Parenting Success

February 24th, 2014 @   -  No Comments

The “secrets” of success are often discussed, but the truth is there are no secrets. There are many self-help books, articles, and lectures on how to attain success. It’s complicated more than it should be. Success is about identifying clear goals and working hard and persevering to achieve them. It is simple but not necessarily easy. So the question parents must ask themselves is: How do I, the parent, define my success with my children?

What does success mean to you?

Many people define success as having a prestigious career or lots of money. With all the rags-to-riches stories, people are encouraged to do the same. So parents often focus on their children’s schooling and careers and hope that one day they will become very successful and make them proud. There is nothing wrong with this goal, so long as it is not the only goal. Success for Muslims should not be measured solely by worldly aspirations. Our success or failure does not end at death:

“Everyone shall taste death. And only on the Day of Resurrection shall you be paid your wages in full. And whoever is removed away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise, he indeed is successful. The life of this world is only the enjoyment of deception (a deceiving thing)” (Quran 3:185).

Engaging in action that is beneficial not only to yourself but also to others is emphasized deeply and repeatedly in Islam. This is the ultimate measure of a person’s success:

“But as for him who repented, believed, and did righteous deeds, then he will be among those who are successful” (Quran 28:67).

“Wealth and children are the adornment of the life of this world. But the good righteous deeds, that last, are better with your Lord for rewards and better in respect of hope” (Quran 18:46).

The priorities you set for your children are likely to become the priorities they set for themselves. So be cognizant of how you teach your children to define success.

Be good for the sake of your children

Be a good person so that your children will be successful. This is not only because you will be a good role model for them but it will also ensure that Allah’s pleasure with you will be extended to your children. In surat Al-Kahf, Allah teaches us this point in the story of Musa and Al-Khidr’s journey. As the two men were travelling they passed by a town and needed a place to rest but the residents denied them food and lodging. Soon thereafter, Al-khidr found a wall that was about to collapse. He fixed it but didn’t ask for any compensation from the residents. Musa questioned his reasoning for such an act and Al-khidr said: “And as for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the town; and there was under it a treasure belonging to them; and their father was a righteous man, and your Lord intended that they should attain their age of full strength and take out their treasure as a mercy from your Lord” (Quran 18:82).

If you are a righteous person in your lifetime, Allah will protect your children when you are absent. Even if you are alive, you cannot be with your children all the time, but Allah can.

What if I’ve tried my best with my children but it doesn’t seem to have an impact?

When raising children, don’t consider yourself a failure and give up on them. Just because your children do not seem to be going in the right direction doesn’t mean they will always remain on that path. Some children are like vegetable plants, you plant them and see the fruit of your hard work soon after. Other children are like bonsai trees, they take time before they show any fruits of labor, but when they do they are beautiful.

You may find that you are having an easier time raising one child than another.  This doesn’t mean you have failed with the difficult one. Many parents give up on their challenging child and some even cut ties with them. If you give up on them, they may never find their path. They will look elsewhere for guidance and it can be the wrong kind.  No matter what your children do, show them love and maintain an affectionate relationship with them. This doesn’t mean turning a blind eye to the wrong they are committing, but continuing to educate and advise them to correct their behavior while they know that they have you as a loving parent to turn to.

People usually judge you based on your results and not your efforts, but Allah values your efforts and takes care of the results.  Prophet Nooh’s (AS) son was not a believer but that didn’t mean he was a failure as a parent. You must concern yourself with what’s in your control and Allah will take care of the rest as He sees fit.

A person who has worked his whole career trying to find a cure for a disease but dies before he finds it is equal in front of Allah as the one who worked hard and found a cure, if they both had equally good intentions. The second person may hold a prestigious position in society and history because this world rewards results, but Allah rewards both efforts, regardless of results, so long as the intentions were pure. So work hard and persevere in your journey and you will be rewarded for it, if not in this life then in the hereafter.


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