Chronicles of a Busy Mom - Do it with Ihsan...
Daddy, daddy see "mo so Bismillah"(I said Bismillah) the twins are talking over each other trying to get their dads attention, my 7 year old also jumps in, "I also said Bismillah" this is at the start of eating chocolate. Of course, in the usual fashion with our high attention seeking kids my husband jumped into acting mode.
"You said Bismillah? (in a comical fashion) "Oya high five" they each got a high five and were pleased with their accomplishments.
A few weeks ago, my 7-year-old had come up to me excited to let me know he put their toys away with "Ihsan" (excellence). He has his usual daily chores at home which includes closing the blinds at night and helping clean up the toys from the floor. As a normal 7-year-old he likes to finish his chores in a hurry and return to playing. My husband and I make it a point to remind him to do his chores well most of the time, sometimes having him re-do it if need be.
We remind him that as a Muslim he should always strive to do things with Ihsan.
"What is Ihsan? He likes to ask over and over and we try to repeat ourselves, explaining the meaning of Ihsan sometimes bordering on annoyance having to repeat the same thing repeatedly. Sometimes I'm exhausted and I don't have the energy to explain, so I just tell him to leave the chore and I just complete it myself. But interestingly kids are listening and watching everything we do even when they appear not to be.
That evening when I followed him to look at the toy arrangements it was beautifully arranged, the best I have seen of him. My first intuition as a "yoruba mom" is to say " so you understand what we've been saying all along and you'll keep asking what is Ihsan" (lol...) but I held myself back and jumped into our family dramatic tradition to celebrate our kids successes and positive behavior. I danced and gave him high fives and kisses and his face lit up feeling fulfilled like he had accomplished the best task.
Kids listen, they watch our every move. We need to be mindful of what we say around them and the examples we portray in front of them. I will be honest; it is not always easy. There are times I am overwhelmed and exhausted from work, life and the last thing I need is kids asking "but why" ? but it does take hard work and commitment for us to remain consistent in our values, reminding ourselves of our long-term goal of raising righteous well-grounded Muslim kids.
Kids love attention and if they do not get attention from positive behaviors, they'll try to get it in other ways even if it is from negative behaviors and tantrums leading to us shouting and a cycle that just repeats itself. (In the eyes of a kid, attention is attention whether it be for good or bad behavior). It is also helpful to have candid conversations with the co parent on ways we want our kids to be raised so you're both on the same page and you're both modelling similar behaviors around the kids.
Most importantly after doing our best (tying our camel) we will still need to put our trust in Allah who is Al-Wakil(The trustee) trusting that he'll bless our hustle.
Afterall Allah is sufficient for us and in him we put our trust.
Umm Zayd is a Paediatrician who is happily married with 3 boys. She loves to help children and adults alike and believes in learning through shared struggles and experiences, especially with respect to motherhood. She is also passionate about positive parenting, letting go of the idea of perfection and learning to embrace joy in our everyday lives.
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