Same Rules for Kids and Parents?
“None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself” (Prophet Muhammad, pbuh)
First, I think the ‘his brother/brethren’ in this hadith refers to all of humanity since literally we are brothers and sisters for all of humanity (remember Adam and Eve, peace be upon them both!).
But then, I wonder how does this hadith apply to our family relations. I mean, I am sure it does apply because your family is the circle even closer to you than your brethren. If we are expected to feel this way for our brethren, we surely are expected to do the same (if not more) for our family.
One aspect of this hadith, that may pop up first in people’s minds, is to treat others with kindness and respect because we would want the same. True. But let’s take it one step further.
Can we explain to our children that this is why we put rules/guiding principles? Because we love them as we love ourselves?
We want to follow God’s guidance and the Prophet’s sunnah because we know it will make us the most peaceful, happy, fulfilled. So naturally, we want the same for our beloved family members.
But how about, when we tell our kids to do something yet we don’t follow the same rule. Remember the word hypocrite… No one wants to be seen as a hypocrite and guess what. Kids are super smart and they pick up on this fast: but mom, you don’t do it, why should I? Ringing any bells?
Should we abandon a principle/our rule for the kids, because we are not doing it ourself? No, I think we should try to do our best (sincerely, really try our best!) and explain to the kids that we truly believe in this principle, yet we are not perfect. Sometimes we are successful and other times, we fail. Yet we love God and ourself so much that we pick up and try again and again.
This would set such an AMAZING example for them: It is not the end of the world when you fail to follow God and the sunnah. It is simply NORMAL that you fail. It is even expected. Of course you will fail. It is the very definition of being human (you are the forgetful/nisyan-insan). And of course, God knows this about you.
So when you fail, you simply say: ups, I am sorry (estaghfirullah). God help me to be better. And you try again with a sincere heart.