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The Child Mirror 17 November 2008

Posted by MOZAFFAR in Misc.
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Children reflect their parents. Children reflect the attention their parents give them. I don’t understand this situation where two parents have children, but let the local Day Care and television raise their children while they themselves are caught up in their professional ambitions.

I’m not speaking of the case where both parents have to work. I’m speaking of the case where both parents have to work in order to sustain an elite lifestyle. I’m also speaking of the case where both parents are working because they want to. What then is the point of having a child, except as vanity?

Children reflect their parents.

If you’re in a marriage and both spouses plan to work full-time, then why have children? You will miss their childhoods, and compensate for the absence of quality time by stocking their lives with material goods (i.e. toys). Again, children reflect their parents.

A step better than this is to dump the children with their grandparents. But, it is not qualitatively better. It is good that the child is loading up on hundreds of quality hours with the family — nothing can replace that — but it is still a form of abandonment.

If you invest yourself full-time on your child, you can — within the span of a summer — give your child a full year’s worth of school education, take numerous trips, and mold your child into a mature, beneficial human being. If, however, you dedicate your child’s summer to the local Day Care, then expect to create a devouring capitalist, for children reflect their parents.

If you have a child, then one parent should stay home full-time and raise that child. Otherwise, get a dog.

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Comments»

1. Basil - 18 November 2008

I don’t disagree with what you are saying in principle, it’s just that the archetypal household you’re describing here represents such a small percentage of the population that it’s almost worth not saying given the fact that your audience is likely not among that segment.

I guess it begs the question: How do you define “an elite lifestyle?” Multi-millionaires who live in gated communities? Two parents who want to be able to afford to send their kids to state college? Families that aspire to own their home instead of perpetually renting?

While I whole-heartedly agree that all parents–not just “elite” parents–need to invest time in raising their kids instead of just letting television or another human surrogate do it for them, not all parents who offload some of this responsibility have kids purely for vanity’s sake. That’s just an accusatory over-simplification for which you provide no basis or analysis.

“If you invest yourself full-time on your child, you can — within the span of a summer — give your child a full year’s worth of school education, take numerous trips, and mold your child into a mature, beneficial human being.” I couldn’t agree with you more.

However, your hypothesis that by sending a child to day-care a parent is going to “create a devouring capitalist” is completely without foundation. If you want to make the argument that day-care is a breeding ground for mindless consumer zombies and that stay-at-home parents are the cure, then at least cite something or share a story to back your claim. Not only that, but you’ve drifted away from your original condition of “elite” households. You now tar the parents who need to send their kids to day-care with smear of creating rabid capitalist monsters because you make an equation without distinction.

I share your general sentiments about parenting and raising kids–I sincerely do. I just think that there are more constructive and less condescending ways to go about saying what it is that you’re trying to say.

2. talib - 23 November 2008

Basil, Mozaffar’s post is not an analytic treatise. simply, some `isharat.

i am starting to increasingly appreciate non-analytic approaches. non-analytic approaches, like poetry for example, work when you, as the writer or reader, have the truth or some shadow of it (otherwise, they are nothing more than an exercise in sophistry). analytic approaches, on the other hand, are meant to lead one, step by step, from untruth to truth. i’m starting to seriously doubt the possibility of that.

btw, dogs reflect their owners too. so, these people shouldn’t get dogs either. we don’t need capitalist dogs! :)

3. MOZAFFAR - 23 November 2008

salam basil and talib,

jazakumullahu khayran for your posts.

regarding the day care comment, indeed, i do not want to be insulting or condescending to any parents. there are many parents who put their kids in day care because they honestly have no choice. just to make ends meet, they both have to work. and just to make ends meet, they have to put their children into daycares. this article was originally written a couple months ago, when the economy was much more hopefully.

but, i am speaking (yes bluntly) of the case where both parents want to work full-time. an “elite” lifestyle, here, is intentionally used subjective term.

i’m a father, and the first few years of my childrens’ lives was in daycare or with babysitters. and it was because of how we *wanted* to live. so, i’m sending a word of caution to others.

omer m

4. Umm Layth - 1 December 2008

I think your reminder is right on. I think we need to make clear that children are suffering today and your point that children suffer a lot because of a parents ego is nothing but the truth. I worked and I even brought my child to work with me but he suffered from my abandonment. I got home and was too tired to read to him and I shut him out of my life almost every night. I started working because I “wanted” to work and because I “wanted” more income but I didn’t “need” to do it and when I finally started to see my house and my life falling apart I didn’t quite get what the problem was immediately.

There are families who have no choice and we can’t point the finger at them because we all do what we can. One day I may be able to stay home and the next I may not be able to. Some of us have families and friends and others don’t. But I also see a clear difference between a want and a need… and it does piss me off. I know mothers who have found ways to work from home or work part time. I also know ‘of’ fathers who stay at home when women work or who work from home more than they do out to keep things balanced.

It’s very hard when we become parents at a time that we aren’t ready. I believe we must be at a certain level to have children but unfortunately our societies don’t push us to think harder before we take that step. I know I wasn’t mentally ready, subhana’Allah.

I know in the end we all have to go through life’s ups and downs in our own ways… but we need to get the message out that hey your kids are your life investment… not a house you hope for… nothing. They will intercede for you on the Day of Judgment and keep praying for you when you die. They too need a chance at Jannah and stability is needed to make the path to Jannah easier. All it takes is to look at the children of today to see how much the children suffer. We should also look back at our own childhoods because I know a lot of us wanted more stable homes ourselves, so maybe that will remind us to try harder with our own children… because it is their right and because they deserve it.

5. Aischa - 2 December 2008

Sheesh, I had a fairly stable homelife, and a stay at hom step mom, and I am having trouble replicating the experience these days for my own kids. I am very grateful for my step-mom being home, even though I wanted her to work so we could have a less embarrassing carpet in our house (very old and nasty) and a nicer car (not new, just not a primer-ed Valiant). Looking back I am glad my parents made do with less. My step Mom was able to keep house, homeschool, be a cub scout master, take us interesting places, cook good food, and be there when we were sick. Alhamdulillah. It is hard to avoid sometimes feeling like we should keeping up with the Jones. Most of the Elementary School Teacher that I worked with (mostly women), wished they could stay at home, but felt trapped by their lifestyle–new car, new home, new, new , new, etc. I don’t know how they had the energy to come home to their families, because at the end of my day at that school, I was bushed and going to bed early. This was before having my own kids. I think it’s worth the trade-off to downsize, to have more quality time or be able to stay at home. Though I can’t honestly say how hard it might be to make that transition, being at the bottom already : )
For me it helps to find like-minded people, willing to make being frugal fun and cool. I have a harder time around my friends who not like this: coming home with many new outfits, new kitchen gadgets, nice shiny cel phone, etc…

6. Umm Layth - 6 December 2008

Aischa… insha’Allah we’ll manage. May Allah facilitate it for us to be better mothers. Ameen


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