By Ruhaifa Adil
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
It’s that time of the year again! The new school year is about to begin, and parents and kids alike look forward to the end of vacations. Since the kids spend a substantial amount of their day at school, parents make sure that they have everything that would make their day easier. New school bags, lunchboxes, water bottles, and stationary are all bought for the children and parents make sure no leaf is left unturned in providing for their comfort.
While parents tend to the material comforts of their children, they also need to make sure that their children are equipped with the right social, emotional, and religious values before they head back to school. It is these values that will actually make their sojourn through school much more comfortable and valuable than any material object the parents can provide.
Here are five things that you need to teach your children before they go to school this year:
1. Respect their pens and books
Qalam is the Arabic word for pen, the instrument with which we write. Allah has sworn oaths by the Qalam in the Quran. It is indeed Allah’s mercy that He has given us the power to write, for if it was not so, we would have been unable to share knowledge through books and written/ printed material.
Teach your children to respect the books and stationary you have bought for them. Tell them not to throw their books, step on them, or stuff them untidily in their bags. Teach them to not chew on their pencils or to toss their pencils at each other. Knowledge is a gift from Allah and is the very thing that stood Adam (as) apart from the angels and Jinns. We need to not only revere knowledge but also respect the tools that provide it to us. Explain to them that there are countless children around the world who are devoid of this blessing and since Allah has chosen them for this opportunity, they must respect everything that is associated with it.
2. Respect their teachers
Children spend a huge part of the day with their teachers. At times, children spend more time in schools with their teachers than at home with their parents. Islam has laid a lot importance on education and has declared its acquisition compulsory for every Muslim. The status of teachers in Islam is very high because they are the ones who impart knowledge. The Sahaba (Companions) used to respect their teachers immensely, and the fourth Caliph Ali (ra) is reported to have said, “The one who taught me a single word, made me his salve.”
Before your kids head off to school, teach them to respect their teachers and to not judge them for their accents, their clothing, or their mistakes. Tell them to not make fun of their teachers behind their backs with their friends. Mimicking teachers, laughing at them, and disobeying them are not among the etiquettes of being a student. Explain to your children that even if they find their teachers different or odd, they must remember that they are the imparters of knowledge, and they have a wealth which is far more valuable than any worldly treasure.
3. Be kind
The best thing you could possible teach your children before they go to school is to be kind. Children will meet all types of people, some of whom will test their patience and others who will be mean to them. Teach them to be kind to everyone, regardless of how they treat them back. Tell them to never fall into the trap of backbiting, slandering, or hurting others. If they can control their tongue, very soon others will reciprocate the kindness as kindness never goes unnoticed.
4. Smile and greet
Smiling is a Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (sa). A smile can brighten anyone’s day. Teach your children to smile and say Salaam (greetings of peace) to everyone they meet, even if they don’t know them. This will automatically create positivity around your child, endear him to others, and open up gates of friendship and opportunity that cannot be paralleled. Ask them to make the effort, since it isn’t always easy to do so, and let them see the results for themselves.
5. Begin with the name of Allah
Advise your children to begin everything with the name of Allah. Taking Allah’s name before any task not only adds His blessings in that work, but also aligns one’s intention to be for Allah’s sake, thus automatically making it a form of worship. Whether it is opening a book, eating their snack, or starting a test, teach them to take Allah’s name before they do it.
Ruhaifa Adil is a mother of four, a practising Muslimah, an avid reader, and a passionate writer. She works primarily as a trainer for mothers and teachers, advocating a multi sensorial, learner-centred approach, which she has learnt through her work as a remedial specialist for children with dyslexia. She is also an author of English textbooks, based on the teachings of the Qur’an (currently under editing), and creative director of a Tafseer app for kids (soon to be launched Insha’Allah).
© IIPH 2015