in yesterdays post about “planting a seed of meditation and inner communion in our children“, we received first insides how to help our children cultivate an inner relationship with their higher self. Today we learn how to put meaning and mindfulness into the process of daily practice. And please remember how easy it is to turn everyday life activities into meditation by adding mindful awareness to them!! Enjoy the insides and tips!
Blessings and lots of success!
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Teaching our children and teenagers to perform obligatory prayers, is a delicate and often stressful matter for families. What is the divine guidance on the matter? When and how is it best done? Parenting expert Hina Khan-Mukhtar sheds some light.
3) “If it was good enough for the Prophet, it’s good enough for me.”
When I asked Shaan why he is committed to his prayers, he said, “It was the last thing the Prophet (salallaahu alaihi wasallam) told us to hold onto; he was talking about it right up until the point he passed away. How can we ignore that? How important must prayer be if he (peace be upon him) was reminding us about it even with his last breaths?” They learned that missing a prayer just isn’t an option for anyone who has taqwa (God-consciousness).
4) Teach them what they’re saying, what they’re doing, and why.
Prayer should not be allowed to become a series of robotic yoga-like motions devoid of meaning or purpose. Zeeshan and I have been forthright with our kids and confessed to them that there will be times when prayer might feel like an inconvenient, rote duty that just needs to be discharged — and they may find themselves feeling disillusioned and disheartened when those thoughts come to them — but, nevertheless, the prayer is never to be abandoned.
We have made sure to make it clear to the kids, however, that God is not in any need of our prayers or our praise or our prostrations; on the contrary, it is we who are in need of Him. We have also emphasized that none of us should ever feel self-righteous or holier-than-thou about the fact that we are choosing to pray when others are not. “We need prayer; it’s like taking medicine that the Doctor prescribes,” I tell the boys. “Would any of us go around bragging about taking meds or look down on others because they aren’t taking the prescription that we’ve chosen to take for our own health?”We all know that you are only as good as the company you keep, and being in an environment where prayer is as natural as eating or drinking just helps create a new type of “normal” for the kids. My boys have grown up seeing not only their parents and their friends praying in congregation but seeing their parents’ friends and friends’ parents giving significance to prayer.
Teaching our children about the Isra and Mi’raj (Night Journey and Ascension) has been instrumental in getting them to understand how the prayer was revealed and what the different parts of the prayer mean to us on a spiritual level. The position of ruku (bowing) is compared to the way one would bow in front of a king. In the humbling position of sajdah (prostration), we point out how that is the only position in which the human heart is elevated over the human brain. It is the heart that truly knows God; it is the heart that truly recognizes Him.” The prayer will suddenly have relevance for them.
Finally, it’s really important to talk to the kids about intention. One of my favorite quotes that I like to share with the boys is a comparison of worshipers of three types — the first is the worshiper who worships out of desire for Heaven (he is like the businessman looking only for a profit); the second is the worshiper who worships out of fear of the Hell-fire (he is like the slave who wants only to avoid punishment); and the third is the worshiper who worships out of gratitude because he recognizes that Allah is worthy of worship (he is the truly free man).
“Which one are you?” we ask our sons…and then we leave them to reflect.
And we reflect on ourselves as well.
5) Set them up for success.
We recently invested quite a bit of money in some high quality khuffs (waterproof socks) for him so that he wouldn’t have to deal with the inconvenience of having to stick his foot in the sink while making wudu in the boys’ restroom at his high school. He can just wipe over his khuffs during school hours now. On Shaan’s first day as a freshman, his father and I helped him come up with talking points so that he could approach the principal with confidence when he requested a private space for prayer; we promised to have his back if he ran into any resistance.
Our “support” turned out to be unnecessary however. It’s been three years now, alhamdulillah, and the high school front office staff knows Shaan really well — he’s the kid who comes in every day during lunch to go to the conference room to pray.While all of these gadgets and gizmos may be great to have around for convenience’s sake, the kids understand that they will have to make do for prayer — one way or the other — whether they have their prayer packs on hand or not. “Guard your prayer” is the mantra in our home.
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