From Garmin to TomTom and every GPS app besides – the choices are endless when it comes to finding a solution to safe navigation and guidance to the destination. With a GPS in hand, a person feels at home on even foreign roads, casually driving about and comfortably commuting from one point to the next.

However, imagine for a moment that a person is all alone and driving through the wilderness at night. Suddenly, he enters an area that is ill-reputed to be fraught with hijackers and robbers. As he enters this area, his GPS system goes absolutely haywire. The system ‘speaks’ and tells him to turn left, but when he glances at the screen, it clearly shows that he should proceed straight ahead without taking any turns. It is not farfetched to believe that this person would break out into a sweat and panic, as he would not know which direction to take in this most dangerous of places.

In exactly the same manner, every individual has to traverse his own path of life. In this path, he will face numerous threats and areas of intense darkness. If he safely navigates past all the roadblocks of Shaitaan, potholes of sin and oil-patches of the nafs (carnal desires), he will arrive safe and sound at his destination of Jannah.

When a child is born, he carries within him a blank ‘GPS’ system which will guide him throughout his life. As he grows up, it is the input of those around him – primarily his parents – that ‘program’ his GPS. However, when conflicting commands are entered into the GPS system, it causes the entire system to go haywire and crash, leaving the traveller stranded on the roadside or even worse – involved in an accident.

As parents, we should all introspect and ask ourselves, “What is the state of my child’s GPS?” Unfortunately, many of us may be guilty of either directly or indirectly saying to our children, “DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO.” As absurd as this may sound, it’s actually way more common than we imagine.

How many children are taught that the five daily salaah are compulsory, yet live in a home where salaah is taken casually?

How many fathers prevent their children from smoking, yet regularly ask them to empty the ashtray?

How many parents teach their children that lying is evil and haraam, yet lie to the teachers of the child when asked to explain why the child was absent?

These are just a few examples, and if we seriously ponder, we will be able to find many more. The point is that many of us are causing our children’s GPS systems to go haywire and malfunction as we input contradictory commands. The children are told to behave in a certain way, but witness the behaviour and values in their very own homes to be the exact opposite. These ‘double-instructions’ result in the child having ‘double-standards’. For instance, he will reach the conclusion that he should never ever lie – unless he is absolutely certain that he can get away with it.

When traversing the dark sections of the path – the sections that are filled with fitnah and in which evil invites from every corner – how will my child’s GPS perform? Will it guide him to safety, or will it plunge him into the pits of ruin and destruction?

To a great extent, the choice is ours. Before it’s too late, update the GPS system by doing a daily download of ta’leem in the home and erasing all viruses and malware threats (sins and evils) from our own lives.