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Our children – what future?

Publishing Date : 26 June, 2018

IQBAL EBRAHIM
UNDERSTANDING ISLAM



This week let’s tackle an issue that cuts across all religious, social, cultural, economic and ethnic barriers. This issue has been simmering for some time now but it has become so hot an issue that as a nation we should take urgent steps to halt this scourge otherwise we will have not only failed but lost an entire generation.  



What is happening to the youth of today? For example, just look at the type of content and programming that TV entertainment / music channels churn out nowadays. These programs are filled with suggestive images that promote a promiscuous culture and a lifestyle completely alien to our traditional, cultural, religious and moral upbringing and values. Pick up any newspaper, listen to the news, watch television and you will come across an article/item that refers to our youth involved in – suicide, killings, drug taking, alcohol abuse, violence, unruly behaviour, indecent and immoral behaviour, teenage pregnancies, rape, foul language, etc.


As parents we should be alarmed at the breakdown of societal values that these alien cultures have brought to our shores. Included in these are subtle and often blatant messages that promote promiscuous behaviour and the use of alcohol and drugs, thereby nullifying the best intentions and efforts of parents.


In Islam children are an ‘Amanah’, (a sacred trust), from the Almighty entrusted to us to raise, nurture, guide, and prepare them for the life ahead. As parents and guardians we have been given that responsibility to equip them with the tools to become responsible adults. Our goal is to equip the child with a solid Islamic personality, with good morals, strong Islamic principles, knowledge and behaviour so as to be equipped to face the demands of life in a responsible and mature manner. This should begin with the proper environment at home that inculcates the best moral and behavioural standards.


The Holy Qur’an says: ‘O you who believe! Save yourself and your families from the Fire of Hell’. (Ch. 66: 6). ‘No father has given a greater gift to his children than good moral training’ said the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). As parents some of us seem to have missed – or should I say messed up, the opportunity to inculcate and instil morals, ethics, values and all those time honoured cultural and traditional family values that formed the basis of our own upbringing and social interaction.


Too many of today’s parents take a laissez faire attitude and role in moulding and bringing up their children in becoming responsible adults of tomorrow. Not only that, homes are no longer the havens of peace, tranquillity and comfort that we once knew. Homes today are filled with family strife, domestic violence, vulgar language, the lack of respect, and a whole host of modern day ills. How then do we expect to raise well-adjusted children in such a poisoned atmosphere?


In Islam we are expected to teach our children from a young age the religious responsibilities such as learning to read and memorize verses of or even the whole Qur’an, the performance of Salaah (daily Prayer), and all the other Islamic etiquettes that are a standard part of any Muslim’s daily activity.  Included in this training is proper respect, obedience and consideration towards one’s parents and the behaviour and attitude towards society in general. .. What has gone wrong?  


Is it because we have become a modernised society, and the western influence has caught up with us? In our haste we are too busy chasing and trying to play catch up with the rest of the world, thus easily neglect our cultural, traditional and most importantly our spiritual upbringing. Virtually every part of the world is confused by the pull of conflicting values and societal pressures therefore the youth of today face many challenges and problems, more so teens today have to face peer pressure.


To make matters worse they have become obsessed and pre occupied with MXit, Twitter, Facebook, texting and other forms of social media; whilst these social media forums are cutting edge and relevant they can also be a very destructive medium if misused.  
Violence in schools is increasing – schools especially in the West have placed metal detectors at school entrances because students are bringing knives and other offensive weapons to school. Some schools even have armed guards patrolling their premises. Recently a student in the USA shot and killed his fellow students.


Many parents may not realize it but our youth are tempted by the greatest evils of this day and age: alcohol and drugs. Make no mistake our youth have fallen prey to alcohol and alarmingly are experimenting with drugs. The fact is that hard drugs are now being peddled to our kids everywhere in Botswana. These drug peddlers nullify all the parenting efforts in an instant. As parents we have to be aware of the dangers that our children face and we should try to counteract these negative influences by being more sensitive to parenting our children.


Whilst most parents do their utmost to raise well-adjusted children, others are somewhat oblivious to fact that the youth of today are facing a serious challenge in terms of societal and peer pressure of having to ‘conform’ to the current youth culture. Regrettably most of our youth try to emulate foreign cultures that are based on the worst elements of the youth culture imported from overseas.


Teens may experiment with drugs or alcohol and may become sexually promiscuous to avoid feelings of being left out of the crowd or through boredom and depression. Teens can express their depression through hostile, aggressive, risk-taking behaviour. But such behaviours only lead to new problems, deeper levels of depression and destroy relationships with friends, family, law enforcement or school officials.


Our children are our future they carry with them our hopes and our desires into the future. Every parent therefore wishes and desires only what is best for the children. But this requires guidance and training; this training is should not only consist of a set of directives but the parents should be a living example of those directives.


It is therefore the parents’ responsibility to ensure that we bring up our children in a manner that will inculcate in them the values and virtues that have been the anchor of our religious and traditional beliefs and upbringing. It is a sad fact that some parents are to blame for the current state of affairs because they are disassociated from their children’s upbringing. It is a case of absent parenting done by remote control.

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