A child’s letter to his parents

I have been teaching and nurturing children for more than thirty years, from teaching ‘Yassar-nal-Quran’ to A-level Islamic Studies and from translation of the Glorious Quran to study of the principles of Science of Hadith.

It has also included bringing up my own four children, which I have thoroughly enjoyed. This experience has been both a spiritual and emotional roller coaster. Alhamdolillah! I have worked as a head teacher and an Imam so I have been practically involved in the education of children and young people.

Here I would like to share with you some nuggets of wisdom that I have gleaned from my teachers and colleagues. Islam stresses that every individual has rights and the rights of children are foremost, the rights of parents are also very important however, we must put the child’s rights first in other words these are the responsibilities of the parents. Below I imagine how an intelligent child puts forward his rights, what does he expect from his parents. As adults we need to listen to the little gems. Enjoy reading this moving letter from such a child.

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Dear Mum and Dad, Assalam-o-Alaikum,

I am grateful to you for all that you do for me and I pray that Allah keeps you safe and healthy forever. Although you do so much for me I still have a lot of expectations of you, I want you to:

1. Help me Develop a strong character by teaching me the meanings of moral values like; truthfulness, honesty, patience, forgiveness, generosity, kindness, justice, courage, humility and gentleness. The best way to learn these would be when you live these values and I can see you practising them. Practically teach these values by:

  • Getting me to deliver and share our meals with our neighbours
  • Occasionally invite my friends for a meal
  • Teach me to cope with different circumstances so I learn patience
  • Teach me to give charity from my pocket money this will make me generous
  • Teach me how to control my anger so I can avoid fights
  • Teach me about moral vices of greed, jealousy and arrogance so I can avoid them
  • Please never argue with mum in front of me because it upsets me and teaches me that quarrelling is normal

2. Help me to learn and understand Islam:

  • When you visit the masjid please take me with you so I can pray in congregation and get to know my neighbours
  • Pray for my welfare, increase in my faith and love of Allah and the Messenger (peace be upon him) this will build my self-esteem and confidence
  • Teach me about the Messenger (peace be upon him), his Sunnah and stories so I fall in love with him
  • Encourage me to memorise prayers for different occasions so I can develop trust in Allah and always remain connected

3. Support me to learn good habits and to be creative:

  • Encourage me to develop habits that will help me throughout my life
  • I like books, so buy me books, this will improve my reading and writing skills as well as my vocabulary
  • Please buy educational posters for my bedroom so I am inspired by words of wisdom from the Quran & Sunnah
  • Help me to be creative and imaginative, teach me critical thinking skills
  • Teach me how to express my feelings and thoughts clearly, vividly and accurately

4. Teach me manners of:

  • Eating and drinking
  • Greeting and smiling
  • Meeting and speaking to each other
  • Seeking permission before using other’s things
  • Cleanliness, grooming and dressing myself
  • How to be hospitable to guests

5. Value me by appreciating my efforts:

  • Please say ‘well done’ when I do something good, I feel happy and elated, your praises boosts my morale
  • Answer all my questions even if they are silly
  • When you hug and kiss me it me I feel proud of you
  • When you listen to me carefully it tells me you love me however, when you fail to listen I am deeply hurt
  • You must trust me this develops my trust in you
  • When you ignore me I feel I am a failure

6. Reprimand and correct me gently:

  • When I make a mistake please don’t shout at me as it scares me
  • If you decide to punish me for a mistake then give a reason for doing so, your explanation will teach me not to repeat it
  • When I behave badly, tell me off and explain how I should behave correctly
  • Give me independence but keep me under your guidance and supervision
  • Please reprimand privately not infront of others and praise me publicly so others can see my good work
  • If I come home late, first ask why I am late rather than shouting at me as there may be a good explanation
  • Please do not compare me with my siblings or classmates and peers, we are all different, my capabilities are naturally different from others
  • When giving me orders do so one at a time rather than a long string of commands

7. Help me with Time Management:

  • Train me to go to bed early after the Isha prayer so I can get up for Fajr and be fresh and rested
  • Help me to make a timetable so I eat, play, pray and do homework at set times

8. Always be my best friend:

  • We should do things together as a family, like eat together, go out on visits together, shopping together and play together and pray in Jamaat so we come closer together
  • When you listen to me reciting the Quran or help me with my homework I feel valued
  • Try to eat one a meal a day with me
  • I want to tell you and mum that you are the two most valueable and important people in my life
  • Never talk negatively with me that makes me depressed, please talk positively with optimism that raises my confidence
  • When you joke and laugh with me thats a sign of close friendship
  • I know you love me but you should say ‘I love you’ this is Sunnah of the blessed Prophet (peace be upon him)

9. Monitor and evaluate my Educational progress:

  • Your expectations of my academic performance should be realistic not too low neither too high
  • Regularly get feedback from my school teachers, they have a fairly accurate image of my academic abilities

O Allah! Grant us from our spouses and our children ‘the coolness of our eyes’ and make them leaders over those who are righteous, pious, and fearful.