by Fudia Muhammad
As parents we understandably comfort ourselves by saying, “We did the best we could – children don’t come with any instructions, you know.” Many parents are doing the best they can; making daily decisions based on what they know. Some parents know better; yet for one reason or another refuse to do better. But we would argue, that most parents have simply never been taught how to rear their children so they begin at a great disadvantage. Childrearing can be a very sensitive topic because no mother or father wants to be charged with being a “bad” parent. However, the art and science of childrearing is far too important not to speak straight words. So, here we go…
Unfortunately there are in fact a lot of really bad parents out there – but for the most part, it is not their fault. Our hope is that if parents and potential parents become aware of the presence of a Master Teacher, God in Person; and know that He generously shared how to best live this life and how to rear future generations, then we will take advantage of such knowledge and seek to become better parents.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan said, “There are no parents who are free of mistakes or errors in the rearing of their children. It is sad that we can go to colleges and universities to receive degrees that tell us that we are qualified to work in our various fields of endeavor, but, the most important endeavor, which is the building of human life through the skill of parenting does not seem to matter in our quest for the acquisition of knowledge. There are no courses offered in high school or college that will allow us to become proficient in this skill. Yet, all of us will eventually become parents. Doctors who make mistakes or errors can leave their patients permanently wounded or even dead. Lawyers who make mistakes can cause their clients to suffer great loss, even the loss of life. Builders who make mistakes can cause what they build to crumble and fall. What happens when we make errors or mistakes in the rearing of our children?”
The Women’s class in the Nation of Islam is called, Muslim Girls’ Training and General Civilization Class (M.G.T. & G.C.C.). Why “girls” if it is a class for women? Our biological maturity may indicate that we are women; but when we enroll in the classroom of God, we must come as a little child. We must come humble and eager to learn; bearing witness that we know very little compared to all there is to know. Yes, we are women; but to Allah (God), we are His little girls. We are given seven major training units in this class. One of which is: How to Rear Our Children! Wise people seek teaching and training in areas they have not yet mastered. The condition of this world bears witness that few, if any, have mastered this most important subject of parenting.
A curriculum, which teaches both men and women how to give birth to gods and how to properly rear their children, must be implemented in every school in America and the world over. It cannot be just any parenting curriculum; it must be a god-centered curriculum. As parents, our ultimate goal should not be to simply reproduce academically trained robots and good employees; we should want to produce gods! We have to bear witness that we have not been taught how to do that. A curriculum this demanding must be introduced before becoming a parent. This means mandating course curricula beginning at the high school or even middle school level.
In every other endeavor or walk of life, preparation precedes the profession or practice and the preparation begins early. We cannot buy a car without knowing how to drive. The proof that one knows how to drive is by the issuance of a driver’s license. Young teenaged drivers are not only required to pass written tests; but they have to log several hours of supervised driving in all conditions – inclement weather, nighttime, highways, rural, residential areas, parking lots, etc. One must meet a certain degree of mastery before being allowed to operate an automobile unsupervised. Yet, absolutely NOTHING is required to become a parent! No teaching, no training, no license, no degree, no proof of income, no spouse, no babysitting experience, no CPR/first-aid training – no requirements at all. We are all free to reproduce human life without any preparation whatsoever. That is a problem!
Every creator or manufacturer of a product provides a manual or instructions on how to use and maintain the product. The manufacturer does not leave us to our own understanding. Even Q-tips have instructions for safe usage! The Bible states that God gave men dominion; and similarly, the Holy Qur’an refers to men as Allah’s (God’s) khalifah or successor. If this is the case, are we to actually believe that the Supreme Being anointed us with rulership, but did not leave us any instructions on how to care for His most precious gift – human life? Of course not, Allah (God) would never give us power and influence without guidance.
We know that perfection does not exist in parenting. Most of us as parents fall into one of two categories. We are either too hard on ourselves or we are not hard enough. Unfortunately today’s modern parents may need to lean towards the latter. Parents are allowing children to rear themselves and encouraging children to make adult decisions – in the name of “allowing them to be their own person.” How can our children be themselves if they are not seeking understanding of the God who gave them their aim and purpose? Sorry, hands-off parenting is just lazy and reckless. Only wealthy, well-connected parents can afford to experiment on their children. If these parents mess-up, no problem – money and connections can give almost anyone a do-over. We need God’s way the first time.
We also may have heard some parents say, ‘Oh I would never tell another person how to parent their child; they have to do what works for them.’ This sounds good, but at the root of this statement is, ‘I do not want anyone else to tell me how to rear my children.’ It exposes a bit of arrogance as a parent to say that we do not need any direction, guidance, teaching or training with our most sacred endeavor, the rearing of our children. And it is also equally selfish not to share with others our successes and our failures so they may learn.
After all, God Himself established childrearing as a training unit in conjunction with other units. Isn’t it interesting how we do not hesitate to seek additional knowledge about our other training units? We seek recipes and cooking techniques from great chefs; we will learn how to sew from premier seamstresses; we will buy books or attend workshops to strengthen our marriages; there is no resistance to a Sister sharing her DIY cleaning agents or how to be a good hostess; and we will tune-in to hear about the best travel tips and etiquette before we take that family vacation. But, how to rear our children – ‘I’ll figure that out on my own.’
We are not saying that if we enroll in the M.G.T. & G.C.C. that there will be an answer to every possible circumstance or situation that may arise with our children. But we will learn enough to be very well prepared to handle 90% of the challenges which will come our way. Mistakes will happen, but they do not have to exist – meaning, the parent will move swiftly to correct those mistakes once it comes to his or her attention. And where someone’s specific circumstance does not have a clear answer, this is when we turn inward and listen to our intuition. Intuition is never wrong because it is directly from God. The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad said, “You and I were reared by the devil, in his hell. Since we were reared by the devil, it takes an awful powerful teacher to get him out of you.” That awful powerful Teacher is God in Person. We do not teach the coming of God, we teach His Presence and He has invited us all to enroll in His classroom.
(Sister Fudia Muhammad is a member of Muhammad Mosque No. 64 in Austin, Texas. She is married to Student Minister Robert L. Muhammad and they have been blessed with four children. Sister Fudia holds a Master’s degree in Education – she is a writer, an educator and an advocate for God-centered child-rearing.)