome of instilling values in their lives from a young age. This is the essence of step 2.
Raising a child to be conscious of our Creator, to live with purpose, to learn what is actual worth valuing, all starts from birth – literally, well, actually it can be argued it starts even before conception, such a picking a spouse that has the same vision for their offspring. We know as believers there is a dua to be recited when spouses have relations, thus protecting the child from Shaytaan. Then when the child is born, we are taught to recite Adhan (call to pray) in their ear, and give a very tiny bit of chewed date. We also know, to have an aqiqah (sacrifice) and feed the people among the poor with the meat, as well as name the baby with a good name and remove their hair. As a parent, every Sunnah we do with an intention to Please Allah will result in goodness for our children, InshaAllah.
Unite Firmly in Fundamentals
It is imperative that a child is taught from young the fundamentals of Islam: the various duas, how to make wudhu, how to perform salat, how to read Quran, memorize surahs of Quran, learn to contemplate the blessings they have etc. This task is upon BOTH parents to achieve, which is why it is critical to pick a spouse that also desires this for their future offspring. Parents have to unite in their efforts and be on the same page in order to be able to offer a consistent and stable environment required for the nurturing of strong, believing offspring. Kids are smart – any weakness they find, they will quickly use it to divide and conquer (not maliciously, but simply to get what they want). Their nafs (lower self/desires) are searching for the easiest, most pleasurable activity to keep busy with. Obviously, they lack the knowledge and wisdom to understand that what they do in their youth will dictate the course of their lives (for the most part, not always, and Allah Knows Best) – herein stands the purpose of parenting.
The idea is to prepare our children to deal with reality – this world, the hereafter, the choices offered, and the potential consequences. We are better parents when we purposely parent, therefore being mindful of what we teach and guide our children towards. Parents are to parent children, guide them in youth (teenage years), watch them as adults, and always keep supplicating for them!
Imams Cannot Change Your Child
Unfortunately, too many parents take their complaints to Imams when their children are 12, 14, 15 even 25 about how their children don’t listen, are rude, don’t do anything all day, have a girlfriend or boyfriend, want to marry a non-Muslim, won’t cover appropriately – and on and on (May Allah Protect us all, ameen). Raising a child to be obedient to Allah doesn’t start when you see trouble, and are unhappy with their choices, it starts before they are able to make choices. Imam’s can only offer advice, which may or may not fall on deaf ears. The good actions of parents however are a priceless when it comes to teaching our children goodness.
Parents are parents because they have been assigned the task of directing and guiding their children through their early years, even if their child would rather do, act, or say something else. If they are not taught from early childhood, and if they have no example of the character we wish them to have, then how can we expect amazing results (good manners) in their adulthood? The Sunnah of Allah if that an effort is required. These efforts start the moment you realize an effort is required – like right now, yah, now NOW, not just now.
Bis’millah – we start in the Name of Allah, and continue the journey of parenting with purpose. Next post is the last step, which I feel is absolutely fundamental in incorporating into Muslim parenting practices (sounds kind of corporate eh? But who said parenting isn’t work?). Stay tuned! InshaAllah