From Principles of Upbringing by ibrahim Amini:
The Prophet of Islam (saw) said:
“A generous person is closer to Allah’s creations and the Heaven. He is away from the Hell. The miserly person is away from Allah, His creations ( the men) and the Heaven. But he is closer to the Hell Fire." (al-mahajjatul bayda,v 3, p. 248)
Parents can make use of the following guidelines for cultivating the habits of generosity and magnanimity in their children:
1. Encourage the child to give a part of the things he has to the parents and his other siblings. The child must be suitably praised for the generous act and thanked. .In the beginning the child may be reluctant to part with his possession, but, by and by, he will get into the habit of being generous. When the child is reluctant for this experiment, he should not be forced into giving. This might make the child stubborn.
2. Sometimes encourage the child to allow other children to play with his toys. The child should also be encouraged to share his sweets and chocolates with other children. When he does it, give him a pat on his back.
3. Sometimes encourage him to give a part of his pocket money to the poor and the needy. Or ask him to spend some money for any good cause. If this becomes a habit, it would have a salutary effect on the character of the child as he grows up.
4. Ask the child to invite his friends home for a meal and see that he entertains them with care.
5. The parents can give some money to the child everyday to be given as alms or for some good cause.
6. Discuss with the child the difficulties and hardships of poor people. If possible take him along with you to the hospital, the orphanage and the home for the poor and aged. In his presence help some needy persons.
This way the child can be initiated into the habit of generosity. We, however, cannot claim that this method will work on all the children. The parents should make their best efforts and the success can differ from child to child. Every individual has his own nature and the capacity to accept change. For the children their habits also come as a genetic factor inherited from generation to generation. But careful breeding can definitely have some good effect.
A lady writes in a letter thus:
“…. At a pleasant place we had an orchard. Different varieties of fruits used to grow there in abundance. My Mom and Granny used to send some fruits to the needy. They were particularly generous to such of those needy persons who were serving our family. They used to entrust this task to me. From the age of six or seven years I got into the habit of doing this work. In the village there were families of two blind persons. My heart used to feel much for them. Every day when I visited them, I used to catch their hands, bring them out for some fresh air and take them back to their homes. .I used to bring fresh water for them from the lake. These blind men used to bless me and pray for me. When I told my Mom and Dad about this, they were very pleased. My mom said, one who has become blind is really deserving of all help.
My parents always used to encourage me for doing good deeds. I used to save from my pocket money and give to the needy. Slowly I got habituated of doing this. I am now a member of a social help organisation that is taking care of fourteen needy families.
My children too have taken good effect from my attitude. One day a child said,’ Give me some money every morning.’ I asked him, ‘ Why?’ he said, ‘ I shall save this money’ I give him the money regularly and remind him not to waste it. After some days he came to me with his treasure-trove. He had forty-eight coins in that. He said, ‘ Momif you permit me, I shall give the money to a blind person. He lives on the way to our school.’ I was very pleased with the child and I kissed and hugged him.”