Some time back now I read on a forum a muslim woman posted asking whether it was 'healthy' to relate stories of the Prophets, peace be upon them, to young children. She was afraid that the violence and grown up themes might harm them psychologically, or something along them lines.
When I was young, Alhamdulilah, my mother used to read to me the stories of the Prophets, Sahaba and Awliyah may Allah bless them all.
Those anecdotes taught me very important life long lessons.
When I'd hear about miraculous events happening to those personalities, it made me desire to have such events happen to me too lol. However one indirect long term lesson that came about after encountering them was that Allah can truly make the impossible happen. It became embeded in my mind that no matter what, Allah is there and will help me, even against all odds.
Since in many of these stories, the miracles didn't come about straight away and the people had to be patient and suffered a lot before they were granted goodness, I was also taught patience, perserverence and humility (again, all indirectly).
Listening to the stories filled me with hope and dependency in Allah that remain with me till this day, Alhamdulilah.
Whenever I was confronted by any problem, I would slowy in my mind make continuous dua 'Oh Allah, help me' hoping for a miracle to happen that would completely rid me of my problem.
I think children that haven't been taught such things would most likely be hopeless at the onset of any difficulty and as a result would probably grow to start depending a little too much on themselves, their abilities and the abilities of those others around them. It would be difficult for them to have ultimate tawakul in Allah because they have grown up with too much dependency on themselves.
Not that confidence in our own abilities is bad, but without recognising that Allah is in control of everything and we achieve only what he allows, we grow arrogant, prideful and boastful when things go our way but when things go bad, we become totally lost and in most cases 'depressed'.
What listening to the anecdotes gave me ultimately was a life long coping mechanism for all sorts of hardship I experienced. I never lost hope in Allah, no matter how dire things seemed because I always believed wholeheartedly that Allah was there and a miracle is never beyond his abilities and I just needed to adopt patience.
Many people don't have the same conviction, dependency, hope and trust in Allah nor the patience when they turn to him so ultimately their faith starts languishing as soon as something goes wrong.
I wholeheartedly believe that my strong conviction in Allah arose because of those stories and consequently, I think that woman was unwise to question the relating of them to young children.
Children have pure hearts and that is the best time for them to encounter such anecdotes. They can readily soak up the lessons contained in them.
Anybody else had the same experience? Would you agree that listening to them gave you a strong conviction and lifelong coping mechanism?
I suppose people could also argue that at young ages, children could also be exposed to fictional stories where 'good always triumphs' and that might build their confidence and patience too and I wouldn't argue against that but obviously there is a world of difference between make belief and reality, especially the powerful story of those so pious and close to Allah.
"We narrate all these stories of the Ambiyaa (Nooh, Hood, Saalih, Ibraheem, Loot, Shuaib and Musa - alayhimus salaam) to you so that We strengthen your heart." 11:120.