Rafed English

Ownership and Children

Love for the mother is a part of human nature. Man wants to own the things that he needs. He thinks he is the master of these things. He also expects others to respect his sentiment about his belongings. This instinct of ownership in the human nature cannot be completely obliterated.

Whichever way it is curbed, it will rise again. Ownership, although a notional phenomenon, is such a phenomenon that has assumed the garb of reality. Without the sense of ownership the running of human life seems impossible. From the time a child starts recognising himself, he identifies his needs, he instinctively thinks that he owns them.

When a child gets a thing lying on the floor, or takes it from someone else’s hands, he thinks that it belongs to him. He will not readily part with it. He knows that he is the owner of his clothes, shoes, toys and other things. He doesn’t like others handling these things.

You must have noticed that children love their toys, however bad shape might they be in. They protect them and even fight for them. They have pride of ownership in their natures. If someone rises to protect his rights, he should not be counted as evil. Sense of ownership is not a negative instinct. The parents must accept the child’s natural instinct.

It often happens that the children trespass over the ownership of other children and try to usurp the toys of other children. The parents should prevent such acts. If an older child bullies the smaller ones, the parents must intervene in a just manner. They must be convinced that they should not take away the toys of younger siblings by force. If the attitude continues even after this, the child must be strictly warned to behave. The human needs are ever growing. If some control is not asserted on them, the needs might surpass the means. They can also become the cause of destruction of the person.

The concept of ownership is for fulfillling the legitimate needs of persons. Work is deemed essential for achieving ownership. Love for wealth in legitimate limits is considered good. But if it exceeds certain limits, it can come under the category of avarice and parsimony. There are lots of people who can be termed mammon worshippers. They keep running after wealth tirelessly. They even compromise their rest, self-respect and honour in this futile search for wealth. It is a type of madness. They only want to create hordes of wealth that are useful neither to them nor to others. .These persons cannot be termed wise.

Therefore, the parents should encourage the sense of ownership in the child and also teach him to be contented with what he can acquire legitimately. He should have toys, but not too many of them. The toys should be sufficient to play and learn and not too many to create a hoard. If the child has too many new toys that are lying in the shelf, the parents should better give some to other children. But this should be done discreetly by telling the child that he has many toys and the other child has none.

If he gave him some, he will be happy. You will also be pleasing your parents and Allah too. The child will then be happy in parting with some of his toys. The child wants to please his parents. This instinct encourages him to listen to them and part with some of his possessions. This way the habit of sharing things is cultivated in the child. Sometimes the parents can encourage the child to lend his toys to other children for playing and return. This way the spirit of co-operation and sharing can be cultivated in the child.

In a nutshell the parents should keep in mind that there is moderation in all aspects of upbringing of the child. They should promote the sense of ownership in the child and see that it does not exceed certain limits. They must ensure that the child does not become a blind lover of wealth in his future life.

Adapted from the book: "Principles of Upbringing Children" by: "Sheikh Ibrahim Amini"

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