Parents’ role in infusing tolerance

Published: January 27, 2011
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Intolerance has risen to a level that now threatens the very survival of our society, Islamic or secular. People in positions of responsibility don’t think twice about commenting, in rather careless and offensive language, about the deep-rooted beliefs of millions of people.

On the other hand, those who take offence think it right to settle scores with those who made the comments through any means possible. People start fighting in bazaars, parks, as well as on public transport.

Someone asked the Holy Prophet (pbuh),

“How many times shall I forgive my slave? He keeps on making mistakes.”

“Seventy times,” was the reply. Many language scholars say that this does not literally translate to 70 times, but that it just meant to preach tolerance and patience.

It is the duty of the people at the helm of affairs to find solutions to such problems. But unluckily we have come down to a level where we are convinced that everyone’s own interest should be the top priority. Those who can do something to bring back tolerance are busy doing something else.

On the other hand, our education system it seems is no longer able to instill character in students. These are the factories producing confused, unclear, angry, unkind money-making machines. They produce managers, doctors, engineers, social scientists, religious leaders, clerks, everything but humans. Most of these people have only one clear goal and that is of making money.

There are no exceptions, except for the lucky ones who have a support structure at home involving parents, grand-parents and sincere teachers to listen to them and discuss their small problems which, to children, are often the biggest issues in the world. Help and kindness to children at this level produces helpful and happy men and women of tomorrow.

Parents and families can certainly do something. Don’t wait for anyone else. Find some time to sit and play with your children, to read stories to them and to clarify the meanings of words in these stories and their lessons. Perhaps there was something to be said for the joint-family system which helped fulfill this role very well.

Arshad Shaheen

Arshad Shaheen

An Urdu to English translator for The Express Tribune

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.