Aspects of Training
Many parents would like to train their children in the right way. But they are unsure of what exactly they should do in order to carry out comprehensive and useful training. The following are some aspects of training every parent should cover.
A child must be guided towards what is right. This includes teaching of beliefs and actions of religion, good manners, and moral and social values. The child should be taught about healthy ways of living, having good relationships with others, living a useful life in terms of helping and serving others. This type of training is done through talking to the child, showing a good example, sending him to Madrasah and other places of religious learning, involvement with the religious community, and an awareness of the Muslim Ummah.
The age and ability of the child must be kept in mind. Parents can use the help of teachers, relatives, community members, books, and other useful resources for this aspect of training.
A child should be taught that a human being is different from an animal. The value of the Aql cannot be underestimated and the child must learn to control his desires and wants. Emotions like anger, jealousy, greed, selfishness, etc. will all raise their ugly head. It is the duty of parents to deal with these emotions and help the child control them.
Thus it is wrong for parents to give in to every demand of the child, or to allow him to vent his anger when he is thwarted. It is part of training to help a child deal with disappointment and failure, to prevent him from being egoistic and selfish. Many children these days feel the world should be at their feet, and their needs should be met on demand. Even when possible, it is wrong to give a child all he wants for it will create a personality that cannot bear denial.
Although it is true that children inherit traits such as shyness, fear, etc. it is not true that these cannot be changed. Good training can help a child overcome certain characteristics that could hamper his progress in life. Parents need to first assess what negative traits are present in the child, and then plan how to overcome them. Useful tactics may include discussions with child, reading or narrating stories where people overcame these behaviors, and encouraging the child to decrease the trait.
So, for example, a shy child could be helped by being encouraged to mingle with others. In the beginning this could be with a small group of people, or people he is comfortable with. The child could be taught what to say, and how to control the fear to speak among others. Slowly the child will learn to overcome the shyness, or at least not allow it to control his life. This type of wise and gradual help is an important part of training.
Life is of great value. The Almighty has given each human being various talents and potentials. He has given the treasure of time in this world so humans can achieve great things. They will then have something to show for themselves for an entrance to a peaceful eternal abode. Through training parents can help their children to make the most of the talents and time that God has given them.
Children need to be taught about the harms of wasting time, of the evils of useless and vain pastimes. They should be encouraged to develop useful hobbies and pastimes. Their interests in various areas could be exploited. This includes their potential in religious fields such as Tilawat (recitation) of the Holy Qur’an, memorizing the Qur’an, learning the Arabic language, research into Islamic subjects etc. Habits learnt in childhood last for a long time. If a child becomes accustomed to reading in his leisure time, this will probably become a lifetime habit. But the child who learns to switch on the television, and looks only to the television for entertainment and relaxation, will continue to do the same as an adult.
Thus it is the duty of the parents to encourage their children to be creative with their abilities. They need to introduce them to the world of achievement, where many young people can achieve a great deal. Most important, they need to be taught to refrain from useless and mindless pastimes.
Lack of Training
No child can be brought up with a total lack of training. However parents differ in ways of training. Some parents believe that children will grow up and learn for themselves. It is unnecessary to burden them in their childhood years. Others think it is proper to expect children to be like adults, quick to understand what is right and quicker to obey. The correct view is in between. Children are not adults and need to be encouraged and guided. They will make mistakes and slip. The important thing is to continue the training and realize that it has an effect on the child, even if not immediate. Training of a child is a long process and no parent can expect that after a year or some years of training, the job will be over.
If every parent would realize the importance of good training, and work accordingly, society would become transformed. Characters would be molded in the right way, and the new generation would have strong moral and social values. Many parents leave the job of training to teachers and society, not realizing that the education system today in most places is chillingly void of moral values. Society around the child is often immoral. Providing the right type of training is the primary duty of the parents.. Every child needs to be taught the right things, for he is not born with that awareness. By himself, it will take him a long time to learn true values, if ever.
1. The Holy Prophet (s) is reported to have said, “The inheritance of Allah, the exalted, from His believing servant, is a child who will worship Him after him (his death).” Then he (the sixth Imam) recited the prayer of Nabi Zakariyya, My Lord, grant me from Yourself an heir to inherit me and inherit from the children of Ya`qub. (19:5).
Imam Ja`far as-Sadiq (a)
2. I have not asked my Lord for children with beautiful faces, nor for children with good figures, but I have asked my Lord for children who are obedient to Allah, who fear Him, so that when I look at him (one of them) and he is obedient to Allah, my eye is delighted.
3. The right of a child over his parent is that he should give him a good name, make his manners good, and teach him the Qur’an.
Holy Prophet (s)