Sunday, July 30, 2006
KITE FLYING ANYONE?
Raising up children has been aptly likened to flying a kite. When I first heard of this analogy, I was a bit baffled, though. My small mind couldn't comprehend the validity of it, then. Now, after years of bringing up my already grown-up children, with all the complex intricacies, I can now unfeignedly appreciate and vouch the utter truth in it.
Have you tried flying a kite before? On a good, windy day, flying a kite can give one a feeling of sheer exhiliration. It is an art of its own, flying a kite, that is. It has to be done in an open field with minimal obstacles to prevent tripping, as you need to run back and forth to maneuver it. Essentially, a successful kite-flying is a necessary balance between sufficient wind and proper handling of the string attached to the kite. The amount of string to be released or pulled back is crucial. If too much of the string is released from your grip and should the wind suddenly opt to cease blowing or change it's direction, you'd lose control and the kite might plunge to the ground miserably. This is where the crux of the analogy lies. When raising a teenager, there are times you need to exercise a certain amount of liberation and give him/her leeway in making decisions. Exessive control over then would just cause them to retaliate and teenage angst would surely sever the bond between child and parent, inevitably.
Once, the kite has reached good heights and is soaring magnificently up high, very much like a care-free preying eagle, one has got to be able to 'sense' the wind pattern. The ability to judge the wind-flow and the prowess to maneuver the string with fluid agility and savvy anticipation, would promise blissful, long and persistent moments of kite-flying satsifaction. Thus there will be times when the kite-flyer would sense a sudden change in the wind and he/she needs to pull back a certain amount of the string, to prevent the kite from plummeting. Similarly, whilst allowing your teenage child a certain amount of freedom in decision-making, you still need to monitor them and intervene when the need arises. Guidance is crucial. Giving firm advice is mandatory. Good teenage parenting would entail listing out ideas and options and providing them with sound opinions. A confused teenager when properly guided will (Insyallah) grow into a fine adult. Whilst a fine teenager when left astray will invariably succumb to all sorts of life 'mishaps'. Many a times, we've heard of so-and-so who were excellent students at school only to later in life, involve themselves in common vices like drugs, prostitution and such. These are the possible adverse life-indulgence that some teeangers chose to take and as parents we must be expeditious in our actions to curb such undesirable situations. May Allah swt. protect our children from them, ameen!
When too much of the kite-string is being pulled back, it would result in a non-exciting 'show'where the over-cautious kite-player would maintain a mediocre and boring, low flying kite, afraid of taking risks. Hence, the same goes for the said analogy. If one exercise excessive control on their teenaged children, they would often grow into meek adults who can't think and decide for themselves or worst still, they could even become indecisive, weak, dithery souls who can't cope with real-life responsibilities.
Now, as I sit back and watch my grown-up kids, I ponder if I have flown the 'proverbial' kite successfully? Each time I see a flaw or weakness in their character (not that I have none, mind you!), I'd question myself if I had pulled or let go too much of the string? Or perhaps, I should have used a different kind of string altogether? :-) No matter what, i pray that all the kites that I have flown will persistently soar with great determination whatever the wind conditions may be. As parents, the bulk of onus is on us as to how our kids turn out to be.
As our beloved Rasulullah s.a.w. had said in the Hadeeth: Every newborn is like a piece of white cloth. It's their parents who raise them up as Jews, Christians or Majusi.