Nurturing A Purposeful Life

The Challenges and Solutions for Quality Education for Muslims in Northern India
How Long Will You Live?
Blind Faith

Unprecedented technological advances in communications and information access, a paradigm shift in the concept of entertainment and socializing norms and modern tools of digital learning system are among the things that a child in the 21st century is surrounded by and grows up with. Unbalanced importance given to material possessions has resulted in a ruthless race for a short-cut to wealth. There is a humongous generation gap between the elderly and the youth. In the context of a new world order and global exposure of youth to changing value systems, the nurturing of a child so that they can go on to lead a truly purposeful life poses a challenge for both parenting and schooling.
Three institutions that play a vital role in shaping a child’s personality and the chances of them going on to lead a truly purposeful life:
1. Good Parenting
2. Schooling
3. The larger society
Parenting: Proper parenting is really crucial in the formation of a child’s character. The parents’ character and conduct, their relationship with each other, and their approach to life deeply impact on their offspring. If the parents are pious and God-conscious, it is quite likely that their children will become so. If the parents are addicted to excessive materialism and show of wealth, the children will likely replicate the same. If the parents are humble, kind to neighbors, share their possessions with the poor, empathise with other people’s sorrows, maintain social good relations, distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate earning of wealth, their children will likely acquire these good qualities. If the parents are moderate in their thinking the children will possibly also be moderate, and if the parents have immoderate views, the children will likely be so too. If the father relates as a partner to his wife and participates in household work equally, the son will likely become the same.
In a nutshell, the first influencing factor in the development of a child’s personality are its parents. In general, it is from their parents that children can gain their first lessons in humility, charity, simplicity, kindness, secularity and religiosity.
Schooling (Formal learning): Here I include all levels of formal education, including higher education technical and professional education. Formal education is meant for cognitive learning, increasing intellectual gains and adding to the stock of knowledge which is for existential needs. In the process of cognitive learning and attainment of knowledge, the personality of a young person gets reinforced with logic of science, arts and philosophy. Schooling and higher education exposes a child to the diversity of humanity and cultures and to acceptance of diversity and tolerance of diverse faiths and traditions.
Society: Society at large is the testing canvas for a human being to lead their life as purposefully as is envisaged for a person with faith in God, as a good human being. Society provides an opportunity for the unfolding and expression of a person’s personality traits built over time, including through proper parenting and schooling. The complexities of challenging situations and temptations and the push and pull of societal forces also influence the personality and conduct of a person. Parents should be careful in exposing their children to the right social influences.
Parents need to reflect on what they need to do to bring up their children so that they can lead a purposeful, meaningful and respectable life that pleases God and also impacts the society in a positive way, leaving behind a good legacy, in the form of a child with the character of a person of deep faith in God and of deep concern for God’s creation.