By: Marwa Sabry
The first lesson my three year old daughter learned from her swimming coach was: “There is no such thing as ‘I can’t,’ say ‘yes, I can.’” Later, my daughter went to pre-school. A boy in her class was struggling with holding his pencil. The boy muttered out of irritation, “I can’t!” The teacher then reminded him that giving up is not the solution. She said, “Say yes, I can.” The same message has recurred twice in front of my daughter. Now she repeats it whenever she struggles with a new skill or concept. The confidence gained from knowing she can do whatever she sets her mind to is a lesson that is to be implemented for the rest of her life.
Learning determination is easy at a young age. Keeping it, however, is a duty placed upon the parents’ shoulders. We all believe that Allah’s will is above ours. However, Allah subhanahu wa taala taught us the value of our actions. For one thing, they have consequences. Our words, facial expressions and actions towards our kids have great impact on the adults they will become. They perceive the world through us. They also see themselves through our eyes. If you tell your child that she is a failure, she will disappoint you even further. Try communicating that you love her and that you know she will grow to be successful; she will impress you even further. I remember a quote from an educator that says, “Who said that you can make kids do better by making them feel worse?”
Our kids sense our satisfaction level towards their achievement. Although it is recommended to expect highly from our children, we should not let our frustration dictate their pace. Allah subhanahu wa taala created us all with special talents and skills. While one child may be slow and patient, another may be hyper and energetic. Together, they balance the world for all of us. We only try to make them meet in the middle so that they each lead a well-balanced life.
Sometimes we have a way of thinking in which we do not want them to repeat any of our mistakes. We are also not ready for them to make new ones. But this parental attitude is not the way to go. Our kids will make mistakes; some of them will be similar to our own and many will surprise us. It is the only way for them to grow and mature. We only pray that none of their slip-ups will be major.
A golden rule for raising happy successful children is to substitute criticism with objective discussions. Focus on what is coming rather than the past that none of us has the power to undo. Choose your words carefully and remind yourself that you love the challenging character you are facing. No matter what we would like for our kids, hardships and troubles are part of life. We cannot shelter them forever, and we cannot solve their problems on their behalf. What we can do is give them the confidence and the faith that will enable them to fight virtuously. Next time you feel you are about to say something destructive to your child, and you think you cannot stop yourself, just smile and say, “yes, I can.” They say it takes a village to raise one child. We are this village and the foundation should be solid and positive for the outcome to be successful and happy.