How Can we Raise Wise and Mature Children? Featured

By Fatima Abdulraouf May 06, 2024 4318

If we were to search for the most important and valuable asset that nations and civilizations can possess in their pursuit of progress, we would find nothing more valuable than a person who has received high-quality upbringing, turning them into an influential figure in the equation of reform and change, while the large number of people remains mere debris, a torrent that leaves no trace and does not uplift a nation.

Therefore, a sound educational curriculum is one of the most important strategic tools that can shape nations and civilizations. This educational curriculum must have governing central values, or what we can call 'the mothers of values,' and it must have tools for action. It also faces many challenges and obstacles, but when activated, it achieves a civilizational leap that moves the nation from one civilizational stage to another completely different stage.

The curriculum of sound education is one of the most important strategic tools that shape nations and civilizations and must have governing central values

The value of 'maturity' appears to be a key value for many of the mothers of values needed by educators as they aim to build a generation that embodies the higher purposes of their religion and its law. The maturity we mean encompasses all linguistic uses, including knowledge, action, benefit, goodness, and guidance.

Maturity includes matters of this world and matters of the hereafter; for we will not rise except by our ability to achieve balance between this world and the hereafter; “And test the orphans [in their abilities] until they reach marriageable age. Then if you perceive in them sound judgement [by observing their mental faculties], release their property to them” (Quran, Surah An-Nisa, 4:6). The maturity intended here is the ability of the mature young person to manage their wealth in a way that completely avoids foolishness; and this will only be achieved through a mental and psychological upbringing linked to economic activity, which is a fundamental axis of worldly life.

However, in Islamic philosophy, the boundary between this world and the hereafter seems to be intertwined; for every activity is classified as worldly activity, which, with a good intention, can transform into otherworldly action. In this context, we can understand the prayer of the youths in the cave; “[Mention] when the youths retreated to the cave and said, "Our Lord, grant us from Yourself mercy and prepare for us from our affair right guidance"” (Quran, Surah Al-Kahf, 18:10).

Maturity: A Key Value for Building a Generation that Embodies the Higher Purposes of Its Religion and Law, Embracing Knowledge, Action, Benefit, Goodness, and Guidance

The intended maturity here encompasses matters of this world and the hereafter. Perseverance in the face of temptation is maturity, as is the ability to manage worldly affairs in that cave, and the psychological ability to endure separation from loved ones. All of these are interconnected matters.

One of the important meanings included in the value of maturity is the concept of benefit in its broad sense, not in the pragmatic sense; “Say, 'Indeed, I do not possess for you [the power of] harm or right direction” (Quran, Surah Al-Jinn, 72:21).

Undoubtedly, realizing true benefit is a matter that requires considerable educational effort, especially since utilitarian philosophy and its practical application at the level of nations and individuals have distorted the meaning of benefit. True benefit is linked to achieving goodness; “And we do not know [therefore] whether evil is intended for those on earth or whether their Lord intends for them a right course” (Quran, Surah Al-Jinn, 72:10), and true benefit is linked to achieving justice and equity; And among us are Muslims [in submission to Allah], and among us are the unjust. And whoever has become Muslim – those have sought out the right course.” (Quran, Surah Al-Jinn, 72:14).

Perhaps the broad meaning of maturity, which encompasses all these meanings, is guidance and attaining truth and correctness in every matter; “There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong” (Quran, Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:256).

Self-maturity: The First Guarantee for Children to Accept the Ideas We Present to Them, as Role Models are the Deepest Forms of Education

Methodological Steps

Undoubtedly, achieving the highest possible level of self-maturity is the first and fundamental guarantee for children to accept the ideas presented to them. Education through role modelling and setting a good example remains the most important and deepest form of education. Otherwise, the value contradiction and discrepancy between words and actions will render any effort to guide children's behaviour as merely a waste of time and effort.

It should be noted that as humans, we inevitably make mistakes that should be accepted and dealt with. Excessive pursuit of perfection may be the greatest obstacle to progress. We should teach children from a young age that making mistakes is very common due to human nature. They should not be shocked when educators make mistakes, nor should they lose hope when they themselves make mistakes.

Dialogue and establishing a warm relationship with children filled with small details are essential. This is exemplified by the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, when he showed concern for a young child's inquiry about his bird, as described by Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, as 'interacting.' This warm relationship opens the golden gate for hearts to accept advice and guidance. Conversely, emotional distance, coldness, superiority, mockery, or even excessive criticism serve as barriers between the child and responsiveness. Even if a child seems superficially convinced, the reality is that it is a shallow conviction at best, one that has not penetrated beyond the surface of the mind and has not settled in the heart.

Dialogue and establishing a warm relationship with children filled with small details are the golden gate to open hearts to accept advice and guidance

Linked to dialogue is the ability to conduct discussions that consider the age stage of the children, based on free persuasion without red lines, leaving space for the child (especially in adolescence) to explore and experiment until they can independently comprehend the meanings of maturity. It's important to note the subtle guidance to draw their attention and interest, so they themselves reach the stage of acceptance, responsiveness, and conviction, eventually internalizing and defending these concepts.

Difficult Challenges

However, there are real and difficult challenges that confront educators in their journey to shape a child who draws inspiration from the values and meanings of maturity, capable of critiquing the assumptions imposed by Western materialistic philosophy on the pattern and rhythm of contemporary life. There is a value conflict between Western civilization with its philosophy and orientations, its modernity and allure, and, most importantly, its sense of material superiority, and our own civilization, which is at a critical moment of historical weakness, intellectual stagnation, and a value contradiction between ideas and practices. All of this is reflected in the children who grow up from their early childhood watching Western cartoons filled with ideas and values, and even into their adolescence, where they encounter the era of open skies and systematic cultural and intellectual invasion.

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The value conflict between Western civilization, with its modern allure, and our civilization, which is experiencing moments of historical weakness... The most important challenges facing educators

Similarly, as questions of backwardness and renaissance are posed by those captivated by Western civilization, the value conflict has disrupted the entire moral fabric. The problem has become a general societal one, with the unsettled society bearing a mosaic of utilitarian philosophy and narrow-mindedness, coupled with admiration for the superior other. Deep feelings bordering on despair towards reform and renaissance, alongside some partial religious rituals, have turned this unsettled society into a significant pressure factor on educators.

When we add to this the political and economic atmosphere, along with personal life problems, we realize to what extent the educational process to produce mature individuals has become a real struggle for the sake of God, to transition from a position of subjugation to a model of empowerment.

 

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