Today I came across a post on a popular mommy page where a mother was asking for book recommendations to teach her 5 month old baby. Teach. Not read to or show but teach.
The other day, another mom in the same group had posted a message out of panic. Due to being pregnant with her second child, this mother had been unable to teach her child to write and do sums and now she is worried that the child would be a failure and shunned. How old was the child in question? Two.
Two years old. 24 months.
We have fallen prey to the demands of this world. We created those demands and now, are in danger of being crushed by them.
When something as natural as learning starts to stress out the student or the teacher,then there is something unnatural in the mix. Take a break and evaluate your goals and priorities.
“A child is a student when playing with sticks.
A child is a student when learning to write between lines.
A child is a student every single minute because he/she is already living his/her life; we must refrain from entertaining the thought that we need to train children to begin living their lives as adults
Here is a beautifully explained piece on parenting that I try to remember to live by:
“On the subject of raising children, Ali ibn Abi Taalib (RA) said:
“Play with them for the first 7 years of their life, then teach them for the next 7 years; and then finally advise them for the next 7 years afterwards .”
*First 7 Years
In the first 7 years, your goal is to build a strong connection with your child. This is the foundation, the base from which your relationship with them grows. If this rock is solid, the remaining years will be much easier. If this foundation forms poorly, the next years will be more challenging.
If you have young children, this (first 7 years) is the time to roll up your sleeves and invest, heavily, in yours and their future. In fact, you will be rewarded for all the righteous progeny that survives you, not just children, until the Day of Judgement.
*Next 7 Years
Once children reach 7, they are ready to learn. This is the time they are sponges, ready to soak up anything and everything you tell them, teach them, show them, and do in front of them. If you built that solid foundation in ages 0-7, they are now more than willing and happy to learn from you.
This is the time to teach them everything — aqeedah, halaal and haraam, fiqh, all the things they need to know to survive throughout their life. Qur’an and seerah are also very important; as one prominent tabi’een said, “we learned seerah (frequently and in details) from our parents the way we learned Qur’an.”
Teach them sports too, Rasulullah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “Teach your children Swimming, Archery and Horseback riding.” They gain many benefits from it, including physical fitness, learning teamwork, and sportsmanship.
*The Final 7 Years
Once your children hit 14, they are probably already mukallaf (full adults Islamically, and accountable for their actions) — this happens at puberty, or at age 15 at the latest.
At this age, you are mostly out of the picture. Children achieve independence; their personalities manifest; they look more to their peers than their parents and families. During these critical years, befriend them, advise them, and do what you can; understand that they are now full adults, and the choices are theirs to make, right or wrong.
If you worked hard during the last two periods of 7 years, you will already be that trusted confidant, that advisor, that go-to person when they need help or advice. Be part of their lives, and advise them as best you can.
May the almighty aid us in raising our kids!