Your child’s vision

April 22nd, 2014 @   -  No Comments

Since I was a child, my father would repeatedly ask me where I saw myself in 10, 20, or 30 years. I would frequently reply, “I don’t know.” Frankly, I used to get annoyed at these questions because I did not understand their importance. But as an adult, I appreciate how those questions have helped me envision what I would like my life to look like and why I would choose and take one path over another. Some people do not face these questions until later in life and some never do, so they live a life that is determined by the people around them. Encouraging your children to have a vision for their life can give them a great advantage in the world.

The objective of these questions is not to have your child determine everything when they are still young. Knowing what to do with one’s life is a process and it can change many times along the way. The point is to get the child to think about the future and envision what it may look like from a young age rather than deferring it to later in life.

It is important to encourage children to envision their future so that every step they take is in line with that vision. Focusing only on the near future may be counterproductive and a waste of time as they realize that the achievement of their short-term goals is not going to get them to where they really want to be. For example, many students focus on the completion of their post-secondary education without having a vision for their more distant future. When they finish their education and get their degree, they are unsure what to do with it. Some get a job and live a routine life while feeling that something is missing; others change careers or go back to school to study something else. By developing a vision from a young age, a person has more time to explore what he or she would like to do and is more likely to find the answers sooner.

What children achieve today should be tied to a vision they have for the future. Do not just focus on what they need to do right now, but why they are doing it and how it will be of use when they are older. The more they envision their future, the more likely they will know what to do with their life later. They can also save time by starting early in the pursuit of their vision and the achievement of their goals. If certain socially predetermined “milestones” do not fit in with their vision, it is not necessary to waste time pursuing them, especially if they do not serve them in anyway. A vision helps children find their own path and lead a life that would be satisfying to them rather than pursuing a predetermined path just because everyone else does.

A vision can be broad and idealistic. Idealism can be the fuel that keeps us going. Sometimes we reach our idealistic vision and sometimes we don’t, but having it allows us to achieve a great reality that may not be perfect but can be better than the status quo.

For Muslims, the ultimate vision is jannah (paradise). And in this world, Islam does not limit the vision for us:

“I swear by the time. Most surely man is in loss, Except those who believe and do good, and enjoin on each other truth, and enjoin on each other patience.” (Quran 103:1-3)

“Doing good” in society is very broad and incorporates anything that is of benefit to others. A vision should not be limited to career achievements and the like. Children should also be encouraged to envision how they will achieve their goals and who they will be as individuals.  A person may envision himself/herself as a successful writer but give little or no thought to how their character will be.

When a person’s vision incorporates pleasing Allah by having good character and doing good in society, one will be rewarded even if that vision is not achieved. Ultimately, Allah can make the achievement of that vision a reality. When we keep Allah in mind and make Him an important part of our vision, it will be more difficult to veer away from it and into the wrong direction.

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