Parenting Our Friends
One of the most beautiful things about the cycle of life is that we start life innocent and vulnerable but compensated by receiving guidance and support from our wise and experienced parents. As the cycle of life moves forward, we grow to be the wise and experienced and once again fulfil our role in life to guide and share with the vulnerable beings to give them comfort and confidence in facing life.
Through this cycle, we all go through a phase of receiving and another of giving which makes us think, that life is about sharing and exchanging knowledge, experiences, principles and more. And this is the essence of raising children.
Parenting and raising children is a sacred duty. Its main objective is to ensure life on earth continues on the right path. It is important to start viewing parenting away from its classical perspective where it is about discipline, punishment and reward, good and bad, commands and prohibition. We need a paradigm shift to view parenting and raising children as an opportunity for knowledge sharing, exchange of ideas, transfer of wisdom, instilling of values. We need to view parenting as a way to leave a legacy in life. It’s a way of ensuring our continuity when our offspring carry forward our ideas and principles generation after generation keeping us alive way after we depart from this world.
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “When a man dies, his deeds come to an end except for three things: ceaseless charity; a knowledge which is beneficial, or a virtuous descendant who prays for him (for the deceased).”
Changing the way we view parenting from the classical perspective will change the way we see our children, our relationships will change. We will stop resembling law enforcement officers, judges. This role dominated in a lot of families throughout generations. It might have worked in the past where the influence of the parents had the majority effect in shaping up the character of the new generation. It arguably might have played a negative role as well in creating a less confidant generation with communication barriers with parents.
This model of parenting is becoming less and less effective in modern day where the influence of parents is shrinking with the availability of external influencers caused by easy access to media, social media and the internet.
It is therefore essential to move forward in the way we view parenting and play the role of teachers, friends and companions with our children. This is important to gain their trust as they grow. It is important to redefine the relationship should we want to keep up with them. It is also important to do so should we want them to be righteous, productive and influential. Through them we will leave our greatest legacy and at the same time prepare them to leave an even more powerful legacy in life.
May Allah shower us all with his blessing in this life and hereafter. May He bless our offspring and guide us all to his path, Amin.
By: D.Wail Al-Harrasi