“Good parenting and education is that which protects a child from herd mentality. When we see a problem within our children, then first we must examine ourselves to check whether we have the same problem or not”.
If we argue that the biggest tragedy of the 21st century which was never inflicted on the scale it is now. What seems to me is, that we have successfully gotten rid of the values of traditional societies which were formulated over a period of centuries were made ambiguous for us. And gave importance to those aspects which were never deemed as worthwhile values in traditional societies. First premise is this.
Secondly, if we are more specific that identity crisis is a very big problem of the 21st century. What does Identity crisis mean? Identity crisis is a term but what does it imply?
It means that a person is unable to understand any meaningful reason for his existence. He is unable to find any purpose for his life. He feels that his existence is useless. He is unable to understand any spiritually satisfying purpose for his existence. And when one faces an identity crisis then his commitment to values becomes weak. When one faces an identity crisis, one feels ashamed of his mother tongue and apologetic of his society’s values. One is unable to be proud of his parents. One is unable to feel a connection with his homeland and religion in the way people used to feel in traditional societies.
For many, relationship is not important anymore, the factor which governs their relationships is money. Money determines whether we stay in the neighborhood where our forefathers lived. So we find our future in a snow-capped valley. And our homeland where we could hear the voice of the Azaan without any effort. Where we find an acquaintance in every street, we leave it all behind. These were some general considerations. It might have felt philosophical.
Now I’ll be more specific and clarify myself in the context of psychology. There are three questions which emerge inside every child of our times. The duration and intensity of these questions solely depends on the kind of taleem o tarbiyah (upbringing and education) he receives. If he receives an enlightened upbringing, then these questions will weaken in his mind. What are these three questions? How one gets rid of this impact? How one protects oneself from this impact? These three questions have a profound impact on us and our child’s psychology.
The first question: which emerges in the first ten years of his life and this question governs his psychic condition. Then after ten years, two more questions enter his life. The question which emerges in the first ten years of his life is; Am I being noticed or not? Am I receiving attention or not?
He leaves his favorite toy only because you (parents) are not paying attention to him. He puts his favorite story book aside only because you are busy elsewhere. He wants that whenever he reads the book you are there watching him. He wants to stay noticeable. And this a problem facing him in the first 10 years.
Sometimes, a kid who receives adequate attention, is free of this question very early on in his life. That child who is receiving a meaningful taleem o tarbiyah, frees himself from this dilemma. Otherwise, it is quite possible that even by the age of 45, we remain encapsulated in this question.
The other two questions are those which enter his life a few years before adolescence and encapture him with all might. The fundamental quality of a meaningful taleem o tarbiyah is to free from the clutches of these question.
The second question is; how am I looking?
This question will enter his life just before adolescence. To stand in front of the mirror will become his psychological need. To see himself again and again will become his psychological need. And he will be extremely cautious about his looks and presentation. He has entered in a phase of heightened self-consciousness. And how will he free himself from the clutches of this question. When he will be educated. And when his upbringing will be good. This question will be subdued, but this question will not go away.
That person, who maintains a heedless attitude regarding his overall look. But because of his friends’ and family’s psychological wellbeing, maintains a respectable dressing. This person is the one who has been bred well. Otherwise he will be after his dad that I want to wear only branded clothes. He won’t be satisfied with anything less. The father himself will be adamant that he will only wear clothing from a particular brand. Even the elders are much like kids after all. If we see a problem within our children, then first we must be worried whether we (the parents) suffer from it too?
The first question was; am I being noticed or not? Usually this question manifests itself more profoundly during the first 10 years. After that, the second question enters his life. Sometimes, the second question: how am I looking? Enters his life in the age of ten years, sometimes it can also emerge before. Sometimes, it also emerges in the age of 8 or 7.
Then comes the third question; what does my Club think about me? (What do my friends think of me?) Those people whom I count in my Club. What is a Club?
A child will not associate with every person in this society. He will only associate with some people. He thinks of himself from amongst them. They are we and we are they. They are special people, cool, crowd that’s his age group. He relates with this age group and calls it his club. For him, they are his friends, they can be his class fellows as well this particular group. And with this club, his emotional attachment is much similar to the attachment a girl feels with her parents.
A child’s friends are much like a married woman’s parents. When you tell your child that from tomorrow you must not roam around with so and so child? He is not nice. He won’t stop roaming around with this person. He only learns not to mention that friend’s name in front of you (parents). And if you try to be firm then as a result, his relationship with you might become poor but not that friend.
Get it? This needs to be understood.
A child’s psychic condition is entirely encapsulated by these three questions. To impart taleem o tarbiyah (enlightened upbringing) on our kids is a form of knowledge and art. For that, we’ll need to work on ourselves first and then understand our child’s psychology. And also work on our family values and structure.
One thing that I often think about is; Enlightened Upbringing (Tarbiyah) won’t happen as a result of imparting maximum knowledge to a child. Tarbiyah happens when you are successfully able to make a child realize that the most important thing in life is Deen (Religion). What is most important is what my Rabb wants me to do. That child which probably has less knowledge but Deen is extremely important for him. He is much better than the kid who has lots of knowledge, never lost any quiz competition, has an answer to every question, is a high achiever in school, but Deen is not important for him or Allah’s (SWT) will and Prophet (SAW)’s sunnah is not the most important aspect of his life.
How does one achieve this?
Unite ourselves with the Rabb. And try to understand what the desired state of mankind by God is. Who is successful in God’s eyes? But the desired human condition of God must be the goal. We should spend more time with ourselves and reflect. Then establish a close bond with your child. In order to make one do what you desire, you need to be his/her favorite person first. Without becoming a child’s favorite person; At least I cannot possibly bring my child closer to the Rabb and the Deen.
So now, the things that must be done are as follows:
To have a connection with the Rabb, and a reasonable religious understanding. And to work on ourselves in this regard.
To have close bond with the child. You must have a very good understanding with your child. You must be your child’s favorite person. The person who is not the child’s favorite and follows the commandments of the Deen. I am afraid that this person might alienate the child with his Deen. If I am not my child’s favorite person, yet I invite my child to the Deen. It is quite probable that he gets detached to the Deen. I must become my child’s favorite person in order to enact this obligation (of involving my child with the Deen).
We must understand the child’s psychic condition. In our lifestyle, children don’t require things as much as they require attention, affection, relationship. The biggest assets to great parenting are ethics, wisdom, and strength of faith not a person’s financial condition. Financial strength can be more troublesome for good parenting instead of comfort (in parenting). More wisdom, better understanding of ethics and morals along with a strong faith in God, these are the traits required for great parenting.
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