The shepherd of a family

Each of you is a shepherd and each of you shall be asked about his flock” – Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

For every parent in the world raising children occupies their central position in life. The rising costs of living in so many cities around the world has created a new desire to re-learn parenting and to re-learn the old things which used to come naturally until the new age of technology took over. Parents are finding less time for themselves after work. Children find it more convenient to play video games when they dont have other options to play around.

Parents continue to look for innovative ways to work around the pressure from their busy corporate lives. My work today is on dads. The job role of a dad is not to discipline children constantly. Dad’s responsibility is to generate the senses which deal with confidence, courage and leadership in children. He has to make sure his children feel their presence in front of him, they want to feel important like dad and they want to be a part of the big thiing like dad. Doctors call it Dad’s validation.

Teens need validation just as much as toddlers. Dont think for a moment that teens know their vaidation through age already. They probably need validation more than toddlers. They need to feel secured, comforted and cared for, by their parents. That sense of security towersover all other notions of safety measures.

Emotional happiness is so very important for kids. I remember when I was in school, long time ago, my dad one year took three months off to build a house. He got all of us kids involved in the process. We had to work with him and the construction workers building our house. We loved it. That summer my confidence sky rocketed. I got excellent grades in school and I never had to ever look back at my past below average records.

There is nothing more truthful to a child than a moral statement. This is a natural inclination which the Almighty Creator built in for us. Children cry when they get hurt, laugh when they watch cartoons, they get angry when parents neglect them. If you’re wondering at what age should you tell them about values, ethics, morality and faith then think no further. Children start learning early. At the age of 2, an average child will have more brain functionalities than a nuclear scientist. Learning 2 to 3 languages by age 3 is no big deal for them either.

Parenting is a serious business. It will be a delight to every parents’ eyes to see their children grow up and live an upright life. “I want my children to grow up and be good human beings”, is the final dream for most parents. Thats my dream too. Where do we start? Lets start with our individual ways. I see the starting block to be in belief. Its the basis for understanding everything else in life. Starting with a false concept of life makes every other pillar of life vulnerable.Faith is the pillar for building childrens’ (and adults’) moral character. Its a long process of interaction with children that is needed to pave the roads of faith and belief towards a chimd’s heart.

That little time we have after work is such a precious one. How should we manage this time effectively? Take a look at the prophet Muhammad (PBUH):

In his home, Prophet Muhammad would divide his time into three with a portion being used for worship, a portion for his family and another portion for himself. For him, the time which one spends with one’s family, is not lost time. Prophet Muhammad showed that newly acquired knowledge should be shared with family first. The importance which he gave to family and relationship with relatives provides a great model for keeping the family unit strong and united as well as setting an example for the formation of a happy family life. The following saying by companion Anas Bin Malik is very meaningful: “The perfect of believers in faith is one who is best in manners and soft in their dealings with their family members.” (Ibn Hanbal, VI/47).

It looks like there is no escape from being the best dad in the world. No offense to moms , its just easy for me to write it like that. To be the best dad in the world then requires something very especial. That is time from every dad for his children. Faith, belief and moral character can be a fun game if you want to enjoy having fun with your kids knowing that they want nothing more than getting your attention for a little while regularly. You dont need to download the entire text of the scriptures in one night. Plan on spending say about 30 seconds a day on moral character building. Thats right 30 seconds. If thats too much initially try 15 seconds a day.

Ask your 5 year old, “who created you dear?”. Be a little generous man. Let them search for the answer. Let them take a shot at what ever they think is behind their creation. Remember the golden rule, not more than 15-30 seconds a day on this topic. You will be surprised to see the observations mature. Children are far smarter than we think they are. They are on a roller coaster of learning in the early years.

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