“We accept the love we think we deserve.” ― Stephen Chbosky.
One starry night, my eldest daughter asked me, "Mummy, are you going to choose my husband for me?" At that moment I couldn't resist teasing her. I gave her an evil laugh and said, "I will lock you up in the tower until you are old enough to marry and then choose a husband for you!" My daughter looked at me unperturbed and said, "Mummy, please! Be serious! I'm not Rapunzel".
Sigh! Kids nowadays have no sense of humor!
Ever since my daughters were small, my husband and I have been gently educating our daughters about a woman's awra. I made decision a long time ago, not to force them to wear hijab but rather coax them by explaining the beauty behind it. Alhamdulillah, they embraced the concept of awra willingly but of course, they had their 'off' days when they just refused to wear hijab when going out. Since they have not reached puberty yet then, we decided to let it slide once in a while but now, since they have come of age, they understand their relationship with Allah SWT and why they have to cover their awra.
When my eldest started her secondary school, I think my husband was more traumatized than I was. One day, my daughter came back from school and complained to the father that they were a group of boys who were disturbing her. Being the protective father, hubby was ready to go out and purchase a shot gun but thank God that he didn't! Anyway, the next day when my husband picked my daughter up from school, he asked my daughter to point out the culprits. So happened, the boys were standing on the roadside.
Hubby calmly drove over to the boys, rolled down the window and asked in a booming voice, "Are these the boys who were disturbing you?" The boys jumped and looked as if they have just seen a crazed grizzly bear and then bolted from the scene! After that, they dare not to even look at my daughter.
After that incident, we decided it was time to explain to our daughters the boundaries between boys and girls in Islam and also why. They asked a lot of questions but in the end, they got a rough idea of the dos and the don'ts.
I must admit that it is quite a challenge nowadays, to bring up children in accordance to Islamic principles. Our kids are exposed to many things that it is difficult to shield them sometimes. The type of friends that our kids have also has a contributing effect on their behaviour. We must somehow strike a balance in trying to educate our kids and still be flexible but educate them we must! We as parents will be questioned later.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Everyone of you is a protector and guardian and responsible for your wards and things under your care and a man is a guardian of his family members, and is accountable for those placed under his charge." (Bukhari and Muslim)
In my case, I have mountains full of sins to atone for but if my soul is taken before I finished repenting, it is my hope that I have brought up righteous children who will pray for me and my husband.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) in this context, said: "When a believer dies, his work ceases to be except in three areas: a perpetual Sadaqa (charity), some useful knowledge he leaves and a righteous children praying for him." (Muslim)
So back to my daughter's question, I told her that I can't predict the future. If we find someone suitable for her, we will still let her decide. We will never force her to marry if she doesn't want to. If she finds someone that she likes, then we will accept but we as parents still have to right to say 'no' if we find her candidate not to be suitable for her.
Then, my second daughter interjected, "You mean mummy, we can actually go dating?" I gave my daughter the sweetest smile and said, " Yes sweetie but only if you bring mummy and papa along!" Hehehe.........