The Paradoxes of Parenting!
(Written on: 08/09/2013)
A Few Fun, Common Examples:-
– Letting them think you know everything, but still making them understand that’s it’s okay to ask when you don’t know.
– Teaching them to be fearless and adventurous, but to still act responsibly.
– Telling them to “Stand up for yourself, don’t let people bully you!! But don’t fight in school!”
– “Be kind to animals!” but when we see a cockroach, “GET THE SPRAY! KILL IT!!”
– “You can’t have any sweet-drink or soda! It’s not good for you!” BUT as for me, bottoms up!
– “Share your knowledge with others, but please don’t correct the teacher in class.”
– “Don’t hit your brother!!! Or else I’ll get the belt!!”
So these are the most common paradoxes of parenthood. Let’s break it down. Many of us, including myself, sometimes tell our children one thing “generally” and the minute they do something that goes along those lines, but is ‘socially’ unacceptable, we condem them for it.
This is not right….
“Socially acceptable” behavior is something we as human beings learn with time, age AND EXPERIENCE. So when you tell the kids “Go and wash those apples before you eat them” and they come back with an apple washed with bathroom soap or dishwashing liquid, let’s take a breather and not flip our lids. lolz:p
I’ll give a real life example. My son comes home from school one day and told me he got in trouble with the principal.
So he goes on to tell me there were children trying to kill a baby bird (throwing the poor thing across the savannah), and he was trying to stop them and there was a a lot of pushing and pulling going on and the principal broke up the whole thing and made them ALL stay out in the sun in a line for a few minutes as punishment.
So what’s a mom to do? Do I punish him for trying to save a baby bird??!!? Just because he was in the middle of a potential fight amongst older boys?! What is the correct thing to do here?
Secretly I was incredibly proud of my son here for trying to do what was right… Of course it worries my heart that he could have gotten hurt. But it also warms my heart that this is a kid that will grow up inshaa Allah to fight for what is right no matter the cost…He does what is right for the pleasure of Allah and not for the pleasure of people. So this was a defining moment….my reaction would now make the difference as to how he would view a future scenario and what he would consider to be the right thing to if something like this was to ever happen again.
Do I condemn him for ‘almost getting hurt’ and encourage him to sit on the sidelines when he sees evil taking place?? Do I raise a child who just hates evil in his heart or do I raise a child who tries to change evil with his hands?!!?
Fortunately Islam offered me a third option for this particular situation…
According to a saheeh hadeeth, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever among you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand [by taking action]; if he cannot, then with his tongue [by speaking out]; and if he cannot, then with his heart [by at least hating it and believing that it is wrong], and that is the weakest of faith.” Narrated by Muslim in his Saheeh.
So this is what I said to my 7 year old….
“I am very proud of you for trying to save that little bird and those boys were very very very wrong for trying to hurt it. And in the future if there are children smaller or your size trying to do that and a teacher is not around, then grab the bird and run to a teacher to keep it safe. BUT in this situation Allah(Swt) gave us three options. (I gave the hadith above). These boys were bigger than you and could have seriously hurt you and killed the bird just to spite you in one snap. The BEST thing you could have done here, was to scream “STOP!!!! I’m going to tell the principal!!” and then run to a teacher and tell them what was going on. They would have gotten panicked, dropped the bird to run and you would be safe to live another day to save many more baby birds inshaa Allah. Don’t worry, you have plenty time to grow up inshaa Allah and reach an age where you can change evil with your hands, but for now, you need to think carefully before you act. The important thing is that you do SOMETHING. And I’m very proud of you for that!”
Can’t blame the little guy though. The meaning of his names are “Sword of the faith” and “Warrior”. hummm:p
So PARADOXES OF PARENTHOOD….This is where the development of hikmah comes in and where children learn to join the ‘literal’ with the ‘socially acceptable’ and ‘functional’. Let’s be patient with them. The english language is a funny thing and some kids need a little more time than others to really “GET IT” if you know what I mean.
AS I’m writing this, I’m pointing at the door and telling my five year old “CLOSE!!!!” because he forever leaves the door open. He’s now looking at me and saying “Mummy…(looking at door) what clothes?! I don’t see any clothes.”
Whewww…That kid is just tooo cute.