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Category Archives: Parenting Tricks

Of Life and Question Papers

I always had some trouble explaining other people’s weaknesses in practicing Islam to my children. Not to say that our practice is exceptional or something, but when the girls noticed lackings around them, they would unfailingly and earnestly question. It’s hard to keep a balance in these situations. Obviously, you can’t say that they’re bad people, but surely you can’t either approve of what wrong behaviour / appearance you’re seeing. We tried using the term ‘Weak Muslim’ but that didn’t sit well either – who are we to judge who is weak and who is strong? Moreover if you label someone weak, you’re unconsciously labeling yourself ‘strong’ and that brings in the element of Kibr (pride) in the heart – a deadly disease. A grain of Kibr may stop you from earning Jannah!

So the best thing is to say that the behaviour in question is wrong and that we make dua for the person’s guidance.

The analogy of the exam question paper and our lives struck me recently and it helped me in explaining such situations to my children.

When we see a lacking on the part of a fellow Muslim, a relative or a friend, we may think that they’re presently doing poor in that particular aspect of life. Their score on that question may be low, but we don’t know what is their score on the other questions of their exam paper. And we certainly don’t know what is their overall score in the eyes of the Examiner. We should not rank them on the output of a particular question, and who are we to rank in the first place? We should not compare our score with them, especially on selected questions. There may be several questions where our score is lower than them! And when it comes to the Grand Total, nobody can judge if even we will pass or not, so how can we say anything about them!

The Grand Total of the other person may very well turn out to be higher than us, despite their low performance on a particular question of life. Their set of questions are different from ours. It’s a customized exam for everyone. And they may have performed very high on questions that we don’t know of!

Oh Allah, please give me at least 33/100 out of Your sheer Mercy and save me from the blazing fire.

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Posted by on July 7, 2013 in Parenting Tricks

 

Parenting confusions

At first we teach them to talk and then we tell them to ‘keep quiet’.

At first we teach them to walk, run and jump and then we tell them to sit and think.

At first we teach them to ‘look at that!’ and then we tell them to lower their gaze.

At first we teach them to shake hands with everyone and then we restrict them.

At first we teach them vanity: “see how pretty you look in this”, and then we expect them not to give importance to looks.

At first we tempt and even force them to ‘eat’, then we tell them to be moderate with food.

At first we become thankful that they’re finally sleeping, then we expect them to wake up on the first call.

Strange indeed we parents are, aren’t we? 🙂

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2013 in Parenting Tricks

 

The First ‘No’

I grew up in an environment where manners were given a big emphasis. I saw my Nani (grandmother) inculcating basic manners in children even before they could speak. The first thing that she taught any child was “Don’t look at ‘parai cheez'” (Eyes off others’ stuff). She would ask the child “parai cheez?” and teach the child to move her head in a NO. Now when I look at it deeply, it is such a valuable lesson for life. This single thing can teach you contentment, controlling your greed, controlling your ‘desires’, not being jealous of others, being thankful for what you have – big lessons learnt from the first, simple NO. It is as if she taught us to say NO to the world and its temptations as soon as we opened eyes! And why she began with food? … because IT IS the FIRST temptation for a child!
May Allah have mercy on her and grant her Jannatul Firdaus. May Allah increase her Hasanat for every word of Quran that I read, as she was the one who taught me to read Quran. May Allah give her the share from all of the good that I am able to do and increase her levels in Jannah, as promised for the dua by the children made for their parents, Ameen.

SubhanAllah, simple ways of the old times and what great benefits they had! It’s probably only now that I am analysing the ‘hidden agenda’ of that first teaching, but I did teach my kids the same things from the start. It really puts me off if a kid behaves in a greedy way towards anything (food or toys etc), because it shows that he/she has not been taught the basic manner of controlling his/her self. Or may be the mom is not making an effort to provide her children with what they like, so that they can behave in a contented way when they see something of their liking.

So, following in my grandma’s footsteps, the FIRST thing I would list in good manners (strange as it may sound) is teaching the child how to behave towards food, specially if they are at someone’s else place. Some people may think it is Riya, but it is not. Children have to be taught how to behave well in other people’s house or in other’s presence because they are affecting other people who may not be ready to tolerate rudeness, greed etc. And it is incumbent upon us as Muslims to ensure that other people are not hurt because of our behavior, both emotionally and physically. In your own family / house things may be more open and there are stronger ties due to which family members will have more tolerance for each other. They may respond more openly, while others may have to reserve their responses due to many factors. Secondly, when in a group, the children must also learn how to share with others and sacrifice for others, so they must be taught to control their desires even more when people are around. So we must teach our children not to mess up anything in people’s houses, not to be loud or rude and not to attack on food.

I know there is this ‘modern’ concept of parenting which advises you to ‘let children do’ whatever they want to and just be good role-models, but it really offends me. I think just being a role-model is not enough. You should correct the child in different ways, mostly politely yes, but strictly also at times so that they understand the importance of manners. Timely response to children’s mistakes is extremely important in correcting their behavior. I’m not saying that I expect 3-4 year-olds showing exemplary manners, it is their training period – but if a 7+ child has no idea about the basic manners then surely the mother has made a big mistake in Tarbiyah.

Things may not turn out perfect but I try to ensure that my kids:

  • Don’t speak loudly or rudely.
  • Don’t mess up with anything / dirty or break anything / leave things un-arranged etc
  • Control the amount of food they eat and HOW they eat it.
  • Don’t interrupt an elder while speaking.
  • Give preference to elder people and other kids in seating / eating etc
  • Don’t look at anyone’s things without permission.
  • Don’t wander about in anyone’s house, only go to rooms where the host takes them.
 

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The Rivers of DooDoo

Tapping into Hanaa’s ‘passion’ of DooDoo, we’re now using it as a tool to instill into her the love of Jannah. She is simply fascinated by the idea of having ‘a personal river of doodoo’ which will be much yummier than this world’s doodoo and will be NeVeReNdInG! Her 4 yr old mind can think of amazing ways of utilising this river to her heart’s content. Her most favourite way is ‘filling a BIG bottle directly from the river and drink and drink and drink’. On her wishlist is also: a fountain of doodoo, doodoo rain and  a super giant bottle!

Ba the Robot is maximising the opportunity and the doodoo ritual has become a special customised event now. It goes like this:

Hanaa orders doodoo by writing a message to Ba the Robot.

To: Ba the Robot.
From: Hanaa.
Brng DOODOO (aftr you eat or wen you wak up).
Sian on bak
OK / NO OK

Ba the Robot chooses option OK and serves.

But he is a special robot “who only provides service to Bichas who are working hard for their doodoo river in Jannah”. So Ba the Robot asks “what exactly is Hanaa doing to get her river of doodoo”. Hanaa very excitedly tells that “she is working hard by reciting La Ilaha illalah many times before sleeping and on waking up and saying Bismillah before she starts eating and saying Alhamdulillah after eating and saying Subhan Allah many times and behaving well with her sisters”. After that she has to select from many options of service like “slow (salowly, salowly), normal, fast and extra fast” on the Robot and finally get the bottle 🙂

The amount of patience and enthusiasm on behalf of Ba the Robot is amazing Alhamdulillah. Ma has requested Hanaa to give her a a share from her river when she gets it in sha Allah and Hanaa has eagerly agreed.

Rivers of Doodoo….we wait for you!