When Parents Drop Out

Category: Life & Society Topics: Children, Parents Views: 1034

"No father has given a greater gift to his children than good moral training." [Hadith of Prophet Muhammad reported in Tirmidhi].

None of our eCasts had generated more response than last week's "Television Facts & Figures". We sincerely appreciate your reading and commentary. The overwhelming response has encouraged us to do this follow up entitled, "When Parents Drop Out."

Islam has appointed parents as guardians of their progeny at least until they enter adulthood. We learn from the life of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), about his immense love toward children.  The prolonged Sajdah allowing his grandson an extended ride on his back, is a sublime expression of Prophet's love toward children. 

It is only natural for children to blossom when parents are in their lives. The dominant western system of life has altered parental role in the lives of their children.  Today parents engage less than six minutes a day in a meaningful conversation while allowing the child to spend approximately three hours in front of a television. A crude expression but an apt analogy behooves us. It does not take a rocket scientist to imagine the outcome of such a lifestyle. Such perverted (parental) behavior is then solely responsible for producing bubble blowing toddlers & gun carrying teenagers!

Society expects its members to be conformists; to have a house with a room for every family member and pet, to have more than one car, to have a yearly vacation, to dine-out weekly and to accumulate frivolous things and engage in mundane activities. Those who choose to rebel are then looked down as backward non-conformists. But parents must make a decision to either opt for all the fun of this temporal world or the perpetual contentment of the eternal Hereafter.

Schools are designed to 'produce' and Parents are responsible to help them 'prosper'. There is a marked difference between a well-schooled child and an educated kid. Many teachers record their worries about their problem students and the common denominator is always the same: detached parents.

Those who recognize that they have become 'drop-out parents' should take some time off from everything and reflect and internalize within.

Parental interest should not be limited to classrooms. In fact, many of life's lessons are learned in the extracurricular activities.  A father's talking on cell phone riffling through a manila envelope during his child's finest moment of joy and achievement offers nothing more than a broken-heart.  But an involved parent and their awakened participation in their child's activities, may that be a soccer game, art class or simple arithmetic lessons, not only cheers a fragile heart but in fact strengthens it.  

Parents make fruitful connections when they are with their children at home, dissecting what happened in class that day or puzzling over an assignment together.

Children immensely benefit from individualized attention, tailored to their unique learning styles and capabilities. Parents make many more contributions when they engage with their children in appropriate family games, puzzles, experiments, designing and modeling activities involving academic and common sense skills.

Here are some suggestions to get started:

Plan and Follow Through: Organize each night after dinner a focused but informal session with children on varied subjects like, math & science, Quran, history, good behavior, and even the occasional pillow fight.

Explore: Take a walk in the woods feeding birds, or gaze at the stars while reading the Sura An Najm (53); Do works of charity like feeding the hungry or simply holding the hand of a sick person. Teach your children to question themselves and explore our purpose of creation and existence.

Play & Pray: Rolling around on the floor after dinner with the kids is not uncivil, and accompanying kids and playing like them is not an embarrassment. Congregational prayer with the kids in a public park does no harm.

Let us recall sweeping away a fallen yellow leaf thinking it is trash. Nay it is not, it embodies within it all knowledge of the tree.  Always remember that parents have choices.

Let us pray what Allah has taught us to pray for our families. "Our Lord! Grant unto us wives and offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes, and give us (the grace) to lead the righteous." (Sura Furqan 25, Verse 74)

We welcome your ideas and experiences at [email protected].


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