Children are like sponges and quickly absorb what they see practiced around them. Therefor the old addage of ‘do as I say not as I do’ is a very poor idiom. Many times children wonder about events that occure in their daily lives yet have a hard time when it comes to religion and morality. How does a parent explain the usefulness of building a good character and living a moral life?
Take the example from fruit! If you take a nice, delicious orange and put it into a jug of water, it will float. The oils within the orange peel protect it against the pull of the water and make the orange boyant. However, if the peel is removed and the orange again placed into the water, it will start to sink, or sit submerged in the water. It no longer has the protective layer that the peel provides to keep it afloat.
Life is like the jug of water. Gravity is pushing us down all the time in the effects of stress to fit in, pressure to succeed at school, peer pressure to be cool, and many other problems that children face in their daily lives. The water can be seen as all the temptations that surround children; drugs, drinking, stealing, immoral conduct with the opposit sex, slacking off at school etc.
Helping children to consider the effects of their actions, to imagine that although we don’t see God, surely He sees us, and to ingrain compation, empathy and a sense of right and wrong help a child to protect himself against the buffeting of life. Helping children choose good friends who will support them and be a mirror of good behavior is one of the most important aspects parents should consider.
The Prophet pbuh said, “A person is likely to follow the faith of his friend, so look at whom you befriend.” (Abu Dawood)
Good character and integrety are aspects that will never fail a person no matter what they chose to do in life. Rather they help a child to stand tall and face life head on, sure that that orange peel and faith in, and obedience to Allah will be there to protect them.