Let the Child be a Child
- :Mohamed A. Khalfan
A child was visited at home by his friend. That night the child declined to sleep in his room. He insisted on joining the parents in their bedroom. The fear of his room was triggered when the friend asked the child if he was not afraid to sleep so close to a window when ghosts and spirits peep directly into the room.
The tactful approach to the situation should have been for the parents to accede to what the child had pleaded for, at least, for that night knowing that such fears wear off or become much less the next day. Instead they thought it a good opportunity to enforce the parental discipline over the child so that he abandons what was perceived as a "sissy" trait. The parents, after a peaceful sleep with no sense of guilt, woke up in the morning fully
pleased with the result of their "putting the foot down". And they would not ask the child how he slept because that would have undermined the disciplinary strategy of the night.
Needless to say, the child was restless that night because - he was a human-child, - and if only the parents knew that! "Why believe in a ghost or spirit when you have seen none and will see none of them ever in your life"? The father's argument kept ringing in the child's ears; and he would ask himself: "Indeed why"?
The child was betraying nothing more than a simple natural fear of an Unseen -never seen before -because he, as human, has been created in the nature of readily believing in the Unseen that Unseen which basically includes Allah, Angels, Jinnat (Spirits) and Shaitaan CSatan). No Wonder that the fundamental teaching in Islam is "AI- Imaan bil Ghaib" that is, "the Belief in the Unseen".CVerse 2:3).
Therefore, the human nature makes a wood-cutter instinctively cry out when his axe accidentally falls sharply on his foot, though he is all alone in the forest. The instinct in its reflex response makes him, the created, to cry out to his Creator, the Unseen.
Fear -Mental Normalcy
The subject of "Al-ghaib" reveals one thoughtful aspect for discussion here. Fear! It is part of the instinct for self-preservation or survival. It is not something that a child can be made ashamed of. In fact, manifestation of fear is a welcome sign of a mental normalcy in him.
The parents should instead keep the mind of the child at rest by making a joke of their own past embarrassment Over false fears or by cracking a few jokes on themselves on the subject.
To ask the child to banish fear is like asking him to banish his human instinct. Remember the wood-cutter? Was his piercing cry of moan in the lonely forest a waste? No! It immediately comforted him in his pain. The instinct of Seeking out the Unseen with a cry of moan comes as an immediate relief to all of us. But we do not pause to ponder.
It is said that fear as part of the human instinct begins even before a baby is born. Some pregnant mothers are reported to have noticed that a sudden loud noise or a. sudden let go heavily onto the couch produced distinct signs of disturbance in the baby in the womb akin to the Signs of fear.
Adapted from the book: "Child" by: "Mohamed A. Khalfan"
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