If you want your son to be that human being who would draw his way in life with determination and confidence, one who would overcome all obstacles and would become a successful personality in the future. You have to adopt the following recommendations, that were reached through scientific experiments and reaffirmed by the experience of parents, over many successive generations:
1 - Let him Depend on Himself
A child cannot depend on himself unless you can build up his confidence and his capabilities. And this could be done in one way only; To let him try to do all kinds of things regardless of how tough they might seem to be. The child who is used to do his room, to walk to school by himself, to take care of his games and toys, and in short to overcome the difficulties he faces daily, is the child who could have a strong personality and enjoy a successful life. In order to do this, there is no need to enroll our children in special educational schools. Rather it is enough to let them face problems without depending on us.
2- Encourage Your Child at every Possible Chance
I can see no stronger motive for success like encouraging people whether young or old, ignorant or wise. For encouragement is like oil to a machine or like gas to an airplane. Furthermore, were it not for encouragement, many scientists would not have risen to the status of fame and immortality they come to enjoy. Life is full of evidence that demonstrate the great achievements that encouragement played a role in accomplishing.
One of the great orators said once:
"I do not remember that I have ever committed a mistake in any of my speeches or hesitated or forgot what I wanted to say. Nor have I felt afraid of the public. All this is due to the encouragement I recieved the very first time I spoke in public 40 years ago. At that time a lecturer was supposed to address a family meeting in our house but he was late. As I happened to have memorized a poem I read it to the people who were beginning to get bored and annoyed. One of the great academics who happened to be present, praised my recitation to the extent that he used to say "bravo" every time I finished reciting a single verse. Forty years later, I have delivered thousands of speeches and received thousands of encouragement messages and words of praise. But the first time I heard the word "bravo" is still the one that rings in my ears and gives me strength and encouragement".
Encouraging people and children gives them hope and fills them with happiness. Why should we hesitate to encourage others when all it costs us is a few words knowing the great results it will achieve.
3- Lead them to become good people.
A successful father is the one who nurtures a strong and even iron like will in his children. Such a strong will could only be achieved by strengthening one's spirit so that it could become more ascetic than that of the well to do and more capable of overcoming difficulties.
There are many ways to help the father build his child's will power, the most important of which are: - Refusing to accommodate to all his wishes and give him every thing he asks for.. A child has to learn to be patient and undemanding. To teach your child to be patient we recommend:
When you want to buy something for your child or accommodate one of his demands, think it over for a while and then go ahead with the decision you have reached. The second method is to let him acquire the traits of the faithful believers, that of asceticism, patience, prudence, fasting and prayers. The Messenger (P.B.U.H.) says: "Teach your children to pray when they become seven" In addition to strengthening the faith of the child, prayers teaches commitment and strengthens the personality. Fasting the month of Ramadan could also strengthen the child's will power.
4- Let Them Acquire a Positive Attitude:
Success in life needs optimism and a permanent positive attitude. On the other hand, failure is always a product of pessimism and negativism. That is why we find that Islam fights pessimism and considers it one of the qualities of the unbelievers. The Holy Quran says: "Do not despair of Allah's mercy; none but the unbelievers despair of Allah's mercy".
The prophetic tradition says:
"Be optimistic of good tidings and you will be so rewarded".
Therefore the parents are required to make of their children positive people who are always optimistic and enthusiastic, and who always have hope in Allah, and His support of His followers, even in the darkest of times.
5- Teach them to be Ambitious and Motivated
One of the great religious scholars asked his son once:
- What do you want to be in the future?
- I want to be like you.
- You will not be able to do so. Because what made me reach what I am today was that I wanted to be like Imam Ali (A.S.), and of course I did not achieve my goal but became what I am today. You only want to be like me and consequently you also will not reach your goal. If you want to become like me you should aim as high as I did. Imam Ali (A.S.) says: "The best aims are the highest".
To discover the essence of a man and know if he is worth of being considered among the great, look at the aims he seeks to achieve... Such aims could be directed both towards this life as well as the other life... Those who want to become billionaires will become millionaires and those who would be contented with their daily bread will end up as members of the deprived classes. Similarly those who want to be the neighbors of prophets in Heaven will undoubtedly reach their goal.
Some of the people are only concerned with themselves and their household and would be satisfied in acquiring some basics of knowledge, while others try to utilize all their powers and carry the burdens of their nation and the future generations as well. They will talk to them and write to them. That is why a religious scholar is 70 thousand times better than a worshipper who is only concerned with his personal salvage, while the scholar tries to save the whole nation, and liberate it from the chains of ignorance and slavery. Both you and your son should aim to achieve great goals. Those who die as they were born with out writing their names in history have not had any real life. Allah calls on us to make use of all our powers so that we will be able to achieve whatever we wish to accomplish.
But man has neglected his powers and grew to be contented with the minor concerns of the worldly life, and with little effort to achieve salvation in the hereafter.
Therefore the ambitions of our sons should not be confined to certain villages or cities... It should encompass the whole world, being the land of Allah, and the Muslim, His caliph on earth. That is why we find Imam Hassan (A.S.) urging his sons and nephews to learn to be ambitious and prepare themselves to carry great repsonsibilities.