Encouragement is the closest link to God


Encouragement is the closest link to God all of us will ever hear, knowingly or unknowingly, through His human conduits on earth

Eid al-Fitr is frantically signaling its approach, demanding our attention. Only days to go now before we celebrate the end of the month-long dawn-to-sunset fasting of Ramadan.

Eid brings joy and, unfortunately, its close companions, sorrow and grief. It distinctly separates in society the haves and the haves-not. A walk through any Bengali village on Eid Day and both categories are easy to distinguish.

Whether a family is poor or well off, however, there is one gift all can give their children and that’s ENCOURAGEMENT.

Encouragement is Priceless to give and a Treasure to receive. There are no distinct colors that can be seen on earth, yet it is awe-inspiring and superbly colorful and akin to the most magnificent rainbow ever witnessed or imagined.

Whether poor or well to do, it doesn’t matter. Encouragement goes with any attire, burka, dress, jeans, t-shirt or even rags. The anxiety of whether it goes with this or clashes with that or even one’s complexity goes out the window. There are no expensive or inexpensive materials from which to choose, or body measurements needed for a perfect fit – one-size fits all. Furthermore, it lasts for eternity and is always in vogue.

Encouragement is the closest link to God all of us will ever hear, knowingly or unknowingly, through His human conduits on earth.

The superpower of encouragement is crystal clear. There’s overpowering evidence of its overwhelming success. If not for encouragement most of us would be still walking on all fours.

Irrespective of how ignorant or uneducated some parents are; it’s innate in their system to encourage their children how to walk. They begin by encouraging them to stand on their own two feet. The offspring falls continuously, but they’re encouraged (generally with a loving smile of understanding) to get up and try again. Eventually, the child succeeds and learns to walk with confidence.

Why does the gift of encouragement stop at that point? Surely it’s obvious to all that encouragement is powerful, effective, and be applied throughout the child’s life. Getting the child to stand and to walk should be sufficient evidence that parents can play a masterly role in the upbringing of their children, even if their only contribution is encouragement.

With learning to walk, the child also learned to trust. If she or he fell to the ground in the process, mum and dad were nearby to raise them up, wipe away any tears, and put them on the right track again; thus creating a bond that could be nurtured throughout their entire lifetime. It should be obvious to all encouragement works wonders.

Saturday, 30 April was the International Day to End Corporal Punishment of Children.

The list of countries prohibiting corporal punishment in all settings, including the home, school, madrassas, care centres and such, is growing fast, but never quite fast enough – so far 63 countries have made the law reform, including most countries in Europe, many countries in South America and Africa and, most recently, Wales.

In January 13, 2011, Justices Md. Imman Ali and Md. Sheikh Hasan Arif outlawed the inhuman, ineffective, ignorant practice of corporal punishment in schools and madrassas throughout Bangladesh.

In their summary they declared it to be “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and a clear violation of a child’s fundamental right to life, liberty and freedom”.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is on record countless times for declaring children to be the future of Bangladesh and should be treated and respected as such. Hear! Hear!

However, I did mention on January 13, 2011 two modern day Bangladeshi super heroes made corporal punishment unlawful in schools and madrassas, but for some strange reason it has yet to be confirmed in legislation, 11 years later. How could a law of such an enormous importance to the welfare of nation and all its inhabitants take so long to go through the system? The mind boggles.

Encouragement versus corporal punishment: there is no contest. Encouragement is a clear winner and rightly so. Momentarily imagine trying to teach a child how to walk and every time he or she fell over the child was beaten with a stick.

You don’t need me to predict the results you could anticipate and how damaging they would be to the child.

It’s a scientific fact corporal punishment has no long term redeeming factors whatsoever and any teacher or Imam who thinks and act otherwise are ignorant and more to be pitied for their state of mind.

The greatest gift any teacher, imam, parent or friend can give anyone (male, female, young or old) is encouragement. Encouragement has played a major role in all great achievement this world has ever known. We do not know what a person is capable of achieving, if encouraged.

If, as all the GOOD books say, “The Kingdom of God is within” it wouldn’t surprise me if encouragement were the only propellant necessary within that person for him or her to move forward and achieve his or her lifelong ambition.

Encouragement is the inexpensive, priceless blessing we’re all capable of giving everyone not only at Eid al-Fitr, but also throughout the year, but only a few do.

Happy Eid al-Fitr! Joi Bangla!


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