Finding the Right Balance
These days I am deeply concerned with finding the right balance of love, tolerance, flexibility vs. discipline towards my daughter… I want the best for her, as would any mother, but what is the right balance for her and for our family?
I suppose the answer greatly depends on her character, our character as parents, and our life style. So there isn’t a one-size-fit-all answer unfortunately. I say unfortunately because life, or parenting, would be just so much easier if there were… But again, I guess this struggle to hit the right balance is the core of our spiritual education in the school of parenting. God is teaching us patience and compassion. Above all though, through our kids’ behaviour towards us, He is making us realize how ‘silly’ or ‘idiotic’ we behave towards Him at times. And just how patient and compassionate He is towards us despite our ridiculous “attitude” towards Him.
Yes, He -just like a parent- wants the best for us. Hence, all that He says is for our good. When a mother says, don’t touch the pot, it is hot! She is only trying to protect us. It is the same with God’s do’s and don’ts… We hurt ourself when we disregard them (Hence the Qur’anic expression “They transgress against themselves…”
Back to my subject, finding balance: My daugther is very spirited, energetic and opinionated. Both her parents carry all these three qualities… How can I blame her 🙂 Joking aside, these are qualities God gives her. Hence I try to remind myself often that God is educating us by giving us a child like this. And again as the Qur’an says, no soul is given more than s/he can bear… God knows what we need and kind of like the judgment of a physical trainer, He prescribes us just the right amount of “weight to lift” in order to move onto the next level in our training.
This is the big picture… and I often forget this in my daily struggles. I am exhausted, she is demanding yet another thing and cries and protests if it is not fulfilled… Patience is a virtue that becomes golden at that moment when it is most needed.
Take a deep breath……. and remember the big picture…. God could have very well create her as a mellow child at that moment and not give me that training/education/trial. But He does. That “difficult” situation at that moment is from God. I have to move away from thinking horizontally (between me and my daughter) and think vertically (between me and God). God is giving me that experience at that moment.
If I can accomplish this, i.e. remember the big picture and realize that God is educating me at that moment, my reaction has a higher potential to be calmer. I benefit from this realization (I suffer from my anger the most); hence, the reward of zikr (remembrance of God) is given immediately. The reward is inner peace (silm). In islam (submission) that is silm (inner peace)…
I want to be a loving mother who never has to be tough (with rules and punishment/time outs). But I also know that she needs rules; it is for her benefit (as well as for my sanity!). When they “misbehave” though, it is usually because we have not spent quality time with them. We were exhausted from work, had guests to attend to…etc. So at these times, we cannot really say it is totally their fault. If we prioritized our children and given them sufficient time, attention, and love, they would most probably be in a better mood. So our mood (being tired, stressed, overwhelmed…etc.) inevitably affects them.
More on finding the right balance, later… My daughter needs mommy time 🙂