- Zero talent or hobbies
A child who has to give nearly 6 hours to the school in the morning and another 6 hours shuttling back and forth his tuitions has lost half of his productive day. Now he is only left with hours to sleep, eat, play video games, be on the social media, etc. Many guilty parents are unable to discipline their over stressed kids because of the academic pressures they demand out of them. It’s like demand and supply literally. So they let them be when these kids are not studying.
Very few creative kids are able to squeeze out some time for a sport, hobby or interest to hone their talents. A PHD currently serving a reputed university in Karachi states: “Students with top scores have not developed themselves otherwise. It is such an imbalanced personality. And they are not considered for admission or jobs at all. On the contrary a jack of all trades has better prospects. He has pursued non-academic interests as well that are healthy and normal.”
2. Who are you?
Storytelling, dialogue, and conversations are fast disappearing. The communication between a parent and their kids is most essentially based either on instructions or interrogations. Naturally the child never learnt who his real parents are neither do the parents know what their kid’s dreams, fears and passions are. These children because of a busy schedule neither chip in house work, nor serve their elders, nor look after younger ones, are seldom available for family outings or get togethers. They dwell either in their prison of an academic world or are granted freedom of choice in the virtual world of a smart phone or screen.
The break ups of marriages is a stark reality of this kind of upbringing that is academic centred only. The child never played a role of an active family member hence he neither learnt to serve, never sacrificed for others, didn’t learn to clean up after himself, didn’t learn to express and hold a loving conversation, never took decisions. All he learnt was how to score an A star on his next exam and so on. This will be a very selfish and self-centred adult who does not value relationships.
3. But I scored an A star in Islamiat
A Muslim’s relationship with Allah (swt) actually defines his priorities in life. A person who worships Allah (swt) alone must have Ikhlaas (purity of intention and action), obedience, love, makes invocations to Him alone and above all his relationships reflect the goodness inside him. A Muslim cannot claim to have Taqwa (fear and consciousness of Allah swt) and Imaan (faith) and be oblivious to his roles and responsibilities. He doesn’t harp about his rights as they are under Allah’s (swt) care.
Can you imagine a child who scores an A star in Islamiat, maybe even pursues further degrees in it but fails to practice basic Akhlaaq (mannerisms). That’s because the intention was not to improve, grow, or reform one’s character. It was to win a race. This very child with an A star in Islamiat has the potential to talk back, bully others, lie, exploit, cheat, hurt others, etc. why? Didn’t he read the Seerah or the Quranic Ayahs in his course? He did but no one ever told him that they were meant to live by. Not a ticket to get access to the next academic level. Chances are that this super achieving child will not be a serving and obedient slave of Allah (swt).
4. I QUIT!
Recently I was shocked to learn a newly wed couple’s marriage coming to an end. The husband was a very qualified professional earning a handsome salary and well placed. He had a modest upbringing and belonged to a good family with values. Then what went wrong? He had anger issues, was unable to communicate, most uninterested in a family life, had no hobbies or interests outside his own workplace. And worst of all he was not even bothered to save his marriage.
Why? An achiever knows that he will be able to take care of himself financially. He has friends and a social circle to get by just fine. He can have a comfortable life. Then who needs a badgering spouse and a load full of kids bugging you. Our young adults today are pursuing the American Dream of happiness. Freedom at any cost! So instead of mending their relationships, they opt to break it up or simply quit. And marriage is not for quitters.
5. How could he be better than me?
A very interesting observation. An achiever is also someone who if not guided by Allah (swt) can turn into Firawn without even realizing it. In order to stay at the top they develop a ruthless trait. Be at studies, or on the job or at home. They don’t want to loose any race. And they are the worst parents in the world. Always exploiting their children in order to win them badges of honour. This vicious circle never breaks.
Is there are solution?
Balance. Moderation. The medium path. Kids will never be kids again and if they have to pursue schedules at the age of two years just to keep mama happy so she can gloat to everyone ‘she got into mrs.so and so’s school’. I’m glad that I am not in that child’s shoes.
A child can do very well even without an A star and we have millions of such examples. The parents will have to firstly have faith in Allah (swt) as the Al-Razzaq (the Provider). Nothing meant for your child will ever miss him. And nothing ever not meant for your child will reach him. He just needs to make effort in the right direction without worrying abnormally about the results.
Secondly the parents will have to invest in themselves to become more effective and growing parents rather than asking the child to do all the hard work. Here they need a spiritual discourse, some emotional training and understanding of child psychology. In some cases they may take academic help too from teachers or tutors for their child, not to get him an A star but to help him overcome his weakness.
But outsourcing every bit of teaching to others is a very bad idea. That’s why we have Taleem (education) but no Tarbiyah (character building). All focus presently of parents, students, educational institutes, etc.is to get a certain qualification that can land the kid a dream job making loads of money.
Lastly and most importantly they must have faith in their child’s abilities who is a unique creation of Allah (swt). Its an insult to compare your child to some other child. Allah (swt) created both differently. If you cannot see that difference the fault lies with you.
Any child will fail tragically as an adult without ever experiencing what it means to be part of a true family. What great talents Allah (swt) gave him to explore and raise his self-esteem and serve other creation. Without making special time to know who Allah (swt) His Creator is to whom all will return. Without learning to value, mend, cherish relationships and what it takes to deliver?
And lastly Allah’s (swt) world offers abundance. We need not think that tomorrow only belongs to a certain class of ambitious people. There is plentiful for all to live a great life and share with others too.
Our children need mostly to earn A stars in character values and be a balanced and moderate Momin. An A star on the report card does not guarantee intelligence, integrity or success in this world or the next.