Moments of Mummy clarity · Uncategorized

Stepping back

One of the most challenging parts of motherhood lately, has been to simply sit back and allow my children to choose their own friends. It put into sharp focus my own shortcomings, and perhaps even my need to control and micro-manage them, and made me realise that even though I want to raise, strong, independent thinkers, how very difficult it is to watch it actually bloom.

I think especially now as the tween/pre-teen years are literally on our doorstep, I find myself very concerned about the impact and level of influence that my childrens (my sons especially) peer groups will have on them. Some friends I initially thought were too loud, too boisterous, too much into pop culture, too focused on sports, not quite academically inclined ect.

It was hard to sit back and not edit his friends, as I did do when they were younger, and it was MY social circle that influenced THEIRS! I decided though, that this was the only manner in which he would learn to read people, to trust his gut, the only way that he would truly be exposed to different cultures, to follow his instinct,  and in the end, recognised too that in fact, it was my by own parenting influence of always encouraging him to be open-minded, that in fact led to these friendships.

As predicted, some of these didn’t last, and he saw for himself that certain friends personalities didn’t quite match up to his personality and interests, but other friendships surprisingly did, and more than that, they flourished! And as I listened to him talk about them, about what they did at school, and their discussions on movies, and how they motivated each other at soccer matches, I realised that what I may have perceived as a negative influence was actually a positive one. It was just that the positivity was not in a field I had imagined.

I love learning from my children, and the big lesson I learnt in this instance to stop pre-judgement! Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, and my son was big-hearted enough to embrace this. Now the kid who wasn’t academically inclined, trades soccer tips with Little Man, in exchange for a weekly Maths lesson; the loud boisterous child, was the one being picked on, but I’ve learnt he’s also the one who has a HUGE dose of compassion and kindness.

As a muslim, we’re reminded of the importance of keeping good company at all times, and also how the company one keeps actually influences your behaviour.

In a  Hadith, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “The example of a good companion and a bad companion is like that of the seller of musk, and the one who blows the blacksmith’s bellows (respectively).
So as for the seller of musk then either he will grant you some, or you buy some from him, or at least you enjoy a pleasant smell from him. As for the one who blows the blacksmith’s bellows then either he will burn your clothes or you will get an offensive smell from him.” [Bukhari & Muslim]

We are however, also reminded that its our daily constant responsibility, to promote dawah. Most of my sons friends had never been to a muslim home before, or had any contact with muslim people. In fact this is true for both my children. This caused me too, to consider the flip side of this equation. Maybe by stretching across the divide and actively befriending others, he could influence them, motivate them, and simply by being a friend to a wide spectrum of people, this too could be dawah in its own right. I think the manner in which we live, how we portray our values and ideals, have even more importance when one lives in a multi-faith society.

Allah commands us to invite people to Islam with hikmah (wisdom) and beautiful preaching. Allah says:

“Invite (all) to the Way of your Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer) with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and explain to them in ways that are best and most gracious…” (Quraan 16:125)

Maybe, simply by interacting with people of other faiths, and by befriending them, while still maintaining a strong hold of our own eemaan, we can LIVE deen, and this can in turn become,  a gentle and consistent form of dawah! Remember, when Islam  was first revealed, it was the character of Nabi(saw) that caused people to accept Deen, and we can only hope, that it is too, by the character of our children, if we manage to raise them correctly and with a good akhlaaq, that they can in turn influence others, and make a positive impact.

Let your child explore! Places, experiences, travel, food…and yes friendships too. Let their ideas be heard, it may just change the world

Advertisements

13 thoughts on “Stepping back

  1. Assalamu alaikum,
    The question of whether or not to allow our kids to have close friendships with non-Muslims is always a difficult one. I usually guide my kids away from it as i would rather they kept the company of other young Muslims, but yes I agree that it can be a good opportunity for dawah.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. was-slm…Ideally I would as well, however as we live in an area where muslims are very few, that would mean having no friends at all. The alternative is to have a strong Islamic foundation at home, and InShaAllah that will have a positive effect on others. Shukran for your comment

      Like

  2. I’m so glad to read this post! I can understand how scary it can be to let your children choose their own friends, but you have to accept that at your son’s age. Insha’Allah, as it seems to be the case, you’ve taught both your children well and thus they will hang out with good, caring, respecting children. Being Muslim is not necessarily an accurate indicator of how kind a person is, unfortunately. But you’re right, trying to be more like Rasululllah (saw) and his character is probably the best tool we as Muslims have to show the world what our faith is actually about!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My boys are young right now, and they have no non-muslims friends and hope it stays that way, I prefer they have good upright muslims friends, so that way they can benefit from each other solely for the sake of Allah. I know it can be hard living in an area with few muslims, it can get lonely, so I totally understand how you feel. It’s nice to have friends but it even better to be surrounded by the muslims.

    Like

  4. This is a great lesson in nurturing indeed, allowing our young ones to explore ideas, places and friendships – from an Islamic perspective.

    Different strokes for different families, I remember growing up I had Muslim and non Muslim friends and I’m happy for that experience. Now as an adult, I understand how parental support can go a long way in shaping our influences and how we navigate through friendships and other relationships.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That need to micro-manage and control can be so hard to let go… especially in the time and age we live in. Friends can have such a detrimental or positive influence – it’s quite scary. One thing that comforts me is knowing that when there’s a solid foundation at home, even if the child diverges for a bit… they do tend to come back to their ‘roots’. Although it’s not an easy journey for the family. Just my thoughts 🙂

    Like

  6. To be honest when I hear people say they rather their kids keep with Muslims than Non-Muslims it rubs me the wrong way. I know parents have their reasoning behind being it in this day and age its best to be careful. But I grew up having both and sadly its my non muslim friendships that have lasted over 6 years after high-school than my Muslim ones. I think being friends with non-Muslims as kids you get to see different kinds of people, families, attitudes and so on. I don’t agree on sleepovers obviously but spending the day together, or coming over I think it’s perfectly okay. At a time when I was going through a lot of issues it was non-muslims that supported me than Muslims. You children will than learn to talk about Islam with their friends, debate or even educate their friends on Islam. That is how it is with my friends, we talk about Islam what the Quraan says and they talk about the Bible, my friends even tried hijab on world hijab day which was amazing! If they see as your child grows your child’s character and personality those non muslims will stick up for Muslims when times come. I know this from experience. Yes be careful nowdays it’s hard to trust people especially with what the media says about Muslims. But you cannot close your children off from non-Muslims and expect them to be nice towards your kids. We have to learn how to live together, play together, work together and just have a good innocent time together insha-Allah 🙂 Also educating your children on what Islam says when they have questions or making sure their imaan is strong. May Allah guide us all, you do have to be careful that your children doesn’t go astray, that their friends muslim or non muslim are good influences. I hope parents don’t close off to the idea entirely because I’m talking from experience. (www.beautywithzainy.com and http://www.spicyfusionkitchen.com)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Alhamdulillah this is precisely my thoughts! In an ideal world, yes, only muslim friends with the same deen inclination ect would be perfect. However we dont live in an ideal world, and Islam was never meant to be practices in isolation. I truly believe that by integrating with people of other faiths, we can better impact and it will be easier to dispell the false and negative stereotyping in the media. For example when my childrens friends are over, and they hear the azaan, they immediatley know its time for salaah, and will sit quietly with a puzzle or books ect whilst we pray salaah.

      Thank you for this comment, it really means a lot to me.

      Like

  7. I have younger children but your post reminded me of my own mum and how I distinctly remember her saying to me that she didn’t think a new friend of mine was a good influence. I was deeply offended and very upset with her. A little while later I discovered that this person had stolen from a mutual friend and a lot of others things followed that basically proved my mum right. I’m not sure how I will handle this when I get to it but I love your approach – specifically your rememberance of dawah and how it is our responsibility x

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Excellent topic…mind me asking how old your son is? It’s important to allow dawah opportunities but in my opinion, this is only after our children are firm in their beliefs. But it’s also super important to keep good friends since they do influence each other so much!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s