I was on Deenport and saw this poem by Roald Dahl posted by someone here.
All I can think is that these are very straight forward words. The truth is that in todays time it is normal for children to be addicted to television, computer, movies, etc. I’m grateful that we removed television but there remains the problems with computers and movies and more. (Please note, this post is about more than movies, television..etc.)
During the time that I was salafi, I developed a type of fear of the haram that made me always look for it, find the faults in people as if being around them for sinning one bit would make me evil. I spoke about the rules more than I ever spoke about hope, love, and sincerity of treading this path. I really dislike bringing up the whole salafi thing but this is something that I have to admit to myself and hope others see. I’m not saying everyone is the same because they aren’t. I considered myself strict in faith and never really realized that this “strictness” was not firmness in faith at all. Within my heart, I felt a huge burden to follow the rules.
I’ve been reading a book called Simplicity Parenting that reminded me of something very important when it comes to raising children. The author, Kim John Payne, quotes American journalist Ellen Goodman who said, “The central struggle of parenthood is to let our hopes for our children outweigh our fears.” As a parent of two children, as someone who wants the best for her children, I can’t allow this strictness and fear (not sincere fear of displeasing Allah) to guide my own life that my children will see. My faith in my Creator, my hope to be with Him, the love that I have for this beautiful religion He has blessed us with… this is what needs to guide me and guide my parenting. You may be wondering, what does this have to do with the poem I linked above? So much.
For so long I did not allow myself to be human, to accept that others are humans as well. I could only see, for example with this topic, the television set. I couldn’t stand being around it. But let me tell you, it wasn’t because I felt it was leading me away from my Creator… it was because it was a box of Shaytan. It was not sincere. And this is how my life was during those days and it has affected me till this day. I felt during those salafi days like I was walking on eggshells but I told myself that it was okay because I was avoiding the haram. So much strictness… subhana’Allah… where was the hope? I wish I could put these thoughts of mine into words that were as clear and straight forward as the poem up at the top. I hope someone understands.
This has affected many things with my parenting. I was strict for so long on things they couldn’t do but not out of love and sincerity but out of fear of breaking rules… not breaking them because Allah was watching… just because they were rules. Such a fine line, I realize now. It’s scary to even talk about.
Television, movies, etc., have seen this because for so long I forbade movies simply because I thought that was the right thing to do and not because I knew and felt with sincerity that it was the right thing to do. And what’s scary is that children see right through us so no wonder my oldest has rebelled. Why would he want to listen to my speech of fear, my words, when they weren’t sincere? We don’t realize how children can see what we feel. Children are so pure and they do. I’ve told my oldest many times that I’m happy and he knows very well that I’m sad or upset. He analyzes me so much.
When it comes to movies and television, we really are desensitized. We don’t realize the harms that exist when we place our children in front of the television or in front of movies. It really does kill their imagination. This itself should be enough reason for us as parents to end it but its not. And then there are the things they learn from it. One parent told me her son watched Transformers (the first one) and her son asked her later on, what does masturbate mean? She didn’t know where he got it from. When we hear a pure child utter words like this… how can we not get disgusted with our surroundings? They are so pure. Her son is only 6. Alhamdulillah she found out it came from Transformers.
Do we realize how many parents will never care their children hear this? By the way, I only mention this example because it is the first one that really came to mind that I thought would get a strong message across about this stuff. Look how they cater the Transformers toys to children. I’ve spoken to my husband about this and he said, well, they can play with the toys without watching the movies. With all honesty, how does this not lead them to want to watch it? Every toy Layth has gotten that comes from some movie always leads him to ask to watch it. They find out these movies exist through children, adults, ads, etc.
I don’t want my fear to guide my parenting. You know, its only been recently that I have felt like I can breathe again after being on that path of fear for so long, and it’s still a work in progress. I want my children to live a life that is simple, pure, and full of hope but my own life has to be full of sincere faith and I must pray for myself and them every day. I shouldn’t always have to explain why because if I’m sincere, insha’Allah they will sense that. Sometimes we have to discuss it in more detail and they need that too, especially in a time where their world around them is full of contradictions.
How I wish I lived in a yurt, with a cow, away from all of this… Insha’Allah in time.
There are many reasons why we shouldn’t let children watch television, movies, etc. We should really be vigilant about what is put on these screens. The subliminal messages are everywhere. I’ve seen Layth lose his urge to read, color, play, during times that we have allowed movies. He’s 6! We should really look to see what is haram in these movies but be sincere about it. We want to avoid what will call us away from our Creator because what is there besides Him? Everything besides Him is pointless… ya Rabb.
Anyways, apparently I’m being very honest online lately. You know, I’ve been online for years now and was afraid to be honest about certain things for a long time. I don’t know what it is about this salafi thing…and again, it’s not everyone at all, but the basic setup, the understanding of basic things seems to lead to this.
This life is truly a journey that takes us places we never imagined. I’m grateful for this and I hope that anyone who reads this knows that I don’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable or hurt anyone. I really don’t. Insha’Allah whatever path we seek it must be for Allah’s sake… truly for His sake, not for people. Insha’Allah we will realize that there has to be a healthy balance between love, hope, and fear – but a fear that is about shielding ourselves from what will call us away from Allah.
My dear sister Itto reminded me in her recent post of something important.
I do not think that kids need to be reprimanded all the time to become good and well behaved people.
I do not think it is right to force a kid at his expenses simply to please others or to feel proud as a parent.
I do not like to command my kids all the time and to give them instructions on how to behave and on how to do things right.
I do not want to make them behave well only for the superficial sake of other people’s praise.
It should never be about people or material things. The raising of our children should be sincerely for His sake. Allah sees and hears everything. He knows our struggles. He is the One that blesses. He is the one who has given us our lives as a trust and our children as trusts. InshaAllah with this in mind and with practice our journey will be one worth taking and one that is blessed in many ways.