Monday, June 22, 2009

Benefits Blog: Parenting tips from our predecessors

WHENEVER I’m at my wits’ end with my children, I find myself wondering how people in the past managed to raise families without the plentiful resources, help, diversions – not to mention disposable diapers – that are available to us today.

How did they raise men and women whose memories inspire and illuminate our paths? Where are modern parenting techniques – and the gurus and super nannies who make a fast buck expounding on them – falling short? Why has parenting become an angst-ridden exercise for parents and children alike, leading to heartrending stories of abuse, traumatic breakdowns and alienation? What important ingredient are we missing out on in our overzealousness to get the recipe right?

In his bestselling book ‘Children Are From Heaven’, author John Gray (of ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus’ fame) talks about “five positive principles of raising children to be compassionate, confident, caring adults,” one of which is: “It’s okay to say no, but remember Mom and Dad are the bosses.”I find it interesting that modern counselors are discovering in hindsight what our predecessors knew instinctively: that children need the emotional security and mental stability that comes with having parents who are ‘in charge’, not helpless putty in the hands of their children. For more go here.

Wasta, protests and patience

THE hot wind was unbearable as I waited outside the bank for the doors to open along with some 20 more people. After 20 minutes we all took a ticket and waited, frustrated and anxious, for our turn. An elegantly dressed man entered. His garments were exceptional and the aroma of Oud filled the bank. As he proceeded towards the teller, a worker came and greeted him just as you would a sovereign. I took the responsibility to inform him that we were in a queue and asked him to join the queue at the back. The man was oblivious to my comments.

However, the worker informed me that he was a VIP. “VIP?!” I said. “Why don’t you build a bank especially for him?” The worker replied, “In heaven you have different levels and so do we on earth and he is from the highest level.” “Money and status don’t get us into heaven,” I responded. I was fuming and could not believe the impudence. We had been waiting for nearly 40 minutes, then all of a sudden someone enters and the bank is at his disposal!

It must be clear however that it is Haraam to use Wasta or one’s status to intercede if it infringes upon the rights of others. This is injustice and the Permanent Committee for Islamic Research and Verdicts of Saudi Arabia has already issued a Fatwa on this topic. (Fatwa Islamiyyah, 4/300)

The harsh reality is that bribery and Wasta has become the norm in Saudi Arabia. May Allah remove this social evil from this blessed country. The only thing we are able to do in such cases is observe patience. We often underestimate the value of patience and anger always gets the better of us. For more go here.

The Pearl Necklace – II: ‘I pinned my hopes on Allah for reward’

FOR the first few days, the voyage was smooth and enjoyable. Then suddenly a violent storm overtook us. The mountain high waves tossed the ship around like a tiny toy. A mighty wave crushed the ship and wrecked it completely. I saw some floating boards and a few survivors swimming around trying to save their lives. When I recovered from the shock, I found myself clinging to a plank and moving with it at the mercy of the waves.

After drifting for two days, in a semi-conscious state, the waves tossed me upon the shore. I thanked Allah for saving me from the jaws of death. I was so weak that I couldn’t move. I lost track of time and was in a state between dizziness and deep slumber.

After some time, I slightly opened my eyes and saw a few strange faces staring at me. They carried me to a nearby town. When we approached near it, the first man-made thing which caught my eye was a towering minaret of a Masjid. I thanked Allah for being among my own brethren of faith. They took me to a house belonging to one of them and laid me on a comfortable bed. With proper care, feeding, and treatment, I soon regained my lost energy. I told my kind host all about myself and the mishap of the shipwreck. My host, whose name was Faleh Hasan, informed me that I was in Hodeida, a coastal town of Yemen.I began to attend Masjid to offer my regular prayers and there I came to know many persons of nobility and of high-ranking positions. They all knew my unhappy episode through my host and treated me with understanding and respect. One of them was the aged and pious Sheikh Ahmad Bin Suhail who usually led the prayers. He always greeted me with fatherly affection. For more please read here.