Children are the coolness of their parents’ eyes. ‘Coolness of eyes’ is an Arabic expression. It means that if someone is deeply depressed, his “eyes are warm” as opposed to a mother whose “eyes are cool” when she cries upon seeing her child after many years.

When the ‘season of tests and exams’ arrives, the entire parent fraternity is bogged down with preparation, stressing themselves and straining their children. The worst arguments arise during this season. As the D-Day approaches, another storm in the box is waiting to explode. Pre-result day talks include: “Wait till you get your report” and the sanctions are all set to be implemented.

The most important thing at stake is the child’s self-esteem, which should be respected in order for him to achieve success in the future. The aim is to help the child develop a balanced personality, which is neither over-confident nor of an individual who thinks very low of himself.

Some positive ways to turn this occasion into a beneficial event are:

  • Publicly discussing the unpleasant will always bring ill feelings and estranged relationship. It is not very hard to choose between result and relationship. A healthy relationship is directly proportional to good results in all the exams of life. This is the only thing which can positively influence an individual’s way of thinking and living.
  • Praise the child for whatever effort he has made. Tell him what you thought worked for him.
  • Irrelevant is the fact that you are about to receive a good or a bad result. The important thing is it could be a ‘teachable’ moment. Discussing what to do next must be of utmost importance, rather than crying over spilt milk or celebrating out of bounds.
  • Help the child to think through the process. An analysis of actions is a reflective task that will help him throughout his life.
  • Sift through the effective and not-so-effective strategies of self-study. A self-study plan is always better, as it provides an intrinsic motivation to the child to keep trying. Remember, we have to help our children to learn how to fish, rather than to provide them with a fish every time they need one.
  • The worst reaction to a below-average result is “I knew this was going to happen!” The esteem-related needs of children are very important in order for them to reach the state of self-actualization.
  • Never compare one child’s result with those of others, whether to yours when you were young, a sibling, a neighbour or a classmate.

When you are about to receive your child’s result, control the sudden flow of adrenalin and let sense prevail. Just think over what you want: a hardened relationship or an improved result. Your reflection on this important question will help you decide what is to be achieved from this moment.

Inspired by a talk of Nouman Ali Khan, the CEO and founder of “Bayyinah”, an Islamic educational institution in the US. He talked about a Dua from Surah Al-Furqan: “…bestow on us from our wives and offspring the coolness of our eyes…” (Al-Furqan, 25:74)