Ideas such as liberalism and freedom we see are cornerstone in Western society, people live by them, politicians and the media advocate them. These values, are the values which are said to make people happy and content - People have the freedom to eat, dress, live and worship whatever and whoever they want, as long as they do not directly harm anyone else. We are all individuals in this society who have the freedom to live however we want to. These values have not only be thoroughly adopted here, but have been exported to the Muslim world as the values which should be adopted if those societies wish to progress.
However, there is a big but, the but, which whilst everyone has been busy being in the relationships they want, and walking when they want, being in the job they want and career they want to trying to have all the material things they want; has been silently festering away. The but of the impact of continually self-indulging behaviour.
It is true capitalist systems view their societies in this way and recognise them as being made up of a group of individuals. The reality is however, we don't live in isolation, we live as human beings in communities, come from families and build friends. Our actions not only impact our own selves, but impact those around us. And this could not be more true for anyone than our own children.
The Prophet SAW narrated in a hadith that for the woman, looking after her husband's home and children, is not only rewardable but the weight of this work equates with the work of the men who march forth eager to sacrifice their lives for the sake of Islam. Allah SWT knows the needs of our children and he has thus laid out for us the priority we should hold in securing their needs. He has set out the whole female sex, the mothers, as prioritising the upbringing of children as their primary role. The neverending greed and desires of adults, can never be the basis upon which we decide how to bring up our next generation, as we have seen in this society, if it is; they will always be put second after careers, the latest romance and wanting to have fun.
This report has surfaced the ugly realisation that the grossly individualistic culture that is engulfing British society, is damaging the wellbeing of the next generation. Although the report makes a series of recommendations such as civil birth ceremonies to attempt to combat this ailing culture for our children, nothing recommended actually begins to tackle the real problem at bay here. Giving parents better access to information and trying to curb commercial advertising to children may help the situation, but at the end of the day as long as parents in society believe in freedom and individualism, the danger of individual needs and desires dictating the way family lives are led, will always be. I'm not saying here that everyone in British society are gluttonous ineffective parents, but that the values upheld in society are conducive to adult behaviour which puts oneself first knowingly or unknowingly. We may not all be like parents of Baby P, but unless we have a yardstick and measure with which to judge our actions by and guide us, how do we know whether we are really meeting the needs of those we are responsible for?
The report recommends that our selfish adult behaviour has to stop. But I say, why blame the people who are simply living by the norms of the society and system which propagates them? Rather it is not the average parent we should really be blaming for this particular lifestyle people lead, but we should be looking at the society and values which promote and uphold such ideas of putting oneself continually first. Thus the release of this report has reinforced the need of an alternative system for us to live by which promotes a whole new set of values, not just prioritising the accumulation of capital and wealth, leaving society to rot. A system with values which allows the Creator who created us from nothing to dictate how we manage our relationships, is integral now if we want harmonious and secure family relationships to return to the face of this earth.