Monkey see. Monkey do.

Monkey see. Monkey do.

This posting has nothing to do with monkey’s but rather the ‘nature’ of monkey’s imitating one another because that’s what they know. I know none of you reading this article are monkey’s however, imitating one another is a normal human act.  (Interesting animals and humans have similar traits, not the same – but similar)  In this case the imitator are our children, our family and the one they are imitating is us. You and me.  The essence here is to portray the best of ones acts and hopefully it will be imitated by our offspring, family members and our community.

Here is our story for the day…

“Farhan did not go shower for days, did not want to pray. He was lazy to study. During fasting he also secretly took in an unruly, some food on the table. From day to day he’d rather be in front of a computer or TV.  Either playing games or browsing the internet.” This was my friend telling me about her nephew’s condition.

Farhan, 16 years old, not her biological child. His parents divorced many years prior to his mother’s death due to cancer.  Currently his father is ill and unable to care for him nor his sister.  Due to this situation, Farhan and his sister eventually were taken in and raised by his maternal grandparents. However, they didn’t care for him properly.  Many days he spent at my friends house not wanting to go ‘home’.

Of course, raising teens is not easy, specifically during this phase of  teens which in many cases usually develop an unpleasant personality.  And in his case, he has long developed this trait.

Thinking deeply, emotionally and arousing passion, I did not know what kind of advice I could offer her. This was a truly complicated issue.

mobile 4 may 2012 002  Monkey see. Monkey do. mobile 4 may 2012 002

I finally consulted to a psychologist friend to find a way out.

There are a few things that should be done by parents or immediate family environment that will encourage better imitating by offspring and or family members.  

They are: 

  1. Speaking from the heart about what he feels. Laziness may be a form of protest, losing a parent that is supposed to be a role model for him from childhood to adulthood. Change parents or who nurture him made ​​him confuse and in consequence often will lead unstable lives.
  2. Foster parents should give priority target, one by one. What of the child’s behavior that is  the most disturbing. And which of it should be changed/ tackled first. Study? Pray five times a day? Bath? Or Wake up in the morning? Determine the target together, what time the child is willing to get up early. If agree at 6 am, set the alarm at 6 am, and the child must comply with a specified time.
  3. Parents should position themselves as an example of positive behavior every day. When parents want the child diligently pray, give examples of the prayer in congregation or individually on time. Remind and encourage the child to pray together, although probably still get a lot of denial, but keep asking. When parents want the child persistently reading the Holy Quran, give an example by reading  Quran every day, let’s say after fajr prayer or maghrib prayer, and so on.  Child’s personality is influenced primarily by family environment, in addition to teachers and friends at school.

As we all know that Islam has taught education for our children from an early age. Since beginning, a child should be introduced that Allah is the creator of the universe and the beings in this world. Children are trained to carry out commandments of God by learning to read and memorize verses of Al-Quran, understand the meaning, and practice it. Give thanks to Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala with the obligatory prayers five times a day, love and respect to parents, love the poor by giving part of treasure we have, love creatures of God, and so on. But problem for parents usually is consistency, to keep telling and reminding the children. Being in a pious environment is one of the keys which is really helpful in the development of  child’s personality.

If  children have been formed as good Muslims since their early growth, surely they would be impervious to the ups and downs of life in the future someday . And when they grow up they are not easily discouraged and know how to be patient in facing trouble or disaster. They would understand the value and the humility to be trustworthy and honest. As they later fill our shoes and become leaders of the family or society.

Remember every parent would be part of both good and bad deeds of the children.  All will be held accountable in the hereafter later. All parts of our body will be asked for what they were used. Were our hands, our feet used to hurt our children? Whether our hearing, our sight were used solely to worship Him? and conveyed what we read and heard to our children?

As mentioned in Quran Surah Al-Israa (17): 36

And do not pursue that of which you have no knowledge. Indeed the hearing, the sight and the heart –about all  those [one] will be questioned.

And Surah Yaseen (36): 65

That Day, We will seal over their mouths, and their hands will speak to Us, and their feet will testify about what they used to earn.  

Be your best example and project it to ensure positive results to your family, children and community.

Wallahu a’lam bishowab


Delina Partadiredja

The author has been writing since elementary school. Prior to be the in-charge person for contents she often contributed to an Islamic website. Further, she has co-authored two books and one book of poetry. Her previous banking career followed her completing Bachelor of Economics. She obtained an MBA from Leicester University in the UK. She currently lives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

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