This past Eid-ul-Adha we attended a potluck dinner at my cousin’s house. It is so different going to these dinners now that I am a wife and mother. Everything that I used to look at so carelessly is now scrutinized in my head as the thing to do or not to do with my own family. When I attended these dinners before I used to just play with the kids and not really care whether I taught them anything or how anything I said could be perceived. In other words I didn’t really look into my actions as having any influence on the minds of young impressionable children. Now I realize everything I do can and does have an impact on them. I am someone they can potentially look up to..who would’ve thought?! =)
An incident happened at Eid that made me realize the raising of our kids will be so different than how we were raised, because this generation is different both internally and externally (social influences) than the ones our parents or grandparents raised.
At the dinner there was an argument that occurred between the boys and the girls on whose turn it was to play the Wii. The two young boys said it was their turn and of course one of the boys’ sister went to her mother and said “He won’t let us play the Wii, Mommy.” This erupted in a full load argument by the boy explaining how it was their turn to play and the parents trying to frustratingly come up with a solution that would appease both sides of the party.
All this time various thoughts were running in my head. At first I thought “Hmm what am I gonna do when my kids get into this kind of argument,” then it went to “why are they so interested in playing a game when they have all these kids around them they can play with?” This last thought gave me an idea.
At this time the girls were kind of bored and waiting their turn to play the Wii (yes the boys had gotten their turn first!), so I said to one of the girls “Aisha (name has been changed) you want to play a game with me?” Her eyes lit up and she said “yeah I want to play” and soon the other girl came to join her as well. So we played a game that my sisters and I used to play, back when there was no Wii, no toys and just us and our imagination to entertain us (I’m not that old, we just never grew up around toys or video games!). As I started playing this simple game, the girls were giggling with excitement and when I finished they wanted to do one more round. And in the process of it all, they had forgotten all about the Wii. After the game one of the girl’s mother asked her to do something and at first she said no but then when I urged her she said “okay.” This caught me by surprise for she usually doesn’t listen to me but I realized that playing the game with her had won her respect. Respect that translated into listening to what I told her.
In this was my big parenting lesson, a lesson I heard numerous lectures on but one that really made an impact as I saw it unfold in front of my eyes. It is not enough for our kids to respect and listen to us just because we are their parents. We have to go one step further and that is the step of befriending our children. Playing with them when they are bored like we played with our siblings as children. This creates a bond of friendship which will inshaAllah translate into our children coming to us for solutions to their most personal problems instead of going to their non-Muslim friends for advice.
This was my way of wishing our readers a very late Eid Mubarak. Our Eid day events consisted of the Eid prayer, my son in a suit for the first time, baking three batches of peanut butter blondies the day before, lunch, sleep, visiting dad’s family, giving Eid goodie bags to kids and of course this potluck dinner. We hope you all enjoyed your Eid as well!