Motherhood (Caring for Children)
One of the important duties of women is caring for their children. This is not an easy task but one which is very sensitive and vital. It is the most sacred and most valuable responsibility which has been bestowed upon women by the order of creation. There are a few points which are briefly mentioned here with regard to this matter:
(1) Fruit of Marriage
Although a man and a woman get married for a few reasons such as sexual motive, love, etc, having a child is not one of the main reasons for marriage.
But it is not long before the true motive of natural creation becomes apparent itself and the love for having a child grows in their hearts. The existence of a child is the fruit of the marital tree and a natural desire of men and women. A marriage without a child is like a fruitless tree. A child would strengthen the bonds of love between a couple. It serves as a drive to the man's working life and encourages the parents to care for their family.
Marriage is sometimes initially founded on the basis of lust, love making and instantaneous sexual interests. Such a foundation is false and not lasting and is always prone to destruction. The factor with which this foundation becomes strong, is haying a child.
Lust and sexual drive soon subside. The only memory from days and nights of sexual desire would be the children, whose existence would be heart warming to the parents.
"Imam Sajjad (AS) stated: 'One's happiness is in haying pious children from whom one can seek help'."
"The Prophet (SA) of Allah stated: 'A pious child is a sweet-smelling plant from among the plants of Paradise'."
"The Prophet (SA) of Allah also stated: ' Add to the numbers of your children, because I, on the Day of Judgment, will feel honored about the greatness of your numbers over the other Ummahs'."
How ignorant are those who, with various excuses, refuse to have children, and thus fight the principle of creation!
(2) Educating a Child
The most sensitive responsibility of a mother is her duty to educate and train her children. Although both the parents should share this responsibility, it weighs more heavily on the shoulders of mothers.
This is because a mother is able to constantly protect and monitor her child. If mothers, through a correct program try to bring up their children, then a whole nation and even the world would undergo revolutionary changes.
Thus the progress or deterioration of a society is in the hands of women.
"The Prophet (SA) of Allah stated: 'The Paradise is under the feet of mothers'."
Small children of today are the men and women of tomorrow. Whatever lessons they learn now, they will practice in future societies. If families improve, the society will progress, because societies are no more than a collection of families. Tomorrow's world will suffer with today's bad- tempered, stubborn, ignorant, cowardly, materialistic, nasty, careless, selfish and cruel children.
On the contrary, tomorrow's world will benefit from today's children who are honest, well mannered, generous, brave, just, trustworthy, etc.
Therefore, parents in general and mothers in particular are responsible towards their societies. They can serve their society by bringing up pious children. On the other hand, carelessness about their responsibility will be questioned on the Day of Judgment.
"Imam Sajjad (AS) stated: 'The right of your child is that you should know he is from you. Be it good or bad he is related to you. You are responsible for his upbringing, education and showing him the path to Allah and helping him to be obedient. You should treat him in such a way that if you behave well towards him, you will be sure of being rewarded and if you behave badly towards him, you will be sure of receiving punishment'."
Of course not all mothers are aware of the necessary skills of training a child and that is why they should set about learning them.
It is not within the scope of this book to present you with a detailed discussion on caring for one's child. Fortunately, there are many books, which have been written on this subject by learned writers and scholars. Women can buy these books and with the help of their own experience, they can educate their children and even become specialists in the field of child-rearing. She can then become helpful to other mothers for their duties regarding their children.
Here one point should be mentioned. Many people make mistake about the two phrases of 'education' and 'training', or think of them as having the same meaning. But one should know that teaching a child different subjects such as appropriate stories, poems, Qur'an, traditions of the Prophet (SA), and the Imams (AS) does not educate them. Such subjects are useful but a child should not only learn about honest persons, but he should be honest himself.Thus, we must create such an atmosphere and living environment that the child would naturally become an honest and pious person. If a child grows up in an environment of honesty, truthfulness, bravery, discipline, cleanliness, kindness, love, freedom, justice, patience, trustworthiness, faithfulness, and sacrifice, then he learns all of that. On the other hand, a child who grows up in a place of corruption, deception, anger, hate, hypocrisy, filth, and disloyalty, would inevitably be affected by them. Such a child may learn many stories about good and pious people, but to no avail. Dishonest parents cannot, by teaching Qur'an and Hadith, bring up honest children. Dirty mother and father actually teach their child to be dirty. A child pays more attention to his parent's deeds and not so much to their words.
Therefore, those of us who are seriously thinking of bringing up honest and good children, should correct their own behaviour first. This is the only way to educate a child to be useful to himself and his society.
 Wasa'il al-Shi'ah, vol 15, p 96.
 Ibid, p 97.
 Ibid, p 96.
 Majm'a al-Zawa'id, vol 8, p 138.
 Bihar al-Anwar, vol 74, p 6.