'Family'...From the Perspective of ChildrenBy The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan | Last updated: May 27, 2014 - 11:07:40 AM
In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful.
Allah (God) says in the Qur’an that each creature is created in need. Therefore, Allah (God) is the supplier of all needs. Allah (God) is independent of His creatures, but, He created all of His creatures to depend on Him. Allah (God) supplies the needs of all of His creatures through what He has created. Each creature has the duty of doing something for itself. This is the nature in which all living things are created.
Every human need is a human right. When we are born into this world we are complete yet incomplete, therefore, we have needs. All human beings have a need to be made secure or to feel safe. As we grow in life, our needs may change, but the need to be made secure will follow us from birth until death. The baby is secured in its mother’s womb, but when it comes into its new environment it cries because it is insecure. The baby is secured by the love and warmth from the mother’s body; it is secured by the milk that flows from its mother’s breast; it is also secured by the loving care of a mother who makes sure that the needs of the baby to be fed, to be changed, to be in a clean and safe environment are met. All of this must be provided by the mother, with the help of the father.
Love is a human need. Therefore, to be loved is a human right. To feel the warmth of a loving embrace is a human need. It is a human right to be encircled by the love of a mother, a father, a sister, or a brother who love each other. To have a sense of family is a human need. Therefore, to have a family or to be a part of a family is a human right. We are born into the world knowing nothing, but, we are born into a universe filled with knowledge.
America and the industrial nations are concerned about human rights violations in the under developed or newly developing nations of the earth. However, with the criteria that we have mentioned, all nations in some way or another are in violation of the human rights of the people, for all nations in some way interfere with the attainment of the needs of the human being.
The desire of children for ‘approval’and ‘validation’
Children desire validation from their parents. “How do I look, mommy?” “How did I do, daddy?” No matter what the child does, it desires to be approved by those who mean the most to it: (1) Mother (2) Father (3) Siblings (4) Friends and Playmates.
Children need encouragement when they falter that they may do better. The misuse of language and/or the harshness of language in rebuke can hurt the emotional and psychological development of the child. Remember, the need to be made secure is with us throughout our lives. So, as we grow, what it takes to secure us mentally, spiritually, morally, economically, and politically is always at work, even in the home. The child wants to know that we are aware of its presence. Even though consciously the child may not be aware, subconsciously, it wants to know that its rights even as a child are respected and protected in the family environment when dealing with parents, guardians and when disputes arise among the siblings.
The need for justice at all levels of development is that which helps to make the human being secure. Each child looks to the parents to settle their disputes with justice. When disputes arise in the family, it gives the mother and the father a chance to teach and instill family values, moral values and also to build good character in the children. All of the aforementioned are needs. All of the aforementioned are rights. Some of us think that disciplining our children is abuse, but everything in creation has its affair regulated by law.
In the home there is a need for rules, regulations or laws. Rules and regulations are a human need, and to deny our children the discipline of rules is to deny them that which ultimately will make them secure. There must be rules in the home. There must be rules that teach us how to relate to one another properly in the home. There must be rules of respect for parents, children, self and one another that are taught in the home because everywhere we go we will find existing rules and regulations. Where there are no rules, there will be no order. Chaos will be the result. Where there is chaos, it will bring to an end to the activity or the life of the home, school, community, nation, and the world.
Having discipline in our homes is not abuse of our children. We learn to respect rules in our home so that when we go to school and meet with the children in the neighborhood, rules of social behavior if taught, accepted and practiced in the home mean that our children will be more apt to accept and obey the rules of society, then, jail or prison will not be an end for us. The respect of rules and regulations starting in the home could mean the end of prisons.
Children have a need for attention. “Look at me.” “Listen to me.” These are not words coming from the lips of the children, this is written in the nature of the child.
On disciplining our children
We must be careful in disciplining our children. There is a line, which if crossed in disciplining our children could be labeled as abuse. In a world that is prophesied to come to an end; where human beings are suffering loss and enduring great levels of stress, as parents, as teachers, as leaders, as preachers, as foremen, and as authority figures, we must be careful not to take out our stress on those under our authority, thus violating their rights. More and more there are children killing their parents, killing their teachers; workers killing their foremen, or bosses; spouses killing each other because of abuse and violation of rights.
I believe this is why Jesus said that, “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom ... and the mother-in-law will be at variance with the daughter-in-law ... and they of a man’s household will be his worst enemy.”
Corporal punishment is not abuse if it is done with moderation, with the thought in mind of correction and not the thought of afflicting pain, but, to bring about change in the behavior to make a better child and a better human being. Punishment must always be in accord with the violation, and devoid of anger. The love that we have for our children is the reason why we punish them because our desire is to make the child better.
In today’s society the rights of parents are gradually being taken away and although this is supposed to be a Judeo-Christian society, the Bible’s teaching of how to rear the children is being ignored and uprooted. The Bible says, “He that spareth his rod hateth his son; but he that loveth him chasteneth him early.” (Proverbs 13:24) “Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.” (Proverbs 23:13) It also teaches, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) The Qur’an is the best companion of this scripture because it gives us guidance on how to train the child. If we as parents coming into the knowledge of Allah (God) are instructed by Jesus in these words, “Verily, I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the Kingdom of God.” (Matthew 18:3) If we follow these instructions, they will give us a greater understanding of how our minds, and our children’s minds should be in listening to instructions that we may be trained in the Way of Allah (God).
While parents are too busy, children are neglected
These are areas that must be studied and approached with wisdom. Every child is not the same, but, every child hungers to be disciplined. The teachers that we remember most are those who were firm, yet, just. Where there is no discipline, there really is no love.
When we do not get sufficient attention as a child, we act in a manner to get attention and sometimes this results in anti-social conduct or behavior. When the need for attention and validation is not supplied in the home or in the school, and we find that we have a gift or talent, that sets us apart and gives us attention, we have a tendency to focus on that talent and give all of our time to that talent, gift, or profession because it has given us the attention, acceptance and validation that we missed coming up as children.
As Black people growing up in a society where we feel rejected by the larger society, and, are mistreated by the larger society, we grow up with a mentality desiring attention and validation from the members of the larger society. When we discover a gift or talent that sets us apart from the rest of our un-validated people that gives us attention from our former slave masters and their children, we give all of our time to that talent, gift or profession because it has given us the attention and acceptance that we have not experienced growing up Black in White America.
Sometimes when we marry and have our children, we choose our gift and our talent and its ability to create wealth over the needs of and our duty to our wives and children. Oft-times as we become “great” in our profession, getting the attention and validation for our gift, skill, or talent, we may find that somewhere along the line we have lost our balance and neglected our duty to our wives, and our children. While we bask in the adoration of our fans, patients, students, clients, and congregation, we may find that we have lost something more precious than what we gained in the world, because, in our blindness, we did not look at life and the needs of our children and our wives from their perspective, and, therefore, failed in our duty to them. This is why people whom we look up to, that have everything in life that we think we would want, are very unsuccessful in marriage, and very unsuccessful in parenting their children.
In going through life, we really cannot see until we can see from the perspective of others. When there is an argument and we try to see from the side of the person with whom we have a disagreement or variance, as you would want them to see from your side, more than likely seeing from the other person’s perspective can cause us to arrive at a balance and accomplish the reconciliation of our differences.
Our children will not voice their opinions or share their perspectives in a home that it is ruled by fear, and they will never say to the parents what they really feel. If our homes are ruled by love, and governed by the principle of justice, then, we will encourage our children to speak to us so that we may know how they think and what they see and feel. We then have the task to either help them to see better, or in listening we may find ourselves at fault and we correct ourselves.
This is why the principle of atonement works so well in the home, if we allow our children to point out to us where they see or feel we have treated them unfairly or handled them improperly. As parents, we carry the pride of parenting and oft-times the arrogance of parenting disallows us to listen to the child’s perspective. In this type of home, the old adage is, “A child should be seen and not heard.” Suppose those in authority over us as grown-ups feel that we, under their authority should be seen and not heard, and if we voiced our grievance and were punished by those in authority, we would then say that we are living under tyranny and some of us would plan or take part in a revolt. This is the same spirit that will come into the hearts and minds of the children in the home by disrespecting their rights and by not allowing our children to share their feelings and thoughts with us as their parents.
This attitude of not listening will lead to a hostile attitude in the children toward their parents. A gulf then develops between the children and the parents that oft-times is never bridged. If the children in the home do not find the attention, the love, the validation and the sense of family that they need, they will take to the streets and find what they have missed in the homes in what is called the gangs.
As a parent, teacher, preacher, politician or leader: Those under our authority have rights that must not be ignored by those who have authority.
Use of ‘parental authority’ to either develop or abuse our children
Children have rights. Parents have rights. But, parents have authority. How authority is used is critical to the development of those under our authority. Using our authority to trample on the rights of our children is a violation that there may not necessarily be a law on the book of society for which to punish us, but the law of justice is written in the nature of creation, therefore, at some point, we will have to face the fact that we have not looked through the eyes of our children and have not listened to the cry of those under our authority.
We think that providing for them a home, food and some of the amenities of life is all that we have to do to expect complete submission from our children. When we understand that they too have rights and try to see from their perspective and be balanced in sufficing their needs, we will produce better human beings, better and stronger families, a stronger, more just, and peaceful society.
Remember, those in authority are the custodians of our needs and the guardians of our rights.
Thank you for reading these few words.