Should you allow your children to go out on overnight trips?
Masood Ashraf, Fitchburg Majlis
I believe that this question has to be answered by each parent individually. Additional questions that will need to be answered before this decision is made may include:
- Do you trust your children that they can judge between right and wrong?
- Have they been brought up where they know not to cross the boundary?
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IV (may Allah shower His mercy on him) stated in his address to Lajnah at Jalsah Salanah, USA, 1991, “Wise parents let their kids make day-to-day decisions in small matters and it makes them feel independent and they do not feel enslaved in their homes and they feel happy, yet the bigger boundary of rules surrounding them is never crossed. The freedom that is given to them is limited in its scope. It is like an animal in a zoo who feels free to roam around yet he knows he has boundaries. Other example of this is like a child in a crib who is free to play yet he is confined in limited space. Giving an example of his grandnephew, Huzoor said, his sister loves her grandchild and it seems that the kid can have anything he wants and can make grandmother do anything he wishes to do, but I know better that it may seems like the kid having unlimited freedom, however, the bigger boundary circle has been enshrined in him and he knows not to cross it. He knows to speak the truth; he knows to respect the elders. Allah and the Holy Prophet’s (may peace and blessings of Allah be on him) love is engraved in his heart and if the Holy Qur’an is being recited, he knows to remain quiet.”
Recently, my 11-year old daughter was looking forward to an overnight trip to a museum. While she was preparing for the trip, my wife and I found out that our daughter was concerned about how she would perform her Prayers while on the trip since the trip would require her to be walking around the entire day. My wife and I suggested that she could offer her Zuhr and Asr Prayers when she would have lunch or whenever she would get a break and similarly, she could offer Maghrib and Isha Prayers just before getting ready to sleep.
Hence, in my opinion, parents can let their children go out on overnight trips whether boy or girl if they are confident that the children will make sound decisions and respect boundaries set by their parents. It will help them build character. It will give them confidence and opportunity to experience different things in the world which will help broaden their minds.
I know someone who was a really good cricket player in Pakistan and he played for his high school. However, his parents never allowed him to travel out of town despite multiple requests from his coach so that this may open up opportunities for him to play at the district level and above. As a result of this the child gave up playing altogether.
The Promised Messiah (may peace be on him) has said, “True guidance and training belongs to Allah Almighty. To pursue a matter persistently and to insist upon it unduly and rebuke children upon every matter indicates that such a person imagines himself to be source of guidance and believes that he will bring his children to order by pursuing his own methods. This kind of attitude savors of hidden assumption of association with the divine and should be avoided by members of our community. I pray for my children and require them to follow a broad set of rules of behavior and no more. Beyond this I put my full trust in Allah Almighty in the confidence that the seed of good fortune inherits in every one of them will blossom at its proper time.” (Mulfuzat Vol. 2 Pg. 5)