Children Must Be Taught How To Think, Not What To Think
As a school teacher but not yet a parent, I feel somewhat responsible for the teaching of little minds. I know I am only with them for half the day and then they are returned back to their parents, but I see them in situations their parents never do and truth be told, I actually spend more time with some of my school children than their parents do. So with that, I thought to write a post about the importance of manners, especially in our children.
It’s not enough to teach our children the words, “sorry, please & thank you.” Without meaning and empathy, we might as well teach our children, “banana, strawberry and apple.” Without understanding, they are just words, foreign and sometimes used as a scapegoat. As an educator I believe that teaching manners and etiquette is more important than academics. But do we really appreciate this in our curriculum or society?
If your child came home with 0/10 for his English test but his teacher was impressed and admired his kind nature, the way he shares his pencils, the way he always loves to help those around him, the way that he is honest and sticks up for the wronged, the way that he is curious and asks questions to stimulate his mind, the way that he listens carefully to his teacher and respects the time she spends helping him…
How would you react? Most parents would blame the child for underachieving, for wasting their hard earned money… for being stupid etc.
But we must stop and ask ourselves, what’s really important in life?
Abu Hurairah (RA) said, “I heard Abu al Qasim (Rasulullah (SAW)), say, ‘The best among you in Islam are those with the best manners, so long as they develop a sense of understanding.”
We can get consumed with academic achievements and make our children spend hours studying for one exam, we put pressure on them to get top marks and send them to extra lessons, every year the pressure gets more and more. Meanwhile, the last time they helped their grandma with taking the rubbish was 3 months ago. They stopped greeting their elders when they walk in a room. They are depressed but don’t feel comfortable enough to tell us…
Yet, our Prophet (Pbuh) did not reprimand anyone. He didn’t correct anyone’s faults except in private. He loved children and elderly and he taught the whole of mankind the best of manners…
Anas (RA) said, “I served Rasulullah (SAW) for ten years. During that time, he never once said to me as much as ‘Oof’ if I did something wrong. He never asked me, if I had failed to do something, ‘Why did you not do it?,’ and he never said to me, if I had done something wrong, ‘Why did you do it?”
As a teacher and when I am a mum inshallah, I want my child to feel loved. To feel important. To know that he will make mistakes and he always has the chance to be forgiven. I want him to care about others before himself. I want him to be honest regardless of the consequences. I want him to learn respect before his ABC’s. I want him to change the world but most importantly, I want him to change himself.
If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.