Our home, our family
Marriage and family are the two age-old institutions of human civilisation. But with increasing individualism and commercialised lifestyles these institutions are getting weaker. In over-sexualised social environment teen-age pregnancy, family breakdown and domestic violence have gone up; children, particularly in their adolescence, are throwing more and new challenges to their parents – not least to the society.
This, for many, is eating away peace in the family and as a result our society is affected. The economic cost is also getting higher. While the ‘traditionalists’ tend to put their heads in the sand to escape from this life challenge, the ‘liberal secularists’ want to get away with traditional values in the name of modernism. We need to stand firm on certain principles of life based on human experience and common wisdom. Our journey to life starts in a family, with our mum and dad.
A stable, happy and learning home environment is essential for our children who are totally new to the complex world. It plays as a nursery, school and university to produce a nation. Family has been at the centre of nurturing new incomers to the world; it is the cradle of human civilisations; its task is to develop and sustain stable and peaceful societies.
Positive and Creative parenting
Being a parent is the most exhilarating experience in one’s life. There are unparalleled joys in seeing a baby grow and new challenges in raising the tiny human being. A positive, creative and holistic approach is essential.
Needless to say that parenting is a demanding task, but it is deeply enjoying. It is adventurous, but rewarding. To people of faith parenting is ever important for this life and the life to come, with children as ‘test’ and ‘trust’ (Amana, in Arabic). Successful parenting is about passing on human values and a sense of responsibility to the new generation. This needs creative thinking, strategic planning, full commitment and often huge sacrifice. Parental role is to empathetically and effectively help a child grow to become a successful adult, through proper planning of their time, energy and wealth. This is the wisest investment for future.
Parenting is a conscious endeavour that starts from the moment a baby is conceived in the mother’s womb. It is a life-long commitment that involves physical, emotional, social and spiritual wellbeing of the young ones. Life has only one chance and no sensible parent can afford to gamble on this. The reward of effective parenting is enormous and eternal. On the other hand, poor parenting can bring shocking consequences for the family and the society.
However challenging, parenting is central to our life once we have children. We draw our inspiration from the inherent goodness in human nature as well as hope and optimism in life. As such, positive parenting based on common sense wisdom is vital in our time.
Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari
Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari is an educationalist, community activist, author, parenting consultant and commentator on social and political issues.
He began his research studies in the UK after training as an Air Force officer in Bangladesh. A physicist and educationalist by training, Dr Bari received his doctorate and qualified as a teacher from King’s College London, and gained a Management Degree from the Open University. He took an early retirement as a Specialist teacher (Behaviour Support) in 2011 to work with diverse communities, particularity the youth, and engage in writing.
He is a founding member of The East London Communities Organisation (TELCO), now part of the Citizens UK (CUK). He was Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain (2006 – 10), Chair of the East London Mosque Trust (2002 – 13) and non-executive board member of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG 2006-13). He served on the Good Childhood Inquiry Panel which was set up by the Children’s Society in 2006
He is a patron of Anchor House, an award winning homeless charity, the Ramphal Institute and Nida Trust, an educational charity. He is also a trustee of Muslim Aid, a leading international charity.
Dr Bari has written for various newspapers, blogs and journals including The Huffington Post and Al-Jazeera English, and is the author of a number of books on marriage, family, parenting, identity and community issues from contemporary British Muslim perspectives.
In recognition of his services to the community, he was conferred an MBE in 2003. He was awarded ‘Community Cohesion Champion’ by Sikhs in England in 2006. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, an Honorary Fellow of Queen Mary (University of London) and an Honorary Doctor of Education of the University of East London.
As well as being the founding director of AmanaParenting, Dr Bari is also the founder of Head2Heart. a socio-political forum.