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  • 3/1/2013

Moral Education through Stories (Part 1)

father and daughter

Every person leaves a mark, good or bad, in the society he lives. We do not remember people by their names but by the imprints they leave on our memories. A politician is known for his political works, a reformer is known for the changes he brought for the betterment of the society, a sportsperson is known for his talent, medals and trophies, etc.

Hitler was known for the wars and the destruction he caused. We remember Mahatma Gandhi as a man of non-violence. Here we have mentioned people who are popular for their interaction with a particular type of system. For example, a sportsman is popular because he gives fame to his country, and we cannot take him as an example to train a noble human. Then what makes a human complete and ideal for building up a great society?

Surely the answer lies in the character of man. The prophets of Allah were not popular for their miracles or kingdoms and territories that they ruled. They were simple people who built up a society with qualities like obedience, tolerance, forbearance, patience, dedication, forgiveness etc. These are the virtues which decide the character of man and help in the building of a peaceful society. The education system that deals with inculcating these qualities and building a good character in man is termed as moral education.

The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) said: "The best of you are the most well-mannered and generous, who go on intimate terms with people and people go on intimate terms with them, and whose places of residence are frequently trodden on by guests."

Moral education has to be started as early as possible. The best time to develop moral values is from early childhood.

Imam Ali (peace be upon him) says: "The first things that children should learn about are the things that they will need to know when they become men." He also said: "Surely the heart of a child is like fallow ground - whatever is planted in it is accepted by it."

Moral education is essential as it helps children overpower traits such as jealousy, backbiting, greed, extravagance, speaking lies, disobedience, stubborn nature and stealing, which they may develop inadvertently due to their inability to handle certain situations. Moral education instills in children the importance of honesty, kindness, justice, contentment, sincerity, obedience, patience, forgiveness, sympathy etc.

Children love stories. If a story is narrated in a proper way, even a toddler sticks to it for a few minutes. Bed time story telling is a good method of educating a child. The child is in a state of rest away from anything that could distract its attention. If a rule is taught as a statement to a child, it may have a short term effect, however if it is taught with a story and clear examples of good and bad effects of a deed, it leaves a long time imprint on both the child's mind and heart. Constant reminders of the characters in the story help them to correct themselves from time to time.

Every person has an ideal in his life and he strives hard to be like his ideal, who he thinks highly of more than anyone else. Hence we need to be very selective when we chose the stories to tell our children.

To be continued

Source: islamicinsights.com

Other links:

The Knowledge and Mutual Cooperation of the Educators

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