HUMAN life is beautiful but the childhood phase of this life is the most beautiful. Children are like flowers. They are delicate and need to be looked after with utmost care and responsibility.
The Holy Prophet (PBUH) has set a shining example of loving children. He used to shower his love on his grandsons. According to a hadith reported in various sources, he once kissed his grandson Al-Hassan ibn Ali while a companion named Al-Aqra bin Habis Al-Tamim was sitting with him. The companion said: “I have 10 children and have never kissed any of them.” The Prophet cast a look at him and said … “whoever is not merciful to others will not be treated mercifully…” (Sahih Bukhari)
The child is considered the father of the man. He is a family heir; a foundation of future society, so he is to be nourished with care. If someone asks how our society would be in coming years the answer surely would depend on the present-day upbringing of our children. Today’s child is tomorrow’s leader, who has to sustain the nation in the years ahead. Therefore, parents should look after their children with utmost sense of responsibility; they should be vigilant in their training, and the result whereof would make our society better.
If parents want to know how successful they are in their lives, they should just look at their own children, who reflect their success or failure in society. If children are ethically sound, it is the parents’ success. Thus they are the true measure of success or otherwise. Therefore, they ought to teach their children morals and etiquettes by creating the right kind of atmosphere in their homes. They do not need a blackboard, flip chart or multimedia to teach morals; but their gestures, habits, actions and words leave a lasting imprint on children’s minds.
Parents do not need a blackboard or multimedia to teach morals.
The home environment is the single-most important element that influences the child’s life. From his first moments of life, he depends on parents who provide for his needs. Parents are the first teachers and act as role models. Most children are lucky as they get required home environment with love and affection from their parents.
However, if the parents’ mutual relations are under pressure for some reason, it is the child who suffers the most. Normally when a child is born, the parents set aside all their activities by giving topmost priority to their child. Parents’ mutual love and affection, care and protection make the child prosper.
We live in an era of technology which has overwhelmingly influenced all spheres of life including children’s upbringing. The responsibilities of parents vis-á-vis a child’s upbringing have increased manifold. Within the childhood phase of human life there are stages like infancy, kindergarten, primary, teenage, etc. Every child grows from infancy to schoolgoing age and then becomes a teenager. Each stage requires different level of care and upbringing.
During infancy, the child has to be protected from viral diseases and necessary immunisation must be carried out in a regular manner. When the child reaches the stage of going to school he must be given basic training in etiquette, ethics and morality. Parents should try to create a religious or spiritual atmosphere within their homes. They should avoid using abusive language, wrangling and lying. They should be careful in deciding what types of toys are given to children to play with.
Nowadays many children play with toy guns or weapons. This needs to be avoided as it develops an aggressive mindset and promotes jingoistic tendencies. It is also said that children who play with toy guns are likely to become less tolerant in their attitudes. Similarly, they should be refrained from watching vulgar movies or videos which project violence and bloodshed. The use of social media should be allowed with some precautions and under supervision.
When the child reaches his or her teenage years, the parents’ responsibilities also change. Now the child develops friendships in school, neighbourhood and society. The parents should become their child’s friends and guide them towards the right path. They may be encouraged to help in domestic work and join them in regular prayer. They should observe their peer circle and oversee their day-to-day activities. With growing events of child abuse in our society, the children need to be sensitised against this menace in a careful manner.
A wise saying relates that infants are to be loved, schoolgoers are to be monitored and teenagers are to be treated as friends. In short, they are a blessing, and must be protected. Allah says in the Quran “O you who believe! Ward off yourselves and your families against a Fire [Hell] whose fuel is men and stones. …” (66:6)
The writer is an educationist with an interest in religion.
Published in Dawn, May 17th, 2019