Parenthood is a serious responsibility and at the same time a marvelous challenge and an exciting opportunity for our own growth and development. There are hidden capacities within all parents and these capacities such as patience, love, endurance, strength and flexibility, to name a few, are ready to be tapped when rearing their offspring.
Parents have to set a standard of consistency, firmness and perseverance in all situations that arise, but always with patience, love, understanding and prayer. The example set by the father and mother has immeasurable influence upon the child. If parents show forth praiseworthy qualities, it is more likely that the child will emulate and have a good character.
Parents must bear in mind that spiritual education and moral training must go hand in hand with academic schooling. The father and mother together are the educators and trainers of the child. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, son of Bahá’u’lláh, the Prophet Founder of the Bahá’í Faith says “…. Every child at the beginning of life is like a fresh and tender branch in his parent’s hands.
His father and mother can train him in any way they choose.” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá further exhorts the role of the mother as the first educator of the child. He says, “…. The mothers are the first educators, the first mentors; and truly it is the mother who determines the happiness, the future greatness, the courteous ways and learning and judgments, the understanding and the faith of their little ones.”
Parents must recognize that each child is unique, he is an individual endowed with special gifts and talents. I would like to share from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, “…Regard man as a mine rich in gems of inestimable value; education can, alone cause it to reveal its treasures, and enable mankind to benefit there from.” It is our duty as parents to bring forth the gems of inestimable value latent in our children so that all mankind may benefit thereby.
In order to develop moral values and spiritual attributes in our children, we must always turn to God in prayer and supplication. The fear of God is a prime factor in education and parents can brighten the children’s hearts with the light of divine virtues.
In the Book of Proverbs in the Old Testament is written, “… fear the Lord and depart from evil.” (3:7) The Holy Quran, points out “… So fear not men, but fear you Me.” (5:48) Bahá’u’lláh in the Words of Wisdom says “… The essence of wisdom is the fear of God.”
There is so much we can talk about the very vital issue of Parenthood and its responsibilities regarding the upbringing of our precious children in the path of developing their virtues.
I would like to conclude by quoting from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Writings “... children are even as a branch that is fresh and green, they will grow up in whatever way ye train them.”
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