Courage in children

September 15th, 2012 @   -  No Comments

Omar ibn al-khattab was a feared and fearless man. One day, he was passing by while children were playing in the street. When the children saw him, they all ran away except for Abdullah ibn Al-zubair. When Omar asked him, “Why didn’t you run away?”  Abdullah replied, “The street is not narrow that I have to make room for you and I have not done anything wrong to run away!” In response, Omar said, “You are your father’s son”, referring to Abdullah’s courageous father. Would your children have reacted like Abdullah? Are you teaching your children to be courageous?

What is courage?

Courage is taking action despite the risk, pain, difficulty or fear involved. This is relative to each individual. It may be wearing hijab when the environment around you disapproves of it, speaking up against an injustice, standing with someone who has been unjustly treated, doing what is right despite what people will say about you, or not succumbing to negative peer pressure.

It is not easy, comfortable or without pain but courage is what allows us to be innovative and creative. Without courage, we would have been too afraid to explore new things. For example, we would not have airplanes. Courage can be built little by little. It is not something acquired all at once.

Where does courage come from?

Courage comes mainly from the belief that nothing can harm us without the permission of Allah.

Know that if the Nation were to gather together to benefit you with anything, it would benefit you only with something that Allah had already prescribed for you, and that if they gather together to harm you with anything, they would harm you only with something Allah had already prescribed for you.” (Al-Tirmithi)

So as long as you have Allah by your side, you should fear no one but Him. This is one of the most important concepts for us to remember and ensure that children understand and live by.

Be careful not to plant fear

Sometimes, it is the parents who plant fear in their children. They may use fear of people as a tactic to get children to behave. For example, parents may say, “The police will come and take you if you don’t quiet down”, “I’ll tell your teacher”, “I’ll call the scary lady down the street”, etc. This is not a very good disciplining method. You will only raise fearful children. It is very unlikely Abdullah ibn Al-zubair’s parents threatened him with “We’ll call Omar ibn al-khattab if you misbehave”. So don’t develop a fear of others in your children. Let them fear no one but Allah. They should be respectful and polite with others but they should never fear them.

Model courage in front of your children

If you are courageous, your children are much more likely to follow your example. Abdullah ibn Al-zubair’s parents were courageous. His father was known as one of the best military commanders of his time. And his mother, Asmaa bint Abi-Bakr, is known for playing an important role in the Prophet’s migration from Mecca to Medina. She carried food to the Prophet (PBUH) and Abu Bakr (RA) and helped cover their tracks. This was a dangerous task because their enemies were searching for them. Also, to take the food to them she had to go through an approximately five-hour hike to the mountain while she was seven months pregnant. Having two parents who displayed courage throughout their life allowed Abdullah to become one of the most successful commanders in the army. He is also known as a man who stood up for his convictions.

Facing the risk, the pain or the fear

Do you encourage your children to speak up if they see something wrong, or would you rather they remain quiet to avoid negative repercussions? Do you encourage them to face their fears? Courage is not only displayed in big situations, like the battlefield. There are minor everyday situations that require courage.

Talk to your children about any fears they may have that may be preventing them from taking action. Reassure them that it is normal to be afraid or anxious, especially when something is new. Encourage them to take action anyway. The first step is always difficult, but the more action they take in difficult situations, the more courageous they will become.


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