- Don’t you get bored being a stay-at-home mum?
- So … what do you do all day? (see above)
- I think Bear is not getting enough milk… try giving her just a little formula.
- Don’t you think it’s time to send Marz to school?
- But… IT’S OUR CULTURE! (If you speak Malay: Tapi… INI BUDAYA KITA!)
- Don’t you think mothers need to be qualified to teach their kids at home?
- But this is the latest fashion!
- But that’s not in fashion!
- So … what do you do all day? (oh wait… I’ve already said that!)
I heard a thudding sound while I was making wudhu for `Asr prayer. Concerned that it would wake Bear up, I rushed out. I saw Marz sitting on her stool, thumping a heavy baseball bat on the floor.
I was about to scold her when she said in a somewhat pre-occupied way, “You know what Ummi?”
“If I met Fir`awn, I would CLUB him with this baseball bat!”
Alright… carry on then!
If ONE more person says “In shaa Allah” when they really mean “I don’t give a toss about your invitation and won’t go unless wild dogs force me”, I think I will really lose it.
One of the most challenging things about being a trying-to-homeschool stay-at-home mum is managing time effectively. Now that Bear has arrived, I’ve had to stretch myself a little and be a whole lot more creative.
One thing I have learnt to do is to be on the look out for and capitalise on teachable moments. These are often unplanned events that open the door to meaningful discussions. They may reinforce what the child has already learnt or spark off new ideas. The nice thing about these spontaneous learning moments is that they provide a context or real life example for the child so the lesson will leave a lasting impression.
My husband’s varsity mate came to Islamabad for a visit, accompanied by his wife Sameera and 2-year-old daughter Rania. They were such lively folks that we had lot of fun and laughs. A lovely change in our routine! Sameera was a delightful character who regaled us with tales of her escapades in Texas – like a mishap that almost got her hair burnt in a salon. Rania nicknamed my daughter “Aloo” upon hearing that this was the only Urdu word Marz knew and the two shared messy Nutella sandwiches.
They came to see us one last time on the way to the airport before flying home. We shared a few minutes with them mostly talking about how sorry we were that time seemed so short. Just before leaving, Sameera asked for a small favour. She said that her daughter, who was a picky eater, had refused most of her meals that day. She asked if we could make her a Nutella sandwich again.
I rushed to the kitchen and began preparing the sandwich, chuckling as I went about it. ‘Children!’ I thought. ‘The worries they put their mothers through.’ Marz wandered in and asked for a sandwich too. Unfortunately, she was left with the crusty end slices of the loaf, which she disliked – “hard bread” she called them.
I braced myself for a difficult moment… I thought, ‘She is going to insist on the softer slices and I will have a hard time telling her they are for Rania.’ Since I was in a hurry – I didn’t want our guests to be late for their flight – I had to think fast.
Then it hit me… I turned to Mars and told her, “Do you remember what Allah said about how we are to treat our guests?” She nodded and I pressed on, “What are we to do?”
She said, “Honour our guests.”
I then continued, “Do you understand then why we should give Rania the best pieces of bread?”
Alhamdulillah, she understood and a difficult situation was averted. Our guests left happily with their chocolate sandwich and Mars had happy memories of little Rania and how she was able to give her friend a gift.
This is the story that came in so handy during my teachable moment… I hope you enjoy it.
They Honoured Their Guests
Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Hurayrah said, “A man came to the Prophet and said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! Poverty has stuck me.’ The Prophet sent a messenger to his wives (to bring something for that man to eat) but they said that they had nothing.
“Then Allah’s Messenger said, ‘Who will invite this person or entertain him as a guest tonight; may Allah grant His mercy to him who does so.’ An Ansari man said, ‘I, O Allah’s Messenger!’ So he took him to his wife and said to her, ‘Entertain the guest of Allah’s Messenger generously.’ She said, ‘By Allah ! We have nothing except the meal for my children.’ He said, ‘Let your children sleep if they ask for supper. Then turn off the lamp and we go to bed tonight while hungry.’ She did what he asked her to do.”
“In the morning the Ansari went to Allah’s Messenger who said, ‘Allah wondered (favorably) or laughed at the action of so-and-so and his wife.’ Then Allah revealed, ‘and they give them preference over themselves even though they were in need of that.’ (Surah al-Hashr:9)”
Al-Bukhari recorded this Hadith in another part of his Sahih. Muslim, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa’i collected this Hadith.
In another narration for this Hadith, the Companion’s name was mentioned, it was Abu Talhah Al-Ansari, may Allah be pleased with him.
Alhamdulillah, Sister Shamima Rasoolbhoy has allowed me to reproduce some of the stories from her egroup Kids Islamic Stories.
Please note: All stories can be printed and used at home and in classrooms for non-commercial purposes only. This document may be distributed in any form, as long as there is no charge. Please give due credit to the author(s) and Kids Islamic Stories without alteration or omission.
The Mad Fence
a folktale rewritten by Norma Tarazi
Once there was and once there wasn’t, a long time ago, a young boy named Tariq with a VERY bad temper. When his mother called him to get up for school in the morning, he would yell at her, “I’m up! Leave me alone!” even though he had just opened his eyes.
If he wanted spaghetti when his mother made macaroni and cheese, he would get mad at her for not asking him before cooking.
When his little sister accidentally touched his toys he would yell at her. Always. He HATED it when someone touched HIS stuff, especially his sister.
When his friend missed the ball in a soccer game and their team lost, he yelled really bad words and his friend decided not to be friends with him anymore. Well, it WAS all his friend’s fault anyway, and who needs friends!
His father was a sailor and left home often to sail on ships around the world. He wasn’t home a lot. One day, his father came home from a long trip while Tariq was working on a model ship on the table. His father roared out “As salaamu `alaikum, I’m home!” and his mother and little sister came running happily from the back rooms to greet him. A gust of wind from the open door blew down the newly glued mast of Tariq’s model ship. Tariq screamed in rage. “Shut that door! You’ve just ruined my model!”
Tariq’s father, mother, and little sister stared at him in shock. Everyone stayed away from Tariq for a while, while Tariq’s father had coffee and talked with his wife and daughter. There was lots of news of the family to catch up on.
Then, when Tariq’s mother went to start supper, Tariq’s father called him out to the storage shed in the back yard.
“Tariq, see these nails? See this hammer? I want you to take a nail to the back fence and hammer it in, for getting mad about the breeze disturbing your model earlier today. And from now on, I want you to pound in a nail each time you get angry.”
Tariq didn’t understand why he should hammer a nail, but he did as his father ordered. It was hard to hit the nail square on the head, and once he hit his finger instead of the nail. He got mad at the hammer and threw it across the yard. Tariq’s father made him nail in another nail, for throwing the hammer in rage.
The next morning, Tariq was almost late to school because he had to hammer in 5 nails for yelling at his mother, father, and sister for 5 different reasons before breakfast. By the end of the day he had hammered in 37 nails, and he was pretty tired of hammering. He was getting better about not hitting his fingers though.
Day by day, Tariq hammered nails. Why did his father insist on it? Looking at the fence, with its many nails, Tariq was embarrassed by all the proof of his bad deeds.
Some of the kids from school knew about the fence, because he accidentally told them. They called it the “Mad Fence”. They asked many times to come and see it but Tariq wouldn’t show it to them. But little by little, he found that the thought of the fence made it easier to hold his tongue and he gradually began to yell less often, and when he yelled, he was able to stop more quickly.
Then, one evening, he was building a block castle and his sister, who had come over to watch, dropped her stuffed bunny on the blocks, making the whole thing come down. Tariq stood up quickly, took a big breath to yell, and, instead of saying something mad, suddenly burst out, “OK, I’ll get a nail!”
His father came out to the fence as Tariq pounded in the new nail. They talked about how he was pounding in fewer nails now. He had made great progress. He was even starting to have some friends again. Friends were nice to have! That was slow going though, because they remembered how mad he used to get and didn’t trust him yet.
“I’m glad I don’t have to pound so many nails anymore, Dad. Seeing all the nails in the fence is ugly.”
Then his father suggested that Tariq could remove a nail each day that he went all day without losing his temper. Day by day Tariq, looked forward to removing a nail from the fence before Isha prayer. It was often difficult to pull them out and he had to struggle, but it felt good to remove the signs of his bad deeds.
Finally, the day came when he removed the last nail. He called his family to witness the great event. He felt very proud.
His mother was so happy, she kissed him and promised to make his favorite dessert for after supper.
His father, however, said, “You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say, ‘I’m sorry’. The wound is still there. A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one.”
The family stared at the fence solemnly. It was a witness of Tariq’s battle with himself. Then his father hugged him and said, “May you grow to be a strong man, Son.”
The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “The strong is not the one who overcomes people by his strength, but the strong is the one who controls himself while in anger.” (Bukhari)