What do we do if parents stop us from being productive? This is something a lot of us can relate to, whether our parents are Muslims or non-Muslims. Often, parents are concerned about the productive projects we undertake. Will the projects yield positive results? Do the projects involve the right kind of people (Islamophobia seems to have deepened this fear)? What if the projects are risky (not haraam though)? In addition, many parents are skeptical of community service projects which do not provide benefits such as wealth, fame, etc. So what can be done to shine through this problem as a productive offspring?
• Du’a: Ask Allah to guide your parents to the Straight Path so that they can easily relate to you. Ask Allah to bless your projects and make your affairs easy for you.
• Stay calm: There is absolutely no reason to get upset if your parents stop you from being productive. They want the best for you; often, their definition of “best” and their overall perspective may differ from yours. Remember that a disagreement does not necessarily mean they do not love you. In addition, being patient in the face of any adversity and respecting parents are two praiseworthy acts through which we can earn the love of Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala). It could be that, as a reward for our patience, Allah will find a way out for us. “For indeed, with hardship [will be] ease. Indeed, with hardship [will be] ease.” [Qur’an 94:5-6].
• Alleviate their fears: What is it that makes them worried? Is it your safety, your social circle, your contacts, your capabilities, or merely a lack of funds? There are various ways of tackling these fears.
1. If they are worried about your security, you can choose indoor projects, take them to your workplace, or call them now and then to inform about your whereabouts.
2. If they are worried about your friends or project partners, you can invite them for lunch or a cup of coffee at your place and introduce them to your parents.
3. If they are worried about financial instability, examine how the project is worth investing in, and that you can manage the fund in time either through sponsors or through your annual savings.
4. If they are skeptical of charity/da’wah projects, you will have to make them aware of the importance of these types of projects in Islam and in the society. You can show them news reports on poverty and immorality resulting from a lack of charity/da’wah projects.
5. If they doubt your capabilities, for example, if they think you are too young, then you will need to take up responsibilities at home and in school.
Apart from these, it is essential that you constantly share your candid thoughts and emotions with your parents. Let them know what you are working on instead of saying “You won’t understand!” Work on your project in front of them sometimes so that they get a glimpse of what the project entails. You can also get someone to talk to them – someone whose advice counts for them – such as, their best friends, your elder siblings, your relatives, etc. In addition, many parents have certain conditions which we need to comply with, before they give a nod of approval to our projects. For instance, they allow us to participate in a project only if we bring good grades in school, or if we help them with some household chores.
• Include them in the projects: If you are able to motivate them and convince them of the integrity of your vision, chances are that they will not stop you from being productive. You can do this by empowering them with certain responsibilities within the project. For instance, you can seek valuable advice from them on how to get things done quickly and effectively. You can perhaps ask them to monitor the funds/accounts. That way, they will have a closer look at your project. A very important thing to remember is that parents want to get involved in the lives of their children. They want to be the figures we look up to and turn to for advice and inspiration. For them, we are never really grown-ups. Therefore, it is essential that we make them feel important. Appreciate whatever feedback they give you, whether you agree with it or not.
• Be productive at home: If you are failing to be productive at home, they will doubt your decisions and abilities. They will expect you to light up your own house with productivity before doing so for the wider community. They will expect you to take up responsibilities at home before anything else so that they are certain of your maturity. Therefore, engage in productivity at home even if it means cleaning your room or washing the dishes. That way, they will also get to know what productivity means to you, and how it affects your own life – for the better.
• Choose your projects wisely: If you are not convinced about a project yourself, it will be difficult and most importantly, useless to convince others about it. You will lack enthusiasm. Therefore, assess the pros and cons of the project. Assess your intention behind a particular project. Make long-term plans for the project. Take your time before you say yes to a project – this way, you might be able to know whether you have a temporary fascination with something, or a long-term ambition. It will give out a very negative signal to your parents if you leave a project half-way. They may not be able to place trust in your future projects.
I would like to conclude with a du’a for our parents: “My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy as they did bring me up when I was young.” [Qur’an 17:24]. Ameen.
About the Author:
Khadeejah Islam, writer at Habibi halaqas