Children are inquisitive and often are 'a delight' to be with and as parents we have the responsibilities to educate them as true Muslims, channelling their energies and minds to better know ALLAH swt. Our jobs are demanding and more often we take this task lightly, (that is to prepare our children not only to be successful on this earth but most important in the life hereafter).
Dear parents, please take this simple quiz to gauge how far and best we have performed. Here it goes:
1. When you are performing your Salat, suddenly your small child plays in front of you. You:-
a) wait patiently for he/she to move away.
b) try to remove him/her and continue with your Salat.
c) abruptly stop-short your Salat and start to scold your child?
(when Rasulullah (saw) was 'disturbed' by his two grand children while he was praying our beloved Rasulullah (saw) waited patiently until they had their satisfactions).
2. When your child asks your permission to watch the late night horror movie/show on television. You:-
a) do not allow him/her to watch and explain to him/her the need for your child to sleep early.
b) let them watch but under your close supervision.
c) tell them the bad influences of television and threaten to throw the set away...but later when they are asleep you quietly crept out and turn on the television (to watch alone?).
3. When your child exhibits bad manner in front of your invited guests. You:-
a) tactfully and firmly with politeness, correct your child or give them a stern (disapproving) look and correct them later when your guests have already left.
b) pretend not to see or know (as though nothing had happened) because if you reprimand them you are afraid of any 'backlashes' or 'side effect'?
c) start to be abusive and shout profanely, leaving your guests with the knowledge that your child inherited the bad habits from you (like father, like son?).
4. When your child fights with the neighbour's kid. You:-
a) advice both your child and his/her friends not to quarrel and make peace (as you know that children's fight are usually temporary).
b) to show that you mean business in 'moulding' your child you scold your child in front of the neighbours (trying to leave them that 'guilty feeling'...as their son is the cause of the quarrel?)
c) instigate your child to fight back, then you confronted your neighbour (the parent) and in turn you end up fighting with them and become sworn enemies ..... (while your child and his child are now in good terms!)
5. When your child just learnt a du'a or Surah and need your guidance to recite (practice). You:-
a) oblige, agree and with confident you also correct his/her mistakes.
b) make an excuse that today will be his/her turn reciting and tomorrow will be yours (because you did not know the du'a or Surah in question and are hopeful by the next day you will be able to memorise/learn the du'a/Surah).
c) ask him/her to shut up and not to be 'embarrassed' by your ignorant you ask them to learn the nursery rhymes which are more familiar by you?
6. When you promised your child to take them out. You:-
a) Alhamdulillah, each time keep to your words.
b) since you are busy, give them an explanation and postpone the trip to another day (and try your best to keep the second date!).
c) break your promise and usually that is your tactic to keep them quiet and when they pester you..you shout at them for not being understanding?
7. When your child correct your mistakes. You:-
a) openly accept it and thank them while explaining that you are also humans.
b) act as though the mistake you made/done is small and alright?
c) question your child, his/her authority to correct you and tell them off saying that without you they will not be on this earth today!
8. When your teenage child seeks your advice or ask about boy/girl relationship. You:-
a) clearly explain to them how to conduct themselves - the halal and haram of a boy/girl relationship.
b) you divert the questions and their attentions to something else.
c) you never answered them and in fact you scold them and stress that they are not ready for any relationship...thus turning them to their peers for all the 'wrong answers'!
9. When your child start to compare you with another parent. You:-
a) willing to listen and try to improve as your child may have a valid case/reason.
b) excuse yourself and think that your child is being petty (you better take it seriously as there must be something amiss!).
c) ask your child to pack his/her bag and ask them to live with the parent he/she compared you with.
10. When your child asks you this question 'ALLAH swt is One but ALLAH swt is everywhere?!' You:-
a) with intelligence explain the Oneness of ALLAH swt with reference to al-Qur'an, hadith and through an example your child can relate (see example).
b) panic and mumble your answers, quoting all the wrong Surah of the al-Qur'an hence make you child more confuse?
c) take the easy way out....'go and ask your father/mother'? (e.g.:-While watching the news on TV, you explain to your child that the newscaster can be at grandma's house, your neighbour's and at the same time in front of him/her...if humans with our limited powers can be at 'different place at different time' (via satellite?) What about ALLAH swt who creates us?, masya'allah)
If all your answers is (a), I will not hesitate to put my children under your care!
Dear brothers and sisters, to better prepare ourselves to educate, guide, and answer our children's questions (especially now) we need to seek knowledge and equip ourselves with the necessary parenting tools ... we need to lead by example (how will a mother crab teach her siblings to walk straight?) ... with a change of mindset and following the guidance of al-Qur'an and the sunnah of Rasulullah (saw) we would be able to do it, insya'allah....because sometimes the things that come from our children....it is definitely not a child's play.
We can learn a thing or two from them just as they are learning from us. The important issue is to make them (be) successful in both this world and life hereafter - happy learning.