Fri 01 August 2014
5 Shawwaal 1435 AH  



LECTURES

Man is in Loss

Parenting

Building Personality

Muslim Personality

Marriage

Muslim Family


Ingredients of a Blessed Family

Journey to Parenthood

A New Arrival in the Family

Infancy and Pre-school Nursing

School Exposure

Adolescence

Issues of Social Ills


new lectures to follow...


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School Exposure (Click here for multiple questions on this Lecture)

Starting school is an exciting experience for young children and a
challenging responsibility for the parents. Those who had the advantage of
sending their children to pre-school nursery before the statutory education
have already passed a phase in that challenge. The fact that the young lovely
ones are going to be exposed to host of life experiences should convince the
parents to plan and prepare for the new journey.

Evidently, pro-active Muslim parents are well aware of the challenge and they
make their home environment a learning one. Some Muslim parents help setting
their own nursery, on their own or with the help of similar minded parents.

School provides the first opportunity for exposure to outside world through
formalised education. What does a child learn? In the task-centred education
philosophy a child is the tool, although most important. So, the parents must
continuously interact with him as to what is going on in his world of
schooling. Parents should ask, help, guide and build confidence in him. The
parents need to share with their child the experience of school life. They
need to cultivate the potentials of their sweet one and attempt to harness
them. However, going through the child's learning process needs an open and
broad outlook from the parents, a sensitive approach and conscientious
attitude.

A Question to think about : How do parents help, guide and build confidence in their child who is starting school?

Which School?

Muslim parents are genuinely concerned about the amoral values in the
schools. There are of course many religious denominational schools, most of
whom are church based. There also exist some private Muslim schools in many
western countries now. In Britain there are two government-funded Muslim
schools. But for ordinary Muslims the choice is limited which lead them to
hard reality of choosing normal government schools. But whatever school may
be chosen for the child, he needs the basic and obligatory knowledge of Islam
which the parents are obliged to provide.

A Question to think about : What should Muslim parents do to become aware of what is being taught to their children at school and what their children are exposed to from the time they step out to go to school to the moment they return home?

School Curriculum and Moral Issues

It is acknowledged that curriculum in western education is broad and it
intends to cover wider subject areas. However, there are some areas which
need serious scrutiny from Islamic point of view. The proliferation of
permissiveness has its impact on the school curriculum to the extent that
even primary school children are forced to learn about sex. It is unfortunate
that young children are bombarded with value-free ideas about life as if they
are adults. There are also issues of music, dance, mixed swimming, etc, which
Muslim parents need to be aware of.

A Question to think about : How can parents deal with hideous offences such as racism faced by their children at school?

Social Side of School

Acquiring social and life skills is important. Learning to become responsible
and gradually independent in life starts from school. Home-work, school
visits, school functions, etc, are the tools of disseminating these skills.
Parents should inform themselves of what is going in the schools and they
must be selective in allowing their child in those, especially when it comes
to overtly Christian functions during Easter and Christmas seasons?

A Question to think about : Give a detailed list of things that has to be taught to a child who is starting to go to school.

Potential Hurdles in School

Schools could become difficult for some children and the parents should watch
out what message the child brings from school. Bullying, racism or other
hideous offences can create dislike for schools in young mind and they need
to be challenged head on.

A Question to think about : What can parents do for them and their children to enjoy Eid?

Weekend and Evening Schools

Responsible Muslim parents arrange for their child's Islamic upbringing from
his early life. Parents having lack of knowledge themselves can not shy away
from their responsibility. They should involve private tutors or get help
from others and, of course, they should try to overcome their weaknesses.

Getting basic understanding of Islam is a fundamental right for all children
born in Muslim families. As the child grows and start going to school,
parents should look for Weekend and Evening Schools, where the child can
learn Qur'an, Arabic and Islamic Studies in an Islamic environment and
Muslim-friendly atmosphere. But care must be taken that the child is not
overburdened with too much work and mishandled by the teachers who have
little understanding of techniques to educate young people. We must not rob
children of their childhood by overburdening them with work and work. Where
there are no such schools, parents should look for alternative arrangements.

A Question to think about : How can parents go about teaching gender issues to their children?

Islamic Social Environment

Weekend schools or Community clubs can occasionally arrange for day trips,
camps, etc, for fun and learning to live together as Muslims. They also help
a child making friendship with others which is absolutely important for a
Muslim. Children make and break friends and learn about themselves and the
world around them. Parents can and should help their young ones to choose
suitable friends.

At the same time, if time and finance permit, children should be taken to
Umra trips or for visit to other Muslim historical places to give them wider
perspectives of Islamic history. With careful planning this may not be
impossible for many parents.

In order to imprint on the child of clean and innocent recreation, Islamic
occasions, such as two Eid days, should be utilised. Muslim parents need to
involve the children in these social occasions. Islamic recreation has unique
moral and spiritual dimension.

A Question to think about : What is the meaning of 'Islamic Shariah'?

Gender Issue

As the child grows, gender issue naturally comes in. While in Islam Taqwa
(God-consciousness) is the criterion for success, gender role is important
and the parents should be open about this. Parents need to gradually teach
about the roles and responsibilities of man and woman before school, TV or
some other agencies take this on board and give them distorted views.

A Question to think about : What is the minimum amount of time that parents should spend with their children for playing and discussing family issues?

Islamic Shariah and Personal Hygiene

A child at this stage grows rapidly. Some grow fast. By the end of the
primary school-life most children are at near- puberty stage. This is when
Islamic Shariah begins to be determining factors in their life. Both father
and mother should be pro-actively engaged with their sons and daughters
respectively so that they are not lost or misled in this important juncture
of their life. Cleanliness and personal hygiene are important for boys and
girls. Islam is emphatic about cleanliness (part of faith - Hadith)

A Question to think about : Give an example of how parents can create a family atmosphere where discipline becomes ingrained in their children.

Family Time

Whatever you spend for the pleasure of Allah will be rewarded; even the
mouthful of food you give to your wife. (Sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Anyone spending for the family for the pleasure of Allah will be treated as
sadaqa. (Sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Earning livelihood is an act of worship. Spending for the family is the best
of spending. The above and other sayings of the Prophet encourage Muslims to
earn and spend for the family and others. Provisions come from Allah and a
Muslim should be grateful for what he earns.

Earning livelihood is a struggle, and as such spending quality time for the
child is increasingly getting difficult for the parents. There are many
fathers who seldom see their loved ones. Odd jobs at nights and
over-stretched work hinder their interaction with the children, leaving
mother alone to struggle with the household works and manage education of the
children. It is essential that parents manage time to sit together sometimes
and discuss family issues of importance. Even if it is absolutely necessary
for both the parents to work full-time they must have plans for getting
together on occasions. Children should be aware of the difficulties faced by
their parents.

Parents must manage some time to play with the children. The Prophet has
mentioned that those who have child should act like a child with him. He used
to line up three young sons of his uncle Abbas and ask them to run toward
him. They ran, jumped on him and he hugged and kissed them. He sometimes
crawled on his hands and knees while Hasan and Hussain were riding on his back

A Question to think about : Active listening is crucial in parenting. Explain what is active listening and how should one train to become an active listener?

Discipline

Discipline is important for success in life, but it is a shared
responsibility. On the other hand, freedom is in the human nature. If the
parents are successful in creating a family atmosphere where everybody
understands his role and responsibility, discipline becomes ingrained and
problem would not occur. Discipline implemented by force is not natural and
bound to fail. Excessive discipline has opposite effect. Nobody feels
comfortable with the 'control freaks' around. Too much control leads to
rebellion or else make children isolationist, docile and passive.

Parents must avoid head-on confrontation with their child at any situation.
In dealing with a child there should not be any discrepancy between two
parents, or else he will take advantage of that. It is always better to
discuss the strategy beforehand.

A Question to think about : Should parents prevent their children from watching TV?

Listening Skill

A child is an not adult. He talks, often repeats unnecessarily and sometimes
talks without probably any meaning. This is the way he learns how to
communicate with others. Parents need to have patience to listen to him
actively. Active listening is a skill. People have a tendency to talk, not to
listen. But wise men are those who listen. Allah has given man two ears and
one mouth in order that he listens more than he talks and reflects. So,
parents need to talk to their child meaningfully and in a way he understands.
The Prophet was an active listener and meaningful speaker.

Aishah (RA) narrated that the Prophet (pbuh) spoke clearly so that all those
who listened to him would understand him. (Abu Dawud)

Anas (RA) related that the Prophet (pbuh) used to repeat his words thrice so
that the meanings were understood fully. (Bukhari)

A Question to think about : At what age should a child be taught the basic teachings of Islam? What are the basic teachings of Islam?

Enjoying and purposeful Learning

Sensible parents leave room for their child's physical and mental space.
Parents can engage him with story-telling, and good audio-visual cassettes.
Story telling has long-term impact on learning. Stories of great people on
earth, especially the companions of the Prophet are inspiring. Poems, songs
and other artistic areas need to be encouraged as long as they do not go
against Islamic boundary. Children must be encouraged to read, as reading for
knowledge and understanding is the way to succeed.

Physical and Mental Fitness

Balanced diet, regular exercise and intelligent games are important to be
inculcated among the young ones so that they make them a habit of life. This
is the period when young people could be glued to TV, which is detrimental
for the physical and mental health of the child. According to survey done in
many countries, average child could spend a staggering four to five hours on
TV. This can make him dull and has its negative influence on him. If a child
is not prevented from watching too much of TV, he can grow a loner with
complex psychology.

Religious Observance and Islamic Manners

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was the teacher of humanity and he was unique in
teaching all aspects of human life. Life is about education and education
starts from childhood. The Prophet has ordered Muslim parents to teach their
children with sincerity and kindness.

Abu Suraiya Sabra ibn Ma'bad al-Juhani narrated that Prophet (pbuh) said :
teach your child how to pray from the age of seven, beat him at the age of
ten (if he does not practise) - Abu Dawud, al-Tirmidhi

Abu Hafs Umar ibn Abu Salama narrated : I was a child under the Prophet's
care. While eating my careless hand would move around in the plate. The
Prophet said, "my son, start in the name of Allah, with the right hand and
take the nearest food". From then onwards I used to eat the way he taught me.
Sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim
As manners and behaviour have a high place in Islam, children need to be
educated on how to behave with other human beings and the environment. The
Islamic manners how to greet people and respond to them in various situation,
seek permission to enter a house or room, etc, are part of Muslim culture
that has made the ummah a distinct community of purpose. A child's manners
reflect his personality and future potential. In the modern world trendy
fashions, often used by the celebrities, are now in supremacy. This is geared
towards consumer, and often immoral, culture that influence the young minds.
The only survival mechanism is to link the child to Allah

The Legacy of This Stage

In these formative years, before puberty, physical dependency is gradually
gone and the legacy of what a child has learnt continues. Thus support and
guidance by parents in this period is thus vital. This is the age when
attitudes and orientation to life are formed, although they may change in the
adolescence. In this stage, a child is straightforward and transparent. With
the broader school curriculum and positive family upbringing he can
comfortably enter into adolescence with a broader horizon. A loving and
stable environment at this is absolutely vital.