Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What I learn 'by following their dreams, not mine..'

Supporting your children's interests is important. The key words were made bold. It should be their interest, and NOT ours. Many times I have seen parents had fallen into the traps of forcing promoting their children into activities that the children didn't enjoy.

It is important as parents, to notice what our children enjoy by paying attention and observing what makes them smile and laugh, and sometimes imitating it in front of the mirror. My husband and I frequently discussed ways for our children to explore their interest and ways to help them learn through and about their interest. Books and encyclopedia were explored and Al Fateh realised that books are fantastic tools to learn more about his interest, and google search as well! (You go, boy!! =D)

For six year old Al Fateh, he has memorised most of the tennis players while we watched the OZ/US/French Open & Wimbeldon tournaments, imitating their grunts and moves during play time. We brought him to the uni's tennis court several times and had a bit of fun hitting some balls. My husband admitted that he has strong ball sense and good strong strokes for a boy his age. With Allah's will, we met Kak Raihan, a colleague of mine, who's son was playing on the court next to ours, and she advised us to send him (AF) to a professional coach. 

Hence, during the car ride home, we asked Al Fateh to think about whether he wants to pursue his interest with a proper coach. We purposely asked him to decide since we believe that he's old enough (at six) to know his own likes/dislikes (and at he wont blame us for sending him to places he has no interest in, later!). I believe, by asking him to think rationally, it will make him realise that the ball is in his court, and we don't mind if he says 'No'. We told him all the details he needs to rationalised, i.e the place, time, day, what will the others do when he's playing, other positive outcomes by leading healthy lifestyle, etc.

He agreed.

The next week, we went to the tennis complex in Kuala Terengganu for his first training with a 'real' coach. Alhamdulillah, he enjoyed himself.. even up until now.
AF first day with Coach Marzuki.

What I learn from  following Al Fateh's dream;
  1. Pay attention and observe your children's interests.
  2. Nurture them by asking questions and explore more of their interest. How?
    • By reading related books (with loads of pix for children) and encyclopedias (and silently developing their interests in books!)
    • Explore the interest hands-on... (they'll love you for it!)
  3. Do not be pushy. Let them decide to pursue it or not. But before deciding, discuss and rationalise the decision. You are (silently) teaching your child critical thinking skill.

May Allah enriches us with more ideas (ilham) and skills in educating our children to be strong and intelligent caliphs.. amin. 


Monday, January 16, 2012

What I learn from 'Al Fateh's last day on Iqra''

Al Fateh managed to complete his Iqra at the age of 5, alhamdulillah. 

We also thank Allah for bestowing us patients and determination in setting a good role model amongst Al Fateh's siblings.Yes, there are some days when he really test our patients to the core - not being serious and more interested in doing something else. But as parents, the need to set a straight forward rule is essential. And we have to stick to it, however cheeky a child can be.

Kids needs routine, kids love routine. Al Fateh knew that he has his practices of Iqra' after maghrib (almost) daily.

During Majlis Khatam Quran Negeri Terengganu, October, 2011.

But I must admit, the issue has a deeper root than that.

The need for young adults to understand the importance to find a wife/husband who has (good and in-depth) knowledge of Islam, and put a minimum requirement for him/her to at least pray 5 times a day and can recite the Quran well. Having a husband who is well versed had strongly assisted the teaching process for Al Fateh, alhamdulillah, since there were days when the younger kids tended to be cranky.

It's important so that we, as ladies will be very sure that our lives (and the children's) will always be in the path of Allah. Once you've put that requirement, it's crucial that you have to match it too! And be sure, that Allah has promised that 'And good women (are) for good men, and good men (are) for good women. [Quran 24:26]

We, as parents, however busy we are with our lives and career, we need to find time to fulfill our duties towards our kids. We always remind ourselves that we will be held accountable for this trust on the Day of Judgment. We, as parents, are essentially responsible for the moral, ethical and the basic and essential religious teachings of their children. I remembered in one of our sisters' gathering when this hadith of Rasulullah s.a.w. was told, it gave me shivers:
"Take care! Each of you is a shepherd and each of you shall be asked concerning his flock; a leader is a shepherd of his people, and he shall be asked concerning his flock; and a man is a shepherd of the people of his house, and he shall be asked concerning his flock; and a woman is a shepherd of the house of her husband and over their children, and she shall be asked concerning them.” [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim] 
From Al Fateh's Iqra' journey, I learned that as a mother, I must always be aware that I am serving as a role model in my behavior, and my attitudes. Every mother should be conscious of her role and do her best to make it beneficial for the development of her children as they set out on the journey of life. And it all starts from home.
Another lesson learned is that we can and should teach our own child! YES, WE CAN! Especially the basics of reading. Just imagine how much good deeds we would collect when our children start to read the Quran and other books or media. We ourselves, with our own hands, have taught them each and every single letter. Masha Allah. May Allah fosters determination and patients for us to teach our own, aamin.

  p/s: Ya Allah, please give me the same strength in teaching Alwani, Yusuf, Fawwaz & Uwais on how to read! Aamin. 
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