Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

Raising a child: Where culture and religion crossed

February 20, 2014 Leave a comment

Shalwaty n AzizulPasangan-Sweden

(This piece was published in Portal Islam & Melayu)

Reading the newspaper report on the ongoing trial of the Malaysian couple in Swedish Court makes me felt troubled. Troubled that what have been so accepted in my culture and even being commanded by the Prophet Muhammad in one of his famous hadith are being subjected to examination using a law that is so foreign and so misleading. Abu Dawud narrated in an authentic hadith that Prophet Muhammad said: “Order your children to pray at the age of seven. And beat them [lightly] if they do not do so by the age of ten. And separate them in their bedding.”

The hadith clearly stated that children need to be taught to pray by the age of seven and to be punished physically if the child refused to pray by the age of ten. Domestic corporal punishments in the forms of small slap on the wrist, pinch or spanking as a means of disciplining a child is not just accepted, rather commanded and commended when it is executed in the right manner whenever the need arise. That is my belief and it will not change just because a country like Sweden enforced a law that banned it.

I am examining this from my own experience growing up and seeing how children are raised in many cultures and religions. I am ever grateful to be raised by a very loving parents whom aside from the abundance of love, sufficient food and nourishment, clothings and other physical needs and wants, but also do not ever hesitated to discipline me whenever they need to be strict and stern, to ensure that I grow up within the boundary of culture and religion. I am grateful that such strict upbringing and the occasional beatings that I received molded me into who I am today. I am a product of such upbringing and I do vision that will be the same way I am raising my four children today.

The religion of Islam which forms the core part of our culture is truly a religion that suits the need of the mankind. This is the religion of moderation which does not only embody the values and norms but also come with a practical ways of realising those values and norms. The creator of the mankind prescribed this religion in such a way that it will fit the human nature in all its virtues as well as addressing the fact that mankind may become strayed at times, in which certain disciplining and punishment is necessary.

Let me portray this using Islam’s perspective of moral values as an example. Allah says in various sentences in the Quran, such as in the Chapter As-Shams (91:7-10) that Allah have given inspiration to mankind that one shall be able to differentiate between good and evil, and the one who will succeed is those who purifies their soul and those who choose to corrupt their soul are those whom have failed. The teachings of Islam do not stop there, just by defining that good and evil exist. Rather the teaching went on further to describe the reward of doing goods and the punishment of following the evil route in life and more over in the Hereafter. And the teachings do not stop there either. The teachings continue, to not only leave the freedom to choose between good and evil to oneself, rather Islam promotes the act of calling for goodness and piety and preventing and prohibiting evil as a family, a society and later the same role needs to be exercise by a nation. Do the teaching stop there? After fostering the environment that promotes good and preventing evil, this religion, by the wisdom of Allah, the All-Wise, acknowledge that in such environment, there will still be some people who will commit wrongdoings, hence the worldly punishment is prescribed and commanded. The teachings of Islam come as comprehensive methods, addressing all aspect of human being and are not to taken in bits and pieces.

The same method and principles are applied in raising a child. According to Dr Abdullah Naseh Ulwan in his book, “Tarbiyah Al-Aulad fi Al-Islam”, the responsibility of a parent in raising a child started in the very beginning, when a man choose a mother for his future child or a women choose a father for her future child. This responsibility of the parents continues in the form of performing a proper marriage, continues throughout the relationship between husband and wife, throughout the pregnancy, child birth, providing sustenance, providing education, nurturing the thoughts and belief, instilling moral values, shaping the behaviour and the entire worldview and ultimately realising the roles in the world as the servant for the Almighty Lord, Allah the one and only.

All these are achieved through love and care, balancing the physical growth in height and weight as well as the mental, emotional and spiritual aspect of growth. In doing so, there are situation that require gentleness and affecetion, there are situation where verbal encouragement and reminders are required, and there will be situation where restrain, a certain amount of anger and punishment is necessary, all in the name of raising a child in the best manner as prescribed by the Lord. Of course, all of these must be within certain limits and should never inflict injury to the child. This is the definition of raising a child that I knew.

Living in a western environment, previously in Australia and currently in Canada, I can see huge differences in this definition. I can certainly appreciate various incentives given to those with children in terms of tax deductions, long maternity (and paternity) leave,  financial assistance and government subsidies, various initiatives to ensure that any child can grow in a safe environment and various laws to protect children and ensure that every child shall be able to access basic education and health services. However I do realised that most of the attention are focused on the physical nature of growth while emphasis on values and belief system is lacking. Everybody seems to be left to their own ‘free-will’ no matter how good or bad.

Contrary to all the emphasis given in supporting the physical growth of a child, the system seems to suggest that parents have no role in nurturing the moral values and belief system within a child. The child should not be subjected to any religious teaching as a child at home, and since the public school system must be independent of any religion, the question of religion will ultimately be decided by the child when the mature age of the child is reached. The child should be raised based on their own will, interest and whims and fancies and no one including the parents should be interfering in their decisions in life no matter how bad the child’s judgement is.

As a consequence of such system, I am seeing a declining number of child being raised albeit all the incentive that were made ready for them. Raising a child in general are perceived as troublesome, financially burdening, emotionally stressing, freedom limiting and ultimately do not yield anything worth doing. With all the sacrifice by parents in raising a child, the child will be a free man or woman by the mature age and no parents should have any control of the child. They are free to move out, live their own life and the elderly parents will then head to the retirement home as a couple or even alone. The parents might as well choose not to be a parent, not to have any child and in their sense ‘live their lives to the fullest’, without having to worry about raising a child from the very beginning. This is what I am seeing now. People in my neighbourhood are seems to be more content to have dogs as pets as compared to having a child.

Seeing the experience Shalwaty and Azizul is currently facing and the emotional and spiritual sufferings of their children in the foster care prior to returning to Malaysia, and now living far away from their parents makes me wonder, are these emotional and spiritual sufferings have any meaning to the Swedish? Truly, we are world apart from the very definition of raising a child. Truly we are on different paths that I do not see where the paths may meet.

And I will continue raising my children my way. No matter what. This is what I have learned in my religion, Islam.

Zaizul Azizi Zaman
ISMA Activist


Wife back to work, at what cost?

September 21, 2010 1 comment

I came across this question a couple of time, can we survive today’s life with just the husband works, while the wife stays at home, focusing on the kids.

Since my wife is contemplating to go back to working fulltime, I tried to calculate the cost involved.

This calculation is purely based on my case, with some adjustment, and not including the cost of renting a new house closer to my wife place of work, and the cost of relocation should it need be.

The question is how much the wife will have to earn in order to get the real additional income? (Salary-additional expense=additional income)

That does not include the intangible cost of lost of attention to the kids, missing their growing up experience, loss of intimacy due to fatigue etc.

Do my wife really need to work?

rough estimate

rough estimate

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Categories: Money Matters, Parenting

Pendidikan anak-anak

May 28, 2010 2 comments

(khas untuk rakan-rakan yang baru dikurniakan cahaya mata, dan yang masih menghitung hari. Semoga amanah Allah ini tidak dipersiakan tanpa disedari)

Sebelum menyertai hari keluarga ISMA Gombak

Baru-baru ni ada berpeluang mengambil pengalaman Ust Fauzi dalam pendidikan anak2. Beliau bercakap daripada pengalaman mendidik 5 orang anak yang pelbagai ragam dan bergelumang dengan ibubapa dan pelajar semasa bertugas di SRI/SMI Hira‘ di Shah Alam.

Antara yang beliau kongsikan ialah betapa pentingnya memastikan pendidikan anak-anak yang menyeluruh. Selalunya ibubapa tersalah anggap, dengan memilih nursery, tempat jagaan, tadika atau sekolah yang baik-baik, maka anaknya akan membesar dengan baik. Tidak dinafikan pemilihan persekitaran yang baik amat penting dalam pendidikan dan pembesaran anak-anak.

Namun, yang lebih penting lagi ialah memberikan hak dan peluang untuk anak-anak membesar dan terdidik dalam segenap aspek hidup. Sebagai contohnya, kalaulah kita memperuntukkan RM 500 untuk setiap anak sebulan, maka peruntukan itu sepatutnya merangkumi keperluan fizikal (makan, minum, pakaian), kos nurseri/tadika/tempat jagaan, kos aktiviti riadhah (basikal, kelas badminton/taekwondo), permainan yang bersesuaian, hadiah2 sempena yang bermakna (penghargaan pencapaian) dan kos2 untuk memberi pengalaman yang sesuai dengan usia mereka (tengok air laut, mandi sungai, berkelah, zoo etc.)

Sememangnya kemampuan kewangan akan membatasi semua keperluan ini. Namun, sekiranya peruntukan ini semua perlu dipotong atau dikurangkan, maka pengurangan itu hendaklah dibuat tanpa mengabaikan elemen2 di atas. Selalunya, apa yang berlaku ialah keperluan fizikal jarang sekali terabai, malah kadang2 berlebihan (pakaian berjenama, permainan import yg canggih, susu yang paling mahal, diapers yang paling selesa) kerana semua ini memberi kesan yang nampak pada zahir. Kan ke agak merisaukan ibubapa kalau pakaian anak lusuh, mainan murahan buatan cina, diapers yg meninggalkan rashes dan lain-lain kesan yang nampak dan dapat dirasakan dengan segera. Lalu keperluan fizikal ini jarang terabai. Yang selalu dilupakan ialah aspek-aspek lain yang mana impaknya bukan impak segera. Namun perlu diingat, impak yang tidak segera itu selalunya lebih mendalam, meninggalkan kesan dan sukar dipulihkan. Lebih malang lagi, impak jangka panjang ini cuma disedari bila sudah agak terlewat.

Antara impak yang saya maksudkan ialah, perkembangan anak2 yang tidak seimbang, penekanan yang keterlaluan terhadap aspek material, kurang keyakinan diri, kurang ketahanan fizikal dan mental, dan tiada matlamat hidup, kurang penghargaan terhadap diri sendiri dan lain-lain kesan dalaman pada jatidiri anak-anak.

Maka semua ini perlu diberi perhatian sewajarnya. Lebih2 lagi jika masa berkualiti yang ada untuk anak2 bersama dengan ibubapa adalah sangat kurang. Bayangkan, anak yang membesar di pusat jagaan, pencapaian harian (anak2 belajar sesuatu yang baru setiap hari) tidak diperhatikan oleh ibubapa, bila balik ke rumah cuma melihat muka ibu ayah yang penat setelah seharian bekerja, mendengar pula rungutan ibubapa terhadap masalah harian mereka (seperti duit tak pernah cukup, kena marah dengan bos, umpatan pasal jiran, kerja yang memenatkan, etc) agaknya bagaimana semua ini memberi kesan dalam jiwa anak. Bagaimana agaknya gambaran yang mereka dapat tentang kehidupan yg bakal mereka hadapi kelak?

Tidak hairanlah sekiranya watak2 kartun seperti Wonderpet dan Dora, Mickey n Thomas dan iklan2 sangat memberi kesan terhadap karakter anak2. Itulah sumber inspirasi mereka, mewarnai hidup mereka saban hari. Hero mereka bukan lagi ibubapa mereka. Guru tadika lebih dekat di hati mereka. Mereka lebih bahagia di hadapan TV, dlm pelukan Barney n Friends drpd bersama ibu dan ayah.

Akhirnya, anak yang bagaimanakah yang lahir daripada suasana seumpama ini?

Anak-anak itu amanah. Mereka memerhati dan belajar daripada persekitaran mereka. Corakkan lah kain putih itu dengan sebaik-baiknya. Semoga mereka menjadi hujjah buat kita, bukan hujjah ke atas kita.

Penyejuk di mata: khadeeja maisara

Penawar di hati: Rumaysa Wafiyya

SRI/SMI Hira‘ di Shah Alam
Categories: Life Notes, Parenting, Sharing

mereka tetap membesar….

December 9, 2009 5 comments

Mereka kan tetap membesar…

Teringat kata2 seorang ustaz yang saya kenali kerana jasanya dalam membimbing para pelajar ketika di perantauan (sila klik), katanya: “ tak susah membesarkan anak, kerana mereka akan tetap membesar walaupun di biarkan…” memang tak pelik kepada saya kerana kata2 ini keluar dari mulut orang yang telah membesarkan lebih dari sedozen anak. Namun, ada sambungan kepada kata2 itu:  “yang susah ialah mendidik anak-anak itu…”

Sememangnya, anak-anak akan terus membesar. Detik masa berlalu tidak akan terasa dek kesibukan sehari-hari. Berapa ramai anak yang membesar dalam keadaan terbiar. Ya, mereka tetap membesar! Mereka tetap membesar walaupun tanpa ibu bapa yang menjaga mereka, mereka tetap membesar di jalanan, mereka tetap membesar walaupun di tinggalkan sendirian. Bahkan, mereka tetap boleh membesar macam dalam cerita tarzan, george in the jungle dan cerita2 yang seumpama dengannya. Memang tidak susah untuk sekadar membesarkan anak!

Apa yang susah? Yang susah ialah mendidik. Saban hari anak2 dididik oleh persekitaran mereka, kawan-kawan mereka, saudara-mara, rancangan televisyen, bahkan dididik oleh apa yang kita lakukan di hadapan mereka tanpa kita sedari. Lalu bagaimana kita hendak mendidik mereka dalam acuan yang terbaik yang kita mahukan?

Apa yang kita mahu lihat daripada anak-anak kita? Mahukah kita lahirkan generasi yang lebih baik daripada kita? Atau kita sekadar berpada apabila mereka dapat capai apa yang kita capai? Apakah ukuran2 yang akan kita guna untuk mengukur pencapaian mereka? Ada yang berkata…

Anak saya boleh nanyi lagi Thomas n friends pada umur 3 tahun….

Anak saya boleh menari “Chicken dance”

Anak saya boleh cam kereta Ferrari

Anak saya sudah hafal Muqaddam

Anak saya nak jadi doctor

Apa yang kita mahu sebenarnya?

Lalu daripada itu, apakah effort yang telah kita lakukan untuk mencapai apa yang kita mahukan? Cukupkah sekadar memberi mereka pakaian yang cantik-cantik, aksesori-aksesori berjenama, mainan-mainan canggih? Cukupkah kita sekadar mengulang apa yang telah ibu bapa kita lakukan, sedangkan anak2 kita berdepan dengan dunia yang jauh lebih mencabar.

Banyak lagi persoalan2 yang tenggelam timbul bila memikirkan isu pendidikan anak2 ini. Persoalan yang sesetengahnya belum ada jawapan.

Adakah kita sekadar try & error dalam isu pendidikan anak-anak?

Semoga pembesaran mereka tidak menyebabkan kita terpinga-pinga di belakang, kerana suatu hari kita tertanya-tanya, “adakah ini anak yang telah aku besarkan?”

Dan masa terus berlalu, dan mereka terus membesar….

Categories: Parenting