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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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The Daring Dozen at Bari

8th December 2020
JEFF---Batswana-smoke-unit

Seventy-seven years ago, on the evening of December 2, 1943, the Germans launched a surprise air raid on allied shipping in the Italian port of Bari, which was then the key supply centre for the British 8th army’s advance in Italy.

The attack was spearheaded by 105 Junkers JU88 bombers under the overall command of the infamous Air Marshal Wolfram von Richthofen (who had initially achieved international notoriety during the Spanish Civil War for his aerial bombardment of Guernica). In a little over an hour the German aircraft succeeded in sinking 28 transport and cargo ships, while further inflicting massive damage to the harbour’s facilities, resulting in the port being effectively put out of action for two months.

Over two thousand ground personnel were killed during the raid, with the release of a secret supply of mustard gas aboard one of the destroyed ships contributing to the death toll, as well as subsequent military and civilian casualties. The extent of the later is a controversy due to the fact that the American and British governments subsequently covered up the presence of the gas for decades.

At least five Batswana were killed and seven critically wounded during the raid, with one of the wounded being miraculously rescued floating unconscious out to sea with a head wound. He had been given up for dead when he returned to his unit fourteen days later. The fatalities and casualties all occurred when the enemy hit an ammunition ship adjacent to where 24 Batswana members of the African Pioneer Corps (APC) 1979 Smoke Company where posted.

Thereafter, the dozen surviving members of the unit distinguished themselves for their efficiency in putting up and maintaining smokescreens in their sector, which was credited with saving additional shipping. For his personal heroism in rallying his men following the initial explosions Company Corporal Chitu Bakombi was awarded the British Empire Medal, while his superior officer, Lieutenant N.F. Moor was later given an M.B.E.

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A Strong Marriage Bond Needs Two

8th December 2020

Remember: bricks and cement are used to build a house, but mutual love, respect and companionship are used to build a HOME. And amongst His signs is this: He creates for you mates out of your own kind, so that you may find contentment (Sukoon) with them, and He engenders love and tenderness between you; in this behold, there are signs (messages) indeed for people who reflect and think (Quran 30:21).

This verse talks about contentment; this implies companionship, of their being together, sharing together, supporting one another and creating a home of peace. This verse also talks about love between them; this love is both physical and emotional. For love to exist it must be built on the foundation of a mutually supportive relationship guided by respect and tenderness. As the Quran says; ‘they are like garments for you, and you are garments for them (Quran 2:187)’. That means spouses should provide each other with comfort, intimacy and protection just as clothing protects, warms and dignifies the body.

In Islam marriage is considered an ‘ibaadah’, (an act of pleasing Allah) because it is about a commitment made to each other, that is built on mutual love, interdependence, integrity, trust, respect, companionship and harmony towards each other. It is about building of a home on an Islamic foundation in which peace and tranquillity reigns wherein your offspring are raised in an atmosphere conducive to a moral and upright upbringing so that when we all stand before Him (Allah) on that Promised Day, He will be pleased with them all.

Most marriages start out with great hopes and rosy dreams; spouses are truly committed to making their marriages work. However, as the pressures of life mount, many marriages change over time and it is quite common for some of them to run into problems and start to flounder as the reality of living with a spouse that does not meet with one’s pre-conceived ‘expectations’. However, with hard work and dedication, couples can keep their marriages strong and enjoyable. How is it done? What does it take to create a long-lasting, satisfying marriage?

Below are some of the points that have been taken from a marriage guidance article I read recently and adapted for this purposes.

POSITIVITY
Spouses should have far more positive than negative interactions. If there is too much negativity — criticizing, demanding, name-calling, holding grudges, etc. — the relationship will suffer. However, if there is never any negativity, it probably means that frustrations and grievances are not getting ‘air time’ and unresolved tension is accumulating inside one or both partners waiting to ‘explode’ one day.

“Let not some men among you laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor let some women laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames.” (49:11)

We all have our individual faults though we may not see them nor want to admit to them but we will easily identify them in others. The key is balance between the two extremes and being supportive of one another. To foster positivity in a marriage that help make them stable and happy, being affectionate, truly listening to each other, taking joy in each other’s achievements and being playful are just a few examples of positive interactions.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “The believers who show the most perfect faith are those who have the best character and the best of you are those who are best to their wives”

UNDERSTANDING

Another characteristic of happy marriages is empathy; understanding your spouses’ perspective by putting oneself in his or her shoes. By showing that understanding and identifying with your spouse is important for relationship satisfaction. Spouses are more likely to feel good about their marriage and if their partner expresses empathy towards them. Husbands and wives are more content in their relationships when they feel that their partners understand their thoughts and feelings.

Successful married couples grow with each other; it simply isn’t wise to put any person in charge of your happiness. You must be happy with yourself before anyone else can be.  You are responsible for your actions, your attitudes and your happiness. Your spouse just enhances those things in your life. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers.”

COMMITMENT

Successful marriages involve both spouses’ commitment to the relationship. The married couple should learn the art of compromise and this usually takes years. The largest parts of compromise are openness to the other’s point of view and good communication when differences arise.

When two people are truly dedicated to making their marriage work, despite the unavoidable challenges and obstacles that come, they are much more likely to have a relationship that lasts. Husbands and wives who only focus on themselves and their own desires are not as likely to find joy and satisfaction in their relationships.

ACCEPTANCE

Another basic need in a relationship is each partner wants to feel valued and respected. When people feel that their spouses truly accept them for who they are, they are usually more secure and confident in their relationships. Often, there is conflict in marriage because partners cannot accept the individual preferences of their spouses and try to demand change from one another. When one person tries to force change from another, he or she is usually met with resistance.

However, change is much more likely to occur when spouses respect differences and accept each other unconditionally. Basic acceptance is vital to a happy marriage. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “It is the generous (in character) who is good to women, and it is the wicked who insults them.”
“Overlook (any human faults) with gracious forgiveness.” (Quran 15:85)

COMPASSION, MUTUAL LOVE AND RESPECT

Other important components of successful marriages are love, compassion and respect for each other. The fact is, as time passes and life becomes increasingly complicated, the marriage is often stressed and suffers as a result. A happy and successful marriage is based on equality. When one or the other dominates strongly, intimacy is replaced by fear of displeasing.

It is all too easy for spouses to lose touch with each other and neglect the love and romance that once came so easily. It is vital that husbands and wives continue to cultivate love and respect for each other throughout their lives. If they do, it is highly likely that their relationships will remain happy and satisfying. Move beyond the fantasy and unrealistic expectations and realize that marriage is about making a conscious choice to love and care for your spouse-even when you do not feel like it.

Seldom can one love someone for whom we have no respect. This also means that we have to learn to overlook and forgive the mistakes of one’s partner. In other words write the good about your partner in stone and the bad in dust, so that when the wind comes it blows away the bad and only the good remains.

Paramount of all, marriage must be based on the teachings of the Noble Qur’an and the teachings and guidance of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). To grow spiritually in your marriage requires that you learn to be less selfish and more loving, even during times of conflict. A marriage needs love, support, tolerance, honesty, respect, humility, realistic expectations and a sense of humour to be successful.

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Chronic Joblessness: How to Help Curtail it

30th November 2020
Motswana woman

The past week or two has been a mixed grill of briefs in so far as the national employment picture is concerned. BDC just injected a further P64 million in Kromberg & Schubert, the automotive cable manufacturer and exporter, to help keep it afloat in the face of the COVID-19-engendered global economic apocalypse. The financial lifeline, which follows an earlier P36 million way back in 2017, hopefully guarantees the jobs of 2500, maybe for another year or two.

It was also reported that a bulb manufacturing company, which is two years old and is youth-led, is making waves in Selibe Phikwe. Called Bulb Word, it is the only bulb manufacturing operation in Botswana and employs 60 people. The figure is not insignificant in a town that had 5000 jobs offloaded in one fell swoop when BCL closed shop in 2016 under seemingly contrived circumstances, so that as I write, two or three buyers have submitted bids to acquire and exhume it from its stage-managed grave.

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