I’m not a teen, not anymore anyway, and I’m recently married with no kids of my own, so I guess you could say, I am somewhere in the middle.
And considering both my parents and I survived my teen years AND my parents and I still all get along, I have some advice, insight and comments that God willing might help us all treat our parents a little better.
The Quran says “Your Lord has decreed that you worship none save Him and that you be kind to your parents. . .” (17:23).
No don’t just roll your eyes and keep reading, think about it, how we treat our parents is in the same sentence as the requirement of believing in the oneness of God. Being kind to them is a requirement, an obligation, no exceptions, no excuses, none. . .from no one.
And like everything else, Allah is the judge of this, so basically we better be doing it, and doing it well. Whether it is respecting them, listening to them, helping them, you name it, we have to be kind.
I was often told that after marriage I would immediately appreciate my parents that much more, and sure enough for once “people” were right. Being away from them I do realize how much I took for granted, how little I helped, how much stress I caused them and I how much I owe them.
I cannot go back and change how I treated them, but I can work on treating them better now and I can try and convince others to take time for their parents, regardless of if they have reached “old” age or not. They need us, and chances are we need them too.
Who knows what the future may bring, you could go off to college, get married, something could happen to them, or to you, and then it might be too late. Children are a gift from Allah, but similarly so are our parents.
So some advice: Treat them well.
A Hadith by Al-Bukhari and Muslim relays the incident about when a man came to the Prophet Mohammed and said, ‘O Messenger of God! Who among the people is the most worth of my good companionship? The Prophet said, “Your mother.” The man said, “Then who?” The Prophet said, “Then your mother.” The man further asked, “Then who?” The Prophet said, “Then your mother.” The man asked again, “Then who?” The Prophet said, “Then your father.”
Chances are you have heard this. Probably by your mother. But I for one know that I ever really understood the power of a mother until I moved away. You see, I’ve always been a daddy’s girl, I still am, and happy to say so. But there is a quality and a strength in mothers that I am beginning to admire and more greatly appreciate.
Being recently married, I see how much work just sharing your life with one person can be, that the act of being completely responsible for another person’s life. . . well, that responsibility undoubtedly commands my respect.
I ask you how many people do you know that are truly generous, that give of them selves on a constant basis, who sacrifice their own wants so freely for another, that take harsh words in and return them with a smile or a hug? One maybe two?
How many people have always been there for you in every possible capacity, who pray for your happiness, who let you follow your own heart even when it breaks their own?
Personally, I only know of one person who has been and done all these things for me, my mother.
This is not to put my father down, not at all, the role is just different. As is a mother’s strength: it is often very personal, very internal, perhaps too often, unnoticed or unappreciated.
So some advice: Go give your mother a hug. I mean show her compassion, help her and pray for her, she has given you more than you could ever know.
I could go on and on, about verses from the Quran and examples from the Prophet, but I know too many things to remember can be difficult sometimes and I think in matters of parents, it should not be that complicated.
They care for us, and we must care for them. They have been places and learned things that we should seek to understand their wisdom and not make the same mistakes. We should value and appreciate them, it is our duty.
Regardless of their religion or strength of belief, being kind to them is a command from Allah and an act of practicing Islam.
May Allah help us all.