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Are we raising responsible children?

Iqbal Ebrahim
UNDERSTANDING ISLAM


Without doubt when we look around today some of us are astounded at the behaviour of some of the younger generation. The errant and devious behaviour of many of them is frightening to say the least. It shows that they have shed their traditional, cultural, moral and importantly their religious values and upbringing for the ‘new world’ style of living. This issue cuts across all religious, social, cultural, economic and ethnic barriers.


Looking into the matter deeper one has to ask if these children have had the proper upbringing and parental guidance from their parents and family members. Parents hold that enormous responsibility in raising their children to be responsible by steering their upbringing to become responsible citizens and adults of tomorrow. The Holy Qur’an says: ‘O you who believe! Save yourself and your families from the Fire of Hell’. (Quran 66: 6)


In Islam raising children to be responsible Muslims is a responsibility placed squarely on the shoulders of the parents. The task is to mould that child into an Islamic personality, with good morals, strong Islamic principles, knowledge and behaviour so that they can face the demands of life in a responsible manner.


Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) said: ‘Children have the right to be raised as responsible Muslim adults, and parents must ensure that right appropriately. Parents must be conscious and take an active role in guiding their children and families on the path of truth.’  As parents we hold that enormous responsibility and also the leverage in terms of what we teach our children and accordingly how our children grow up to be adults. Islam, therefore, holds parents responsible for steering their children’s upbringing according to the guidelines of the Quran and the Prophet’s traditions and teachings.


Besides teaching them the human values, morals and the manner of behaviour, children should be taught Islamic morals, characters, and etiquette from an early age so that it becomes part of their habits. Children should be taught the principles of humility, tolerance, patience, and other such behavioural traits. These personality traits can help any individual tremendously in their later lives. For example, teach them about patience and tolerance and dealing and coping with tough situations, and they will be thankful to you for the rest of their lives.


Needless to say that this should begin with the proper environment at home that inculcates the best moral and behavioural standards. Hence we have the responsibility to ensure that there exists a healthy home environment for their upbringing. Training them to grow up to become responsible citizens requires that parents actively maintain an atmosphere at home that is conducive to positive learning and upbringing.

 

Therefore, requires that parents too, model their lives according to the Islamic way of life. Children can get conflicting messages and can get confused when they do not see parents and elders following the very same instructions and behavioural patterns that they give to them, or when out of excessive love for them, parents become so indulgent that they turn a blind eye to their sins and fail in checking them. We cannot rely on absent parenting or parenting by remote control.


It is well known that children who are raised in households where there is constant bickering, fighting, abuse and swearing, not only learn to develop the same habits but can even suffer personality disorders later in life. Regrettably this is so because many homes are filled with strife and are not conducive to proper upbringing of children. In many homes we see the destruction of the family unit and are no longer the havens of peace, tranquillity and comfort that we once knew.

 

Because they are filled with domestic violence, vulgar language, family strife, lack of respect and many of today’s ills. How then do we expect to raise well-adjusted children in this poisoned atmosphere? It is true that children may not do what you tell them to do, but they will certainly find it easier to do what you do. As parents we have to be aware of the dangers that our children face and we should try to counteract these negative influences by being more sensitive to our parenting responsibilities.

 

Many parents may not realize it but our youth are tempted by the greatest evils of this day and age: alcohol and drugs. Make no mistake many of our youth have fallen prey to alcohol and alarmingly are experimenting with drugs. Some may be unaware but the fact is that hard drugs are now being peddled to our kids everywhere in Botswana. These drug peddlers or better described as merchants of death can nullify all the parenting efforts in an instant.


Whilst most parents do their best to raise well-adjusted children, there are many others who are somewhat oblivious and unaware of the fact that our youth today are facing a serious challenge because of societal and peer pressure of having to ‘conform’ to the youth culture of today. Regrettably most of our youth try to copy and emulate foreign cultures that are based on the foreign cultures imported from other parts of the world. These ‘alien’ cultures and have led to a breakdown in societal values that were the cornerstone of our upbringing.  


In Islam parents should put in their best efforts to ensure that their children become practicing Muslims, so that they keep Islam alive in their lives and their families’ lives after their death. “No father has given a greater gift to his children than good moral training”, said the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Parental efforts are fundamental and are very instrumental in inculcating the love of Islam and the desire to worship in the right manner. Parents should also recognize that raising good children can be a source of their salvation in the hereafter.

This is because if parents raise good Allah-fearing children, those children can constantly pray to Allah for their parents after their death. Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) said: “When a Muslim dies all his works also stop, except three: acts of charity which are continued, knowledge by which all profit, and a righteous son/daughter who prays for him.” In Islam children are referred to as an ‘Amanah’, a trust, placed in our hands to nurture, love, protect, and mould into God Conscious and righteous persons in their transition to their adulthood and its attendant responsibilities.

 

This implies that we as parents have to use our parenting skills to instil into them values, behaviour, good character, morals and principles that will mould them into a sound Islamic personality so that they are equipped to handle the demands of life in a responsible and mature fashion. This however is easier said than done. Unfortunately there are some parents who mistakenly believe that they have fulfilled their parental obligations and duty just by sending their children to school to give them an education.

 

They expect that this is where they will be educated and taught life skills. Unfortunately many parents see the school as the place where children will also be taught proper behaviour and manners, conveniently forgetting that the basis for manners and behaviour start at home. The children spend more time at home than in school and the behaviour or lack of it in the home is what the kids are bound to emulate.


Our children are our future. We must see to it that we raise healthy, intelligent and morally responsible children. Our commitment should be to raise them in a safe and healthy environment. We must protect their life as well as their spirit and mind, their morals and manners, only then can we guide and place them on the righteous path.


Remember one thing: when we are dead and gone, people may not remember our children by name. But when they misbehave or act in a good manner, they will say ngwana wa ga …. so and so, in other words so and so’s child. What legacy do we want to leave behind?

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Is COVID-19 Flogging an Already Dead Economic Horse?

9th September 2020

The Central Bank has by way of its Monetary Policy Statement informed us that the Botswana economy is likely to contract by 8.9 percent over the course of the year 2020.

The IMF paints an even gloomier picture – a shrinkage of the order of 9.6 percent.  That translates to just under $2 billion hived off from the overall economic yield given our average GDP of roughly $18 billion a year. In Pula terms, this is about P23 billion less goods and services produced in the country and you and I have a good guess as to what such a sum can do in terms of job creation and sustainability, boosting tax revenue, succouring both recurrent and development expenditure, and on the whole keeping our teeny-weeny economy in relatively good nick.

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Union of Blue Bloods

9th September 2020

Joseph’s and Judah’s family lines conjoin to produce lineal seed

Just to recap, General Atiku, the Israelites were not headed for uncharted territory. The Promised Land teemed with Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. These nations were not simply going to cut and run when they saw columns of battle-ready Israelites approach: they were going to fight to the death.

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Security Sector Private Bills: What are they about?

9th September 2020

Parliament has begun debates on three related Private Members Bills on the conditions of service of members of the Security Sector.

The Bills are Prisons (Amendment) Bill, 2019, Police (Amendment) Bill, 2019 and Botswana Defence Force (Amendment) Bill, 2019. The Bills seek to amend the three statutes so that officers are placed on full salaries when on interdictions or suspensions whilst facing disciplinary boards or courts of law.

In terms of the Public Service Act, 2008 which took effect in 2010, civil servants who are indicted are paid full salary and not a portion of their emolument. Section 35(3) of the Act specifically provides that “An employee’s salary shall not be withheld during the period of his or her suspension”.

However, when parliament reformed the public service law to allow civil servants to unionize, among other things, and extended the said protection of their salaries, the process was not completed. When the House conferred the benefit on civil servants, members of the disciplined forces were left out by not accordingly amending the laws regulating their employment.

The Bills stated above seeks to ask Parliament to also include members of the forces on the said benefit. It is unfair not to include soldiers or military officers, police officers and prison waders in the benefit. Paying an officer who is facing either external or internal charges full pay is in line with the notion of ei incumbit probation qui dicit, non qui negat or the presumption of innocence; that the burden of proof is on the one who declares, not on one who denies.

The officers facing charges, either internal disciplinary or criminal charges before the courts, must be presumed innocent until proven otherwise. Paying them a portion of their salary is penalty and therefore arbitrary. Punishment by way of loss of income or anything should come as a result of a finding on the guilt by a competent court of law, tribunal or disciplinary board.

What was the rationale behind this reform in 2008 when the Public Service Act was adopted? First it was the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise.

The presumption of innocence is the legal principle that one is considered “innocent until proven guilty”. In terms of the constitution and other laws of Botswana, the presumption of innocence is a legal right of the accused in a criminal trial, and it is an international human right under the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 11.

Withholding a civil servant’s salary because they are accused of an internal disciplinary offense or a criminal offense in the courts of law, was seen as punishment before a decision by a tribunal, disciplinary board or a court of law actually finds someone culpable. Parliament in its wisdom decided that no one deserves this premature punishment.

Secondly, it was considered that people’s lives got destroyed by withholding of financial benefits during internal or judicial trials. Protection of wages is very important for any worker. Workers commit their salaries, they pay mortgages, car loans, insurances, schools fees for children and other things. When public servants were experiencing salary cuts because of interdictions, they lost their homes, cars and their children’s future.

They plummeted into instant destitution. People lost their livelihoods. Families crumbled. What was disheartening was that in many cases, these workers are ultimately exonerated by the courts or disciplinary tribunals. When they are cleared, the harm suffered is usually irreparable. Even if one is reimbursed all their dues, it is difficult to almost impossible to get one’s life back to normal.

There is a reasoning that members of the security sector should be held to very high standards of discipline and moral compass. This is true. However, other more senior public servants such as judges, permanent secretary to the President and ministers have faced suspensions, interdictions and or criminal charges in the courts but were placed on full salaries.

The yardstick against which security sector officers are held cannot be higher than the aforementioned public officials. It just wouldn’t make sense. They are in charge of the security and operate in a very sensitive area, but cannot in anyway be held to higher standards that prosecutors, magistrates, judges, ministers and even senior officials such as permanent secretaries.

Moreover, jail guards, police officers and soldiers, have unique harsh punishments which deter many of them from committing misdemeanors and serious crimes. So, the argument that if the suspension or interdiction with full pay is introduced it would open floodgates of lawlessness is illogical.

Security Sector members work in very difficult conditions. Sometimes this drives them into depression and other emotional conditions. The truth is that many seldom receive proper and adequate counseling or such related therapies. They see horrifying scenes whilst on duty. Jail guards double as hangmen/women.

Detectives attend to autopsies on cases they are dealing with. Traffic police officers are usually the first at accident scenes. Soldiers fight and kill poachers. In all these cases, their minds are troubled. They are human. These conditions also play a part in their behaviors. They are actually more deserving to be paid full salaries when they’re facing allegations of misconduct.

To withhold up to 50 percent of the police, prison workers and the military officers’ salaries during their interdiction or suspensions from work is punitive, insensitive and prejudicial as we do not do the same for other employees employed by the government.

The rest enjoy their full salaries when they are at home and it is for a good reason as no one should be made to suffer before being found blameworthy. The ruling party seems to have taken a position to negate the Bills and the collective opposition argue in the affirmative. The debate have just began and will continue next week Thursday, a day designated for Private Bills.

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