Editor’s note: Islamic Insights is honored to introduce a new column to our readership, “Raising Faith” by esteemed guest columnist and student from Qom, Sister Samira Rizvi. Besides being a former newspaper copy editor, Rizvi is a mother of three, an author who writes for Little Muslim Books, and maintains a personal blog. Her column will focus on her experiences in tarbiyat—the upbringing of children based on Islamic values.
Too often as parents we fall in the trap of parenting with “power.” Because, on the surface, parenting really does mean that. We are in charge of these little beings and because we know what to do, we exert that ‘power,’ which almost often leads to failure.
You heard correctly. Failure. And as a parent, there is no room for failure. (I mean this in the figurative sense.) We should always strive to be the best parents. Unless we really don’t care where our kids end up.
Parenting in the now means that when you are watching your 2-year-old writhe and scream all over the floor of a store, instead of pulling your hair out, you coolly and calmly take charge of the situation unfolding.
How do you do that? Because we have all been there, and it isn’t pretty. Or if we haven’t been there, we will be there soon. Trust me.
Smart parents know that this little child in front of me is only capable of thinking in this moment. I, on the other hand, have the capability to think far beyond. I have to control my emotions, because I can. My child cannot. And if I make an outburst, that I will most probably regret later, he/she will also learn to do the same.
This is parenting in the now.
It is much, much easier to say than do. And even easier to write than do. I still struggle with this concept today, after three kids. (How long is this learning curve????) But I tell you, that honestly once you master this concept, life becomes a tad bit easier with children. Now they know you aren’t a big bomb waiting to blow up. They know you love them, but you mean business. And in the end, that’s really what all kids want to feel. They want to feel loved. They want attention. They crave that one-on-one bonding.
And more importantly, they crave stability. Kids like to know that when Baba comes home from work, we all eat dinner together. That when the call to prayer on Mama’s phone goes off, we all get ready for prayers. Why do kids care? Because it lets them know their world is safe and dependable.
So if you want to successfully pull off this parenting in the now, you must also be ready to go in the trenches. Do you spend quality time with your children? And I don’t mean cooking dinner, helping them get ready for school, and giving them a bath. While those are all great tasks, are you letting them know they are important to you?
Do you take time out of your life to just sit with them? Run cars with them? Read books with them? Play a game with them? Color with them? When you do this, then when you show them you mean business, they will readily accept your terms. Because they know they don’t have to fight to gain your attention.
While it definitely a task, it will be so sweet and worthwhile in the end. We must not forget these little beings in our care is a trust from Allah (swt). They deserve our love and attention, and God willing, if we do it correctly, we will be returned the favor.
I pray Allah (swt) gives us all the blessing to raise our children with the true values of Islam.