Good Character: A Priority

June 15th, 2010 @   -  No Comments

Good character is a combination of virtues a person possesses such as honesty, integrity, empathy, generosity, and so on. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “There is nothing which weighs heavier in the balance than good character.” (Bukhari) and he also said “The best of you is the one who has the best character.” (Bukhari). So the best thing a parent can give their child is good character. Many parents forget this, they may focus on giving their children the material things that they need and want or stress a good academic education but they may forget to stress moral and ethical education. Some parents do not realize that good character is just as important for their children to be happy and successful in life. Children who display qualities such as patience, perseverance, empathy and self-control are more likely to have healthy relationships in their personal and professional lives. Children who are resilient are less likely to be affected negatively in times of hardship. Therefore raising a child with good character should be a priority for all parents who want happiness for their children in this life and the hereafter. Once parents make it a priority, a child’s character can be molded.

Love and Play

Creating an environment for children that is filled with love and affection will allow them to accept their parents’ guidance more easily. Children who lack love and affection are less likely to be kind, compassionate or show empathy towards others. But a caring environment allows children to be the best that they can be. Loving children does not mean allowing them to do whatever they want and spoiling them with all the material things they ask for. This may lead children to be self-centered and indulgent individuals who lack self-control and resilience.

Playing with children, especially when they are younger than 7 years, is very important for their moral growth. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) used to allow children to ride on his back, even during prayer. This shows how flexible he was with them and he was not serious all the time. Being playful helps parents create a strong bond with their child. Playing can also teach children many lessons that they may not be able to learn through formal education. It can teach them to cooperate, play by the rules, take turns, not be selfish and many other positive qualities.

Discipline

One of the most important things a child needs to learn is to develop a desire to please Allah. This places the child and the parent on the same page and allows them to work together on a common goal. Once the soul is strengthened, the person will display more self-control. Parents must also appeal to their children’s mind. Children must understand why they practice certain things and abstain from others.

Confidence

Having moral values and practicing moral values are two different things. It is the difficult situations that really test a person’s character. Confidence is essential for people to apply what they believe and do what is right in difficult situations. Confidence can be a great protective factor for children from peer and societal pressure. When children have confidence in themselves and their beliefs they will be less likely to compromise their principles even when faced with pressure. Confident children with good character will more likely influence others positively rather than be influenced negatively. Parents must be careful not to diminish their children’s level of confidence with ridicule or humiliation. Parents must be diplomatic when giving children feedback about their mistakes.

Practical suggestions to build good character:

  • Play age-appropriate games with your children that will help them develop good character.
  • Display good character in front of your children, children learn through observation. So be aware of your shortcomings and work on them.
  • Being mindful of Allah by getting to know Him through His 99 names
  • Enroll children in sports.
  • Teach children stories of prophets who displayed the best of character, be sure to show the human side to the prophets so that the children can relate to them.
  • Surround your children with people who display good character.
  • Make du’a that Allah guides your children and keeps them on the straight path.

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