It is a reality that if the foundation is solid, then the building is also solid. In a similar fashion, if children are brought up in a noble manner, then they grow up to be outstanding individuals of society.
Dear parents, encouragement plays a major role in equipping children to become talented. We learn from the biographies of our pious predecessors that encouragement should be offered as opposed to discouragement. Sayyiduna Umar Farooq رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ once asked people a question about the explanation of a verse, but they were unable to answer. However, his student, Sayyiduna Abdullah Ibn Abbas رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُما, humbly stated that ’I have something in my mind regarding it.’ Whilst encouraging him, Sayyiduna Umar رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ said to him, یَا ابْنَ اَخِیْ قُلْ وَلَا تَحْقِرْ نَفْسَكَ ‘Oh my nephew, if you know, then certainly speak, and do not deem yourself to be insignificant (i.e. small).’ (Bukhari, vol. 3, pp. 185, Hadees 4538, summarised)
Dear parents, although some children do not need encouragement and remain engaged, however, other children do require it and feel its need. In relation to encouraging such children, following useful pointers are presented below:
۔1If a child performs a good act, accomplishes something great or helps someone, offer encouragement by giving praise and saying, ‘well done.’ Alternatively, present such a gift that would make the child happy and increase his enthusiasm and interest to do good again in the future.
۔2If children accomplish a difficult task or complete some work that requires a lot of effort, make them realise that you are pleased with their work as this would lead them to embark upon similar projects in the future.
۔3Set a target or a challenge for your child, and upon its completion, present them with a reward that is commensurate with their achievement. This way, a child will perceive his family to be close to him and involved in his life, and he will not feel lonely.
۔4Explain to them that underachieving in examinations should not be a cause for despair, as ability is the foremost factor; if it is present, then everything is present.
۔5Spend time with children, speak to them, ask them small things and reply to their questions. This way, they will consider themselves closely attached to you, and it will increase their confidence.
۔6If they wish to speak before elders, then allow them to do so. However, alongside this, teach them its manner beforehand, and make them aware of the things which one should be mindful of when speaking in the presence of elders.
۔7Regarding any particular matter, if a child is right and you are wrong, acknowledging your mistake will increase your respect and not diminish it.
۔8It has been observed that everyone tries to be a ‘judge’ in matters relating to children, and in the name of teaching discipline and ethics, they often forget these very things themselves. If children make a mistake, instead of hurting their feelings, explain to them with forbearance. However, do not always praise the child and say, ‘well done,’ but rather, identify their mistakes in an exemplary manner as well. For example, whilst informing them of a mistake, also mention some element of praise so that it is easier for them to digest what you are saying
Dear parents, be mindful that children are like wet sand. They will adopt the form in which they are dealt with. For this reason, increase their confidence. Instead of incessantly scolding and discouraging them, offer them encouragement, as this will raise their confidence, and they will become successful in their progress.