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Applying Bahá’í Principles to Real Life Situations
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Single Mom’s Raising Sons to Maturity
The following article originally appeared in “Parenting in the New World Order”, October 1996, and was published with the permission of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Canada. It is reprinted here with permission.
It is the bounden duty of parents to rear their children to be staunch in the Faith, the reason being that a child who removeth himself from the religion of God will not act in such a way as to win the good pleasure of his parents and his Lord. For every praiseworthy deed is born out of the light of religion, and lacking this supreme bestowal the child will not turn away from any evil, nor will he draw nigh unto any good.
Bahá’u’lláh, Bahá’í Education, p. 6.
It’s difficult enough for parents to raise their boy-children to be strong in the Bahá’í Faith. For single moms the challenge can be even more difficult. A boy growing up without a father may love his mother, but he will probably feel uncomfortable talking with a woman about his masculinity (especially as he hits those wonderful teen years). Or he may feel as if a female can’t understand the need for him to express his manhood. That’s why single mothers raising boys must commit to helping their sons understand what it means to be a mature man.
There are steps you can take to instill Bahá’í-like masculine qualities in sons:
1. Introduce them to heroes of the Faith, by reading or telling them stories from The Dawn Breakers or use a wonderful taped series by Hand of the Cause of God William Sears telling the stories.
2. Keep a copy of Vignettes from the Life of ‘Abdul-Bahá handy.
3. Subscribe to Brilliant Star magazine. It has good stories about heroes and modern day kids and the issues they face.
4. The book Thoughts: Education for Peace and One World by Irene Taafaki has stories categorized by virtues with quotes and stories from all the world’s religions.
5. Another book which is excellent for the pre-teens is A for Effort and Other Stories for Today’s Young Heroes, by Susan J. Allen. Each story portrays Bahá’í youth struggling to put the teachings into effect despite tremendous peer pressure.
Seek out male role models in the Bahá’í community. One ideas is to team up with single dads to trade off mentoring time. If chosen carefully, the team parent could have a positive and profound influence on your child. Ask for time from dads in your Bahá’í community.
Attend family summer and winter schools. Your child will have an opportunity there to meet dads who are receptive to being a mentor and role model. Encourage your sons to attend Bahá’í Children and Youth Programs as often as possible.
Don’t’ get discouraged if you can’t find a mentor right away. God knows what your child needs. If you earnestly ask Him about providing that special person, He will answer you in His time and in His way.
To meet the challenges of life in the 90’s, our boys need guidance along their road to manhood and if parents don’t provide the direction for their children, the world will. What are we waiting for? Don’t let the few years you have to mould your sons slip away.
NOTE FROM AUTHOR: the resources listed in this article are obviously dated. What would you recommend to single Mom’s this year? Post your ideas on our blog:
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Susan Gammage has helped hundreds of people move past places where they were stuck in their lives. If you would like to get to know Susan a little better, you’ll find her background at www.susangammage.com
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Copyright 2008 by Susan Gammage All Rights Reserved.
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