Children love stories, and if you begin to narrate proper stories to them from a very young age then they will grow up having mastered many moral lessons. Telling bedtime stories to kids is an especially good way to educate them as they are in a state of rest away from anything that could distract their attention. If you use the story telling technique to teach something to your kids, the outcome most likely will have a long term effect on both the child’s heart and mind.
In the society in which you live, you leave a mark, either good or bad. People are not remembered by their names but by the marks they leave us with.
The character of a person is what makes him/her complete and ideal for building up a great society. Allah’s Prophets (Alaihimu Salam) were not popular for the miracles Allah made possible through them or the territories they ruled. They were simple people who created societies based on tolerance, obedience, patience, forbearance, dedication and forgiveness; pre-requisite characteristics for anyone wanting to succeed in life
Moral education is the education system that inculcates these qualities in a child. However, parents are the best people to teach kids good moral behaviors. Parents should inculcate the best Islamic moral values in their children from an early stage in the children’s lives.
Imam Ali, (may Allah be pleased with him), said that the mind of a child is like fallow ground; whatever is planted on it grows.
Our Prophet ﷺ (Sallallahu Alayhi wasallam) said that “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 residences are often trodden on by guests.”
Parents should start moral education to their children at a very early stage and give examples that they will understand, and integrate those examples in stories. It is essential to give moral education to our children; it help them to overpower traits including backbiting, jealousy, extravagance, disobedience, greed, speaking lies, stealing, and stubbornness.
The importance of kindness, sympathy, forgiveness, patience, obedience, sincerity, contentment, justice, and honesty is instilled in children by moral education. So it is important for Muslim parents to educate their kids morally.
Various theories of introducing moral education in children have been developed by psychologists. This is made possible when kids are taught to share with each other like in school or in study groups.
Parents should however be very selective when choosing the stories to tell their children. There are various morals which can be found in the history of Islam.
Right from the beginning, when Adam (peace be upon him) was created, there is the story of Shaytan being disobedient. The life of our noble Prophet Mohammad ﷺ (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) is full of moral lessons. Parents should select how to convey these stories to their children.
The patience and tolerance of our noble Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is explained by the story of a woman that used to throw garbage on him. The importance of charity is explained by the story of Imam Ali buying a barren land and digging a well and donating it to the trust, when everyone was wondering about the wealth he could derive from it. The importance of selflessly helping the needy is explained by the story of the family of Ali fasting for three days consecutively and giving away in charity the only food they had to break their fast with throughout the three days. The importance of manners and respect for elders is explained by the story of the way Imam Hussain and Imam Hasan (peace be upon them) explained the correct method of performing Wudhu to the elderly person.
Whenever children are in a position to listen to bed time stories, then their parents should narrate stories to them. The moral of the story should also be explained to them as well.
It is the duty of parents to present good ideas to their children which can guide them all throughout their lives, before they start searching for their own ideals. It is said by Imam Ali to “teach your child from your own knowledge, what Allah will help them with, so that those who have gone astray will not affect them with their opinions.”
The personalities of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), Imam Ali, Zainab, Sakina, Lady Fatima, Abbas (Radiyalahu anhum) and other Islamic role models should be told to children before they get caught in the stories of Cinderella, Snow White, X-Men, Tom and Jerry, etc.
Imam Sadiq (May peace be upon him) said “to take action in teaching traditions of the Ahlul Bayt (the Prophet’s household) to your children before the corrupted persons proceed in corrupting them.”