As the world is transitioning from conventional to a more experiential lifestyle, the skills required to excel are also changing rapidly. Education, careers, businesses in particular and life in general needs us to express ourselves clearly and confidently. It is thus imperative to raise our children in a way that they can lead their lives confidently as individuals and as Muslims.
Here are some top tips to help our children become confident members of the society:
• Teach them tawakkul:
The Prophet of Islam (ﷺ) has been narrated as having said, “I inquired from the Messenger of Revelation, Jibra`il (ع), ‘What is tawakkul?’ He said, ‘Being aware that a creature can neither harm nor provide nor block [others’ sustenance] from being provided. (Ma’ani al-Akhbar, pg. 261)
If a child is taught that the final outcome depends on Allah’s will no matter who holds the power in this world, it will remove any sort of fear or intimidation from their hearts.They will face all worldly challenges with full confidence because they know the best of planners has the best of plans for them.
• Teach Islam as a way of life:
Islam is more than just a faith; it is a complete way of life. When it is incorporated in the children’s daily routine since the earliest stages of life it becomes a reflex rather than a conscious effort. From reciting duas, to developing virtuous habits; from maintaining an outward Muslim identity to cleansing the heart of its diseases; if Islam becomes a second nature it will allow the children to be more comfortable with it.
• Show your trust in them:
When we start to trust our children with age appropriate tasks and responsibilities we allow them to believe in themselves and their abilities. As parents it may be challenging to resist the urge to help them to overcome any difficulty but allowing them to resolve the issues on their own will only reinforce their belief in themselves.
• Identify and nurture their strengths:
Not every child is designed to be a scientist or an athlete or an all-rounder. Allah has gifted each individual with unique areas of strengths and weaknesses. So, instead of forcing an apple tree to bear oranges we should focus on activities which enable them to utilise their strengths and thus become confident in themselves.
• Embrace failure with a positive attitude:
Failure, as we all know, is inevitable. What is not inevitable is the negative impact that may result from encountering failure. Inability to succeed should not be viewed as a lack of capability; and a parent’s positive feedback is crucial to help the child in reaching that conclusion. So instead of focusing on the end result the child should be reminded that success is not a measure of one’s ability neither is it the ultimate goal. The real aim is to put all of one’s efforts to the best of their abilities and then be satisfied with the end result, whatever it may be.
• Practice what you preach:
The concept of leading by example is not only age old but it is also a Sunnah, so one can expect nothing but baraka’h through it. If the elders of the community embrace their identity as Muslims and walk with their heads held high only then can the children be expected to do the same. Being apologetic of our identity and values will only weaken their confidence in their religion as well as their self.
• Equip them with knowledge:
It was narrated from Anas bin Malik that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “Seeking knowledge is a duty upon every Muslim.” (Sunan of Ibn Majah, Vol. 1, Book 1, Hadith 224).
Our children should not be expected to act as religious robots performing their rituals on command. They should be given adequate Islamic knowledge to have a sound understanding of Islam. This will not only help them in remaining steadfast as practicing muslims, but will also help them tackle questions regarding islam and muslims instead of becoming confused themselves.
As seen we are all aware a growing number of young muslims are leaving their faith to become atheists. The lack of basic knowledge is one of the factors causing the new generation of muslims living in non-islamic countries to lose their self-esteem and distancing themselves from islam altogether.
• Surround them with good company:
The importance of good companionship cannot be over emphasized. The Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) also spoke frequently about the benefits of having righteous friends and companions. He (ﷺ) once said, “A person is likely to follow the faith of his friend, look (carefully) whom you choose to befriend.” (Ahmad)
Thus, we must ensure that our children spend considerable time with fellow Muslims including friends, teachers and elders of the community. Being around successful Muslims will nurture their faith and allow them to mirror their confidence and conviction.
• Give them positive role models:
Children love to listen to stories. From an early age, parents should try to tell them stories of the Prophets, Sahabah and other successful historical figures from our history. When they hear of the oppression and tyranny faced by our ancestors for practicing their religion, it will give them hope and courage to face the recent wave of islamophobia.
• Make dua:
Dua is a Muslim’s weapon, a conversation with Allah (swt) to request the fulfillment of our wishes and desires. It is children’s right that parents pray for their success in this world and the next. In the same context, we should pray to Allah to make our children confident individuals and muslims.
At the end I will leave you an inspiring story from the life of the Prophet to summarize the importance of consciously nurturing confidence and self-esteem in children.
One day the Prophet was sitting with his companions when he saw a young child amongst them. Out of his love for children, he called him and made him sit on his lap. The people around him watched as the Prophet(ﷺ) gave his attention to the child. Suddenly the boy, urinated on the lap of the Prophet (ﷺ).
The child’s father became very embarrassed and shouted ‘’What have you done, you silly boy” . He moved forward to grab the child away from the Prophet (ﷺ)his red face showing his anger. Fear and confusion showed in the face of the child. The Prophet (ﷺ) restrained the man, and gently hugged the child to him. “Don’t worry,” he told the father. “This is not a big issue. My clothes can be washed. But be careful with how you treat the child” he continued. “What can restore his self-esteem after you have dealt with him in public like this?