‘Children killing their parents is fastest growing homicide in US’ was the title of an eye-opening article published in The Sunday Times of Malta (July 28). The article also highlighted the appalling situation that “in the US, five children kill their biological parents every week.”
There are many contributing factors to this. However, one very common one is the increasing breakdown of the family structure and the disintegration of the community.
Although Malta still has strong families compared to other Western societies, the writer of the article warns that “Malta is not immune to this social fragmentation”.
I found this to be a very important and timely article. The bottom line is that, if we really want to prosper and live better, more peaceful and satisfied lives – moreover, if we want our coming generations to be morally, spiritually, academically, financially and socially strong, immune from the ills of modern society – then we must build strong and healthy families.
Rather than taking an unwise stance of ‘wait and see’, I think that adopting a proactive approach is the need of the hour. We should not only wait for the paradise of the Hereafter but must build our paradise in this very life. We must make our homes an abode of peace, love and respect.
We must strongly shun every ulterior motivation to make personal and materialistic gains and instead become loyal, selfless and faithful to each other. How true rings the phrase ‘you reap what you sow’.
Therefore, instead of racing towards the trends and fashions of this world, we should excel in the race of piety and righteousness, and instead of solely focusing on materialistic gains, we should utilise all our capacities and capabilities to build strong and healthy families. Instead of spending long hours on mobile phones surfing the internet or in front of televisions, we should use our valuable time to prepare a healthy and enriched generation in terms of education, training and moral values.
I found the words of His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the current leader of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, very touching. He says: “Adorn your and your children’s future in this world and in the hereafter.”
We must strongly shun every ulterior motivation to make personal and materialistic gains and instead become loyal, selfless and faithful to each other
In the Holy Quran, God promises “two Gardens” to those who give precedence to piety and righteousness over everything else.
These “two Gardens” refer to the paradise of this life and the one in the hereafter. Thus, we must remember that God Almighty wants us to keep our eyes on tomorrow as well and, this way, we would be able to inherit the paradise of this world as well as the next.
How can the breakdown of the family structure be avoided? How can we make our homes like paradise? By means of what can we create a paradise in our homes?
First and foremost, by the development of high moral values and elevated standards of piety and righteousness.
Sharing chores in the house is also important. Upholding the dictum that both men and women should without question do their bit for their household could bring about more harmony in the family and avoid much conflict.
Guiding fathers towards their important role in the valuable family-building environment, His Holiness said: “I would say to fathers that they should also play their part in making their homes like paradise. Don’t place the sole responsibility on mothers.
When men express their love at home and fulfil their responsibilities, then a mother’s pious training is more fruitful.”
It has been noticed that boys who are well-trained by their parents will grow up to become husbands and fathers who act righteously. They will possess high morals and they will help their wives make their homes like paradise.
Leading by example is a crucial element in building a harmonious family structure.
Parents are the role models for their children, so it becomes incumbent upon them to always be heedful of every word they utter and every act they perform. This is because this will leave strong and irremovable marks on their children’s memories.
To make family life healthy and prosperous, and to add to it the sweet flavour of happiness, it is highly recommended that parents should spend valuable time with their children and establish effective communication between all family members.
In addition, children should be provided with a serene and understandable open platform to discuss matters freely with their parents. Home environments should always demonstrate the core values of faithfulness, kindness, unconditional love and respect.
Parents should involve their children in social and philanthropic works and projects so that these can develop the sense of kindness and benevolence from their childhood.
They should teach children the harms of excessive and unprotected use of technology, not simply by mere words but through practical examples.
Parents should also teach them the reality of life not by mere lip service, but by living it. These are proven methods that can save family structures from breakdown and fragmentation.
Laiq Ahmed Atif is president of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat Malta.
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