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10 Things to Hand Down to Your Son

From child to adult, from etiquette to ethics, what do you want to teach your son?

1. The ability to accept and express love: 

Your relationship with him will become his primary attachment model, on which his future attachments will be based. Ensure that as an infant his needs are met, that as a boy he has a warm lap to climb on, that as a teen you develop a friendship and enjoy quality time together, that as a man, he knows he has someone rooting in his corner …



2. The space to be a boy

… to scrape his knees, get his clothes dirty in a good mud-fight, to be daring, without you standing in the background issuing warnings. Allow him the space to explore …



3. A sense of competency:

Give him the skills to take care of himself and help the family by delegating age-appropriate tasks. Chores teach him responsibility, and the satisfaction of a job well done will enhance his self-concept. Remember, the Prophet (SAW) helped his wives at home, that Umar (RA) did his own laundry and mended his clothes …



4. A sense of chivalry: 

To give up his seat to an older person, to be considerate towards to his sisters, to serve others … The Prophet (SAW) taught that the leader of a people is their servant,  and if he is to grow up to be “qawaam” (the maintainer) of his household, he will need to learn that leadership entails service.



5. The stories of his family: 

Anecdotes of his parents and grandparents at his age, those funny and those tragic, all contribute to his sense of collective history.



6. A sense of belonging: 

That he belongs to his family, to his community, to the global ummah, and most importantly, to the brotherhood of humanity. Nurture the family and community ties that will embrace your child into its fold, to guard against the feelings of alienation that can provoke extreme behaviour.



7. At least one good recipe (preferably more) that will always be a crowd pleaser …


8. Role models from the seerah of the Prophets (AS), and the companions of the Prophet (SAW).

The accounts of Ayoob’s (AS) patience; Ali’s (RA) bravery; Umar’s (RA) strength tempered with mercy; the greed, jealousy and false accusations metered against Yusuf (AS) and his response of patience, forbearance and forgiveness … will all, insha Allah, mould his character.


9. Hayaa:

Hayaa is mistakenly regarded as a feminine quality and simplistically translated as shame or modesty. Instead, it refers to having the same sense of integrity in your personal space as in your public life, for none has more right to one’s hayaa than Allah, who is ever watchful over all actions. “From the earliest words of all of the prophets was; if you feel no shame then do as you please” (Bukhari).


10. Responsibility for his actions:

Ensure that he learns that his actions will bear consequences, both in this world and the hereafter. Correct mistakes and misbehaviour with appropriate consequences, and help him to rectify any harm that his actions may have caused to others. At the same time, notice and affirm the small kindnesses that he does.





Dear Son