By Col Bakhtiar Hakeem
I love my children. I have deep commitment to help them in all possible ways. I possess and nourish in me a deep desire to be amongst the best of parents. I just want my children to be the best. Obviously what I think is best for them is the best. My sincerity is beyond any shadow of doubt. No one else knows better than me, what is best for my children. All parents in this passionate and love ridden blind pursuits assume the role of almighty for their children. Obviously they are not god almighty, but they falter to become one.
A near hundred percent majority of parents fail to believe what they desire for their children; can be plagued by many ills. Some are short on knowledge, either in absolute terms or relatively. Some are short on the skills. What they desire they can not do themselves even if they have the knowledge. Usually the deficiency in skill is compounded for being short on knowledge. The third trouble; which many, fortunately acknowledge also, is their inventory of failures. Over the years which they have lived, their list of failures is correspondingly long; far longer. It is minimum two decades longer than their children’s. Now they want their children to turn all those deficiencies into surpluses.
Let me shift the focus onto more lucky pairs. I refer to the parents, who are favorably placed with reference to knowledge and skills. They are in better position to offer suggestions and recommendations to their children. Here occurs another predicament. Some high achiever parents keep telling their children, for instance, “look at my matric marks, what have you done?” Or, “when I was of your age I was a first class cricketer, you have yet to enter a play ground.” This subjectivity creates different kinds of problems for the children.
Great are the parents who first win the initial credibility. And maintain it over the years. They are certainly lucky to develop a sound base to move forward. In fact this is the position of strength to consolidate. Weak are those who have to tell their children that listen to us we are your parents. Here are a few more words to help parents to review and enrich their initial credibility. Parents should be interested in the things their young ones are interested in. It could be a hi-tech hardware, or a computer game. It could be a toy, a cartoon program on TV or a piece of junk food. Parents should learn about these and thus be more knowledgeable and in turn improve initial credibility with their children. They should improve the faith in equality of human beings. It will be hard, but you as parent will enjoy the change once children turn into co-partners, in every sense of the word rather than liabilities and dependants.
Develop the communication skills as parents, to talk to children. A rude, indifferent wayward teenager is a good test for your communication skills; and not the opposite. A well polished, well behaved and a civilized kid is otherwise an asset to have in the house. Some simple basic rules can help apprehensive and tense parents. Depending upon the desire to improve and ready to take some corrective measures; look at the list of points below:
- He or she belongs to Him- the Creator. You also belong to same Lord and Master. You are a humble being first and a father or parent later. He is the in-charge; the sustainer of all.
- Your children are as good or bad as you were in their age.
- If he or she is not as good as you wish or conform to your standards, then help the child attain that. Remember help yields the best when asked for.
- Act and do not react. You are far senior to your children by age; therefore, do not pitch them against you. Take charge of whole situation. See through and up to the end. This will help you to act. Act and act based on positive mental attitude-PMA. Explanation of P M A may not squeeze in here without being de-shaped. Act for the sake of positive end.
- A positive end can be measured by many criteria. One of the most significant and relevant criteria to adjudge a chosen end is its ‘win-win’ potential. A child must see a ‘win; for him or her in the ‘ends’ you suggest or recommend.
- Do not be a judge where you are a party. Let someone else be the judge. Best thing would be to allow your rogue to select a judge. In the presence of a judge you would be at far greater ease to plead, suggest and recommend, as forcefully and as openly as possible. If there is no judge and situation do not permit to have one, then evaluate and defer your judgment. Defer it for as long as possible. You can attain and obtain positive results by being a co-thinker and, or a partner.
- First ask the children to give their opinion. Do not tell them that it is just sticking to a point and that he or she does not understand any thing. Now learn to present your opinion to your children and not the judgment. Ask them t o respect your opinion like you respected their opinion. Avoid calling your statement the last word of wisdom. Let them appreciate it. Invite them to look at the issue from other’s perspective.
- Be a leader of your children rather than manager. Before I highlight the deficiencies of manager’s paradigm I will conclude to say learn to lead from behind. Knowing this change in position and mastering this art is the crux of this effort.
Of course babies are managed. Some one has to feed them, change nappies, roll them, giggle with them and sing lullabies. Nothing like mother but let us face the truth. Can’t a nurse do all this? Can’t a qualified baby sitter do all this? Don’t nannies do all this? Sure, as the children grow they would look up for your finger to hold. They need it then to straighten their feet and steps, to walk. He or she would ask you to lift him or her and put on the horse back or high bench nearby. He or she might ask you to hold the bike from behind as young rider peddles out into a straight ride. As the years pass by they need lesser and lesser of the management. These are the years when you should grow in the best sense of the word to be a leader parent. Learn to wind up your role as manager parent. What are the functions of leader parent? Leader parents first identify themselves and then help the children identify purpose and goals of life? The goals of individual child come next. Then the leader parents stand behind their children to see them tread for their (children chosen) goal. They do not manage them to walk the father’s (or parent) chosen course. Leader parents harness family feelings. These feelings provide a strong canvass for the family, including parents; to make mistakes, laugh on them and grow together. Thus they all contribute to each other‘s efforts, enabling the family to expand both vertically and laterally.
Some parents gather their superior size, louder voice, skill to yell, possession of authority and financial superiority to win battle against their children. This is the worst exhibition of managerial paradigm of reactive parents. At the end of such episode, parents, usually fathers, “stand victorious in the middle of the debris of shattered relationships while children stand smashed, outwardly submissive but inwardly rebellious”. Many of wise children successfully suppress their reactions. However, continually put through such trauma the pile of suppressed feelings can surface in yet uglier forms.anager parents are involved in managerial paradigm. They remain operational both in their approach and in hour to hour handling. They remain locked up in petty matters and therefore fail to see the end of even their own life goals, what to talk of their children’s. They do not let heir young ones and loved ones grow; grow beyond what they can see. Whenever and wherever children want to adventure out they interfere heavily. To grow and to yearn for success is a natural process. It is His process. Tragically the petty almighty picks up the fight with the Almighty for the sake of his or her children. The consequences are never good. The troubles are both complex and extremely varied. Human being can be either proactive or reactive or be anywhere in between these ends of a continuum. Proactive people can be reactive sometimes and reactive people turn proactive occasionally. However, they quickly shrink back to their shells. Reactive persons, who otherwise fail to be leader parents, become over reactive towards their children. They tend to behave with their children as equal rivals. The tragedy is compounded when they use their parenthood as their soul superiority. This amounts to begging. And such parents, obviously, fail to feel the pain of their children. The pain, children undergo seeing their parents in beggar’s role.
How will such children remember their parents? Good Muslims are known for remembering the gone-bys in good words only and always. Let us be proactive in our lives. We can achieve it by reducing our areas of concern and by increasing our areas of influence. Learn more about it from Stephen Covey. Let us learn to be leader parents. Leader parents harness and foster family feelings. Family feelings, when not based on values are nothing but a set of prejudices. Values help identify life goals of the children, help choose better course to reach out and then stand behind and lead. That is the time when they feel mighty happy and bow their heads in humility before the Almighty, gratefully. What a glorious win-win end.