So, it turns out that this parenting thing is never-ending. We don’t get to take a break from it. I mean, yeah we get to hide in our rooms and eat candy or watch shows after the kids go to bed, but not a real break. We don’t get to say, “okay done. No more training for some time. No more teaching them things. They will learn whatever lesson from this event, and I don’t much care.”
Life of a parent, right? If only we had this much cowardliness in us to think something like that, and sleep peacefully through the night.
Gosh, it takes me so long to get to my point, doesn’t it? Anyway, Ramadan is upon us. The most blessed month for us. In this month I feel the most guilt. There are many reasons for that. Some I have discussed before. Some I’ll discuss in the future I’m sure. One of them is my kids. They are young. You see all these pictures on Facebook, and Instagram of decorated houses and Ramadan related projects, and I wonder HOW do you get your little tiny child to do that? Did you sit, and do this project with them? Because I can’t convince them to write a simple sentence let alone do a huge Arts and Crafts project on command. They know what month it is. They know what it means. We talk about it every day. We do Iftar (breaking the fast) together. However, we have not decorated the house. We have not had lengthy lectures. It’s the same old, same old in our house: the kids wake up, they get ready for school, go to school, come home, play, fight, eat, play, fight some more, have Iftar, talk about stuff, eat, sleep. That’s really all. The only difference in their routine is the time we sit down to break the fast. We pray, eat, talk. Sometimes they help me prepare the food we are going to eat. That’s also our time to discuss the month. What it means, why it’s special, and why we need to do special things during this month.
These days we’re taking kindness out for a spin. Wherever you go, spread kindness. I keep reminding them. We shall see the results.
I was feeling disappointed in my efforts as a mom, as a Muslim mom specifically who is supposed to help her kids learn. I had started to think what good are these deeds of the week even? They are tiny little boys. How much difference are they really making? What am I changing in their lives? Pretty disappointed in myself, and to be honest even in my children. I know we are always supposed to say that we are proud of our kids but let’s be honest, there are times that we are not. Mostly those are our own shortcomings. It’s easier to make it about them. Also, I was very tired. Every tired parent is disappointed and upset at their children.
That night I was leaving one of my kids’ room when I saw this on his board.
It’s a card for Ramadan, welcoming Ramadan. They both made one. They were waiting for me to help them write ”Welcome Ramadan”. Changes so much. A small thing changes so much.
I wanted to know more. This was not a talk I was having with them. This was a talk they were having with me. They told me everything that was fun about this month and decided to write it on the back of the card.
Decorations were never the point. Arts and crafts were never the point either. I’m never going to be that kind of parent. I can provide the supplies but actually making or doing these things is not really my style.
When it comes to caring about religion or even people and events, in general, I don’t believe in relying on decorations and projects to get children excited. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that method. If that is what works for a family, that’s great. In fact, I’m not above trying new and different things myself. I might have tried something like it myself if I had not seen the connection I saw.
What I saw was that the connection was there because the kids saw it in us. Sometimes one of them wakes up in the middle of the night and comes looking for us, he asks why we are up, praying in the middle of the night. I explain. They see the differences without the differences being shoved in their faces. They make that connection without us forcing it on them. When it comes naturally it’s a much more beautiful thing. When they run to hear the adhaan so they can sit down together with us and make duaa (prayer) that is so much better than if I was having to put up things they could see and touch and were beautiful to look at. After all, we are asking them to believe in something that can’t be seen and touched. This whole month, everything surrounding it is about believing, and having faith in that which is not tangible. When that faith is blossoming young it is a beautiful thing.
Now, I am not feeling so bad about myself because I see that something has been stirred inside them. And I don’t shy away from taking credit for bringing out the beauty of our world.