A few weeks ago I was sitting on the plane on the way to visit my family. Seated beside me were my two extremely excited children. As I buckled them in and said our prayers for travel, I looked across the aisle and saw a family very much like my own. There was a mother and a father and a little girl. Being very much like my own, I also saw the revered cup of Starbucks coffee. I’m not sure if anyone has noticed, but 9 times out of 10, that cup is usually found empty. I guess the second we get hold of a cup of natural energy we use up all that energy to drink it as fast as possible!
Have you ever tried to get down on your hands and knees and play pretend with a child? Now you will need a couple cups of coffee before you do this…or exercise and a healthy heart…or even better, both! When I mean on your hands and knees I literally mean it…get down and look into their eyes…and you will see something amazing happening. In those little eyes you will see a person grow an imagination far beyond your own, and pull you in simultaneously! Now, look into a child’s eyes after being yelled at or abused. With those same X-Men/mutant powers, that same child has the capability to suck you into those emotions just as easily as if you were at playtime with him/her. Sometimes we need to put ourselves in the place of a child that is being mistreated and try to understand the inner workings of that innocent, curious mind. Misbehaving is not something that they want to do, they do it for a reason. Once you figure out that reason you realize what you have neglected to do for that child; be it the need to pay more attention or even paying too much attention. No child deserves to be mistreated.
As Muslims, we try to use the life of Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon him-pbuh) as our example. In dealing with the most important people in society, our children, we should also try to use his life (pbuh) as our template. There is nothing in the records of Islamic history that ever mentioned him (pbuh) mistreating or abusing a child. The best of us are the ones that are the best to our families.
The patience and love that you feel for your child flows through you like water. I am saying with full faith that this is the truth, because I have lived it. Children feel your anguish; they feel your anger and rage…these are emotions that are too readily available in our hectic lives. Emotions of love, patience and kindness are harder to come by and are so readily taken in. Negligence and laziness are also absorbed through their little souls. They know and feel a lot more than we give them credit for.
A person cannot be named a mother or a father merely through the acts of procreation and delivery of another human being. A mother and a father are made parents through the acts of PARENTING! Children are a beautiful gift from God. We learn so much from them, we learn so much with them, and we learn so much through them. We learn patience, mercy and love. And last but not least we learn the beauty of quiet time and rest. We take a lot for granted in our lives, parenthood should not be one of those things.
I am learning as I go but as a mother, I repeatedly clean things 2, 3, or even 4 times over because no matter what I do to keep things clean…they’ll get dirty again. I used to get frustrated with doing things over and over again, but after 2 kids I have come to the conclusion that it doesn’t really matter if I have to keep doing it…because it has to be done by someone anyway. My logic is…if it gets dirty again…there must be a reason…it might not have been entirely clean the first 3 times I cleaned it and God is protecting us from something harmful…lol. It helps me keep my patience. If something breaks…my logic is…it was bound to break anyway, I’m just thankful no one got hurt. Taking little events like this one step at a time makes these tiny challenges much easier on everyone involved. A lot of times adults blow things out of proportion, especially with little ones. Cleaning the same things over and over again is not ideal, but it has to be done sometimes. If not for anything, it’s to teach a child the importance of cleanliness and responsibility. Children are walking talking sponges, the way we treat them and interact with them will last them a lifetime.
Life is full of trials, both good and bad. These are just my musings with dealing with the biggest and greatest bequest from God. When patience is lost, call to the One that is the Patient and ask for Patience (Ya Saboor sabirnee)…He will give you patience and help you through the hard times. Try to get your kids to say the same thing, especially when they are acting up…you will be surprised by the magic that takes place within a few seconds. Calm will surround you and quiet will seep through, I can almost promise it…if it doesn’t…try again.
There is a reason for everything in this life, we just have to do the best with what we have and be happy. Life’s too short for anything else.