Feb 15, 2013

The Importance of Family Time

By Asrar BenHoucine


Who in this world, that too in their right mind would not want to have that strong sense of belonging to someone they can call family? We all do. We all yearn cause we are typically humans. However, we must admit, that today there is a chaos in the family bonding department. We just do not know how to bond.

In most cases families need two people as the source of income in order to live a fulfilling life today; depending on how many mouths to feed and the location you are living in, which means that there is not always time for one to sit and talk with each other and be caring. Weekends become the most valuable time where people find time to do things together but of course not all families. Here is where I would like to touch base. Family bonding is about sharing time with those you consider to be family. Family bonding creates a sense of belonging, it teaches about communication and how to have a relationship, lets you know you matter and finally family time is important because you get to be loved as well as show love.

Would you not say love strengthens a bond between two, and in order to love one another one would have to know each other. Know what their likes from dislikes are and know their comforts from discomforts. Getting to know someone takes effort, patience and an open mind. There are families that sit down and never talk, making it become awkward and uncomfortable. I personally was taught not to talk at the dinner table, we had to sit there and finish our food in silence. Thank God my family grew out of that stage. Of course no one wants to sit at a dinner table and talk with their mouth full, we should always include our manners and never start a fight or a conversation that you know may lead to a fight. Rather one should speak about each other’s day, plans, thoughts, etc.

Belonging to a group is very important; children thrive for belonging, if they do not find it at home they will find it elsewhere. There is positive reinforcement in both parents as well as children when finding time to bond. We are taught to bond with our children from the minute they are conceived. Nothing should change once they grow and become independent. We learn from our elders even if our elder may be just a couple years older than us and in some cases we learn from our young. Structures of love are built within one big structure in family and if all are treated with respect and are fair and just, then the family will grow as one. Members should never favor one over the other or leave others to isolate themselves due to lack of trust in the family. Belonging and being accepted will put that trust in one's heart and will naturally result in being loved by one another. You will not only be their guidance but you will become their friends and friends tell each other everything.

Is your child drifting away from the family?

It is known that children have a tendency to further themselves from their parents or guardians as they get older from speaking so much that you hardly ever get a word in, to eventually giving you the silent treatment! I teach my 5 year old that in communication you need two to speak and not just listen. This is when I ask if I can speak and she then lets me but of course she is never shy to remind me that I too must listen sometimes, which I love because now we are communicating.

If you feel that your family is avoiding to spend quality time together then maybe you should ask or do something that you know they would love. Whether it is going on a camping trip, ice skating, or something simple like shopping, where you can engage and try to be the listener if they start to talk. If communicating is not one of your child’s favorite thing to do, well I would suggest, do not force it, since bonding is not only communicating, it is being together. If they are having fun without a single word coming out of their mouth, then that is OK too.

In family time many things can be discussed like issues that arise and concerns. Sometimes listening can do miracles. You as a parent, mentor, brother, sister, aunt or uncle have a responsibility for those youngster that look up to you. They watch everything we say and do…In fact I am the youngest of my siblings and we are all married now and I still watch and I still observe and I can only say that I wish we spent more time together, more talks, and more family outings because I feel my family hardly knows me. Sadly to say they do not even know I write. Now from experience I know how important communication is. Making time for one another will end out in happiness and love for one another mainly because there are no more guesses about what that individual is up to but instead you know what is going on, and maybe could help if needed. Younger children are trickier; they need more patience, less demands and orders and let them feel that they are in control without giving full control.

We all need it to be known that we matter. The self confidence one gains from being “acknowledged” is immense. When you want to spend time with any member of your family, this sends out the signals to that person, “Hey, you are important and you matter to me!” Believe it or not, not everyone knows this. Surprising as it might seem, we humans are in need for each other. This is why isolation is very serious. If someone in your family is isolating themselves then someone (likely the closest individual to that person) should find out why. However if they are not opening up to you then maybe you are the wrong one to be asking. Do not think that that  person does not want to tell you, because who doesn’t want to vent. Everything has its reasons, and usually children, adulterants, teenagers and sometimes adults isolate because they feel no one understands them or ever been through what they are going through. They think avoiding confrontation will create fewer problems for them, not realizing that the problem is still there just subsided now to a volcano waiting for the opportunity to erupt or find another escape route.

Jabir bin Abdullah narrated that the Messenger of Allah said: "Every good is charity. Indeed among the good is to meet your brother with a smiling face" (at-Tarmidihi)1

Why do you think smiling is an act of charity done to your brother/family member? This brings peace to the heart and makes a person happy therefore transfers that happiness as if receiving a gift and now you want to share this gift with others and so on and so forth. Acts of kindness can only bring families closer, forgiving one another means you will have to talk in order to forgive. Forgiving blindly is fine but not suggested because Shaytan will always find a way to make you remember the faults in people, where as if you spoke and forgiven verbally you will have gotten rid of the doubts you had about that individual leaving no room for anger.

Family time is an important factor in one’s family because it keeps the household intact instead of everyone wanting to see their own way, and even if the members eventually marry or leave there will always be that remembrance and love to want to unite again. Insha Allah. This is the parent’s duty as mentioned in the Hadith.

Abu Umamah narrated that a man said that: "O Allah's Messenger (SAW), what are the rights of parents over their child?" He said:"They are your Paradise and your Hell." (Sunan Ibn Majah)2

If we do not make time for our children then who will? We must pass on a generation of pious children so they too can do what is required on them, and not get caught up in wealth and dunya (life).

Have you ever had a time where you just wanted to leave the family you were in because you felt you were not treated fairly or were disrespected? Do you think that if you or your family took the time to talk, things would have been better? I am available for anyone who has family issues and would like to talk, and could be emailed if would like to do so confidentialy. I could be reached at habibihalaqas@gmail.com 

1.English reference: Vol. 4, Book 1, Hadith 1970
2.English reference: Vol. 5, Book 33, Hadith 3662

I'd love to hear your opinion on this issue.  Please post in the comments section below :)


Beautiful article, Masha Allah =)

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