On Parenting post few months ago, I wrote back then that I had a really great parents. It was such a long post describing how great they were. But, as I believe that nothing good comes easy, then something great must take no easier, right?
Definition of good and great surely might be different from one to another. It depends on what values one hold. So, this one is probably very subjective.
My parents were pretty much inflexible for certain things when we were kids. Even for several things, they were still inflexible until we were come of age. If I looked back, truthfully, they were inflexible in almost everything, haha. Well, now I can laugh, back then, don’t ask me.
They were strict about school, praying, playing, toys, sleeping, eating, extra-culicular activities, what else any children would do?
They were not only inflexible, but also very non-arguable. But, my generations were those whose parents were mostly strict, hardly ‘listen’ to their children, and the time where physical punishments were acceptable.The children too were those who didn’t talk back to their parents. They did as they told.
It’s pretty much different with current situation when these days parents are quite flexible with their children. Those parents,who were once raised by inflexible parents, decided to become different parents from theirs.
Which one is better?
For some reasons, I believe being inflexible for certain things to the children is the best thing that parents should do. A little child will never know right from wrong if they never to be taught. Teaching that is not easy at all. It needs consistency for long time until the habit become character. Teaching something good will never be easy.
Even after teaching them something continously at home, there is no guarantee the children will totally acquire it. Some real example that I witnessed was about doing five times prayer.
I went to Islamic school for kindergarten and elementary school. The place were Islamic values and rituals were applied in daily life. It were exposed to the students intensely five-eight hours per day, six days a week, almost entire year for six years (plus three for me).
After elementary, I continued junior high school in public school. It surprised me at first. Spending nine years in a school where once adzan was heard, the students would go to the mosque or else the teacher would make them too, then seeing how empty the mosque was at this current school. Once adzan for dzuhur prayer was heard, the most crowded place was the canteen.
Some of them might pray after eating, but mostly didn’t. And those were including the ones who went to the islamic school before. It happened also during my high school. I went to another public school too and at this school, it was like a reunion since I met so many friends from my elementary school, even one or two from kindy. Most of my elementary friends continued their junior high at the same school. So, practically, they spent almost the entire of their basic education at an Islamic school.
But what happened? Half of them were almost never prayed. We had two breaks at that time. First break at 9 am, some were doing dhuha prayer, and the second break was at 12 pm, the time for lunch and dzuhur prayer. Those friends who spent their nine years, or other were eleven years at an Islamic school, didn’t even bother to go to the mosque to pray. Let alone doing the sunnah pray, they didn’t even do the compulsory one. And they seemed easy about that.
Something was surely missing,right?
Yes, something was definitely missing : the force.
There were no longer those teachers who nagging them to pray once adzan was heard. No direct punishments when they didn’t pray as before. Only those were missing?
Nope. I believe there were an important thing that was missing right from the start.
The parents who taught them to pray and made it as daily habits at home.
We mostly move to different school once a certain level is done, teacher and friends surely come and go, but there is no such thing as moving to other parents nor come-and-go parents.
This is one of the reason why I believe for certain (or maybe many) things being inflexible is suitable for children. Sending them to a good place is probably not (good) enough. Nine to eleven years being wildly and continously exposed to lots of Islamic education doesn’t make one do at least the mere daily prayer.
Parents need to nurture the children themselves at home. It needs consistency and much inflexibility. Because you know, children are smart. They know how to manipulate and negotiate. Once you’re being (too) flexible on something very important (well, in my case, I highly considered doing five times prayer is important), children will know that they can negotiate with this. Maybe at first they will do the prayers because they are told to do it or because they are afraid of the punishment they will receieve for not doing that, but later, they will do it because they want to and they need it as they need to eat.
Parenting goals mostly are the long-term one. There is no instant process nor shortcuts. Being stern and inflexible are the way to tell the kids how important some matters are. Some matters that they can’t take it lightly if they don’t do it. Some matters that will later help and protect them to deal with this harsh life since the parents won’t be forever around.
On the bright side, pain and gain come in one package. There is no such useless effort. We will only reap what we sow. The result of the teaching will come in front of our eyes before we realize it. Once the habit stays, it will be hard to dissapear.
My question for me is, can I go through and bear those hard times while teaching my kids that ‘some important matters’, as well as my parents did with me?
Since I expect at least the same result, so I must, mustn’t I?
Parenting is surely one of the toughest job in the world. And there is no choice of become either part-time, freelancer, nor seasonal.
It’s full time job for a lifetime.