I hear this dilemma over and over again, "I know the kind of parenting I want for my children, but I can't be disrespectful to my parents, in-laws, grandparents."
"Have boundaries", the reply is often, But somewhere inside we all know that the inner child hasn't known anything apart from obedience and in later years resentful obedience.
I know for sure what I want for my child might be unconventional, different or my child wants to tread a path that I might not have been familiar with. But I can help them, satisfy their curiosity. All it needs to be is in alignment with the guidance of Rab. That's all.
It starts young, "don't splash this, don't spill that, pick up the toys, clean this place, put away that."
Constant commands, and then the voice just becomes a nagging or a whining tone depending who is playing what role.
Everyday, almost all households with the same story line.
You would find yourself telling children to be honest, kind, expressive and then suddenly you would tell them don't say this in front of your grandparents, don't answer back your aunt or uncle even if they are wrong, just keep quite and apologize.
It amazes me the suffocation we have felt in the name of obedience
we make our children feel the same, and when they loose respect for us, call us hypocrites or double faced without knowing the entire story or the Islamic word "MASLAHAT" in dealing the way we deal, we get angry and go out on a rant on how disappointed we are in them.
Our inner child feels shamed, distraught "My parents were disappointed in me and now my children are too."
I don't have a one line, quick permanent fix to the problem. It is a deeply rooted cultural, generational traumatic experience that needs to be dealt with slowly compassionately and respectfully.
How many of us can do that is the question. How many of us want to do that and actually study to take further steps is the right direction.
The bottled up anger lashes out making situations worse. We lash out at our elders, our young ones and then feel traumatized, we play the victim card and say no one cares or understands.
And that's exactly what we pass along.
I believe in heroes, I believe that each one of us can change, we can let go of the
blame game, shame game, same game.
You sincerely don't need a "how to" book to make the intention to change, yes you may need it for reference and some good tips, but the major work is already done when you decide to work on yourself.
I wish I could tell the elders and myself sometimes
Let the children be,
I know as a parent I am learning too and stumbling often
but if you see them smile ,
with eyes filled with mischief and curiosity
let it be known, for sure, their hearts too are filled with glee
Don't ask me to be strict with them
teach them a lesson
isn't life enough of a test,
why not talk to them
be kind to them
sit with them, hear them
may be they will trust and honor us forever
without the muffled sadness
without screaming inside . .please understand me
I know they need to learn,
and learning there shall be
with each year passing I will teach them be
kind, respectful , empathic, compassionate, loyal ,
but in the name of obedience I will not command slavery
they are an Amanah just like I was to you
please let me be
Let me change the horrors of conformity
I want to love them respectfully
I want to break the cycle of our failing society.
Don't you see the pattern ..
The senseless cycle of tyranny.
Please don't put the toys away before they go to bed,
please don't stack the books away
specially the ones they haven't read
I know the house looks shabby,
things scattered haphazardly
but please see it through our eyes
we are growing, loving , caring learning together as a family
I want to tell you with utmost respect,
I want to thank you whole heartedly
you did what you thought was right and I am accept that reality
its my turn, to right my story,
I want my children to say
our house was often filled with the smell of warm bread,
the dishes were always piled up but we had plenty to share on the table spread
our neighbors and friends all came along to play
there was only one house rule,
everyone deserves kindness and respect, no one will ever make the other feel gray.
our kitchen was our lab and our bedroom was our cave
we played in the fields, in forests we took class
by riverside we had lunch breaks
We traveled the whole world, on foot ,in plains and sometimes in trains
road trips were a must, in order to grow our brains.
our hearts were filled with love because mama always listened
she never shied to admit, "I don't know what do I have no clue!"
I want them to remember me, as a humble servant of God
the one who had flaws but her heart was in the gratitude of her Lord.
Is it too much that I ask?
of myself, of you to let me strive...
please let me right my story
I am confident there will be failures
But I know we will thrive.
when they will put me in my grave someday
and come back to wrap up my stuff away
"she wore this on my birthday" one would say
" I loved how she wrote this" the other would convey
in every belonging there will be a memory for them
she loved us she cared ... to raise us differently she dared.
that's what I want my legacy to be ...
A good mama please let me be!
So in the end I would say, please make the intention, without any reservations. Learn, grow and change for the better. Have a plan, maker dua and execute the kind loving caring parent our Rab would like to us to be.
In Shaa Allah.