Wednesday morning. It is a normal homeschooling day for us. I prayed fajr with my two girls, we made zikr and dua. Alhamdulillah, Sumayya loves this morning ritual and most days follows me without being told. Safiyya, my “ants-in-her-pants” 3 year old, on the other hand, doesnt like praying that much at this stage but enjoys making dhikr and dua. She always asks for healthy sweeties and oranges in Jannah that doesnt make her eczema worse, subhanAllah :). Poor child suffered from a bad eczema as a toddler and is not allowed citrus fruit, most sweets and chocolates. May Allah give her and other eczema prone children a complete shifaa, amin.
Anyway, we have breakfast following which we all sit down to do our numeracy and literacy. Safiyya is currently working with phonics, numbers 0-10, counting and simple addition with numbers 0-5. She is also practising independent handwriting. She has a writing workbook where she does lots of tracing, colouring and following the lines. She loves that. But she is not very keen on independent writing. And she keeps moving about during lessons which makes me ANGRY….
I honestly think she suffers from short-attention span. I need advice on how to get a kid more focused without nagging her to finish her work. She loves her workbooks and I can tell she loves learning. But in between doing her work and learning, she does a lot of other things like going to say few words to baby Ibrahim, having some short conversation with grandma or asking me about something completely irrelevant and keeps asking 10 other questions following my response. Are these all normal for 3 year old? I dont know and all I can say is Sumayya was not like her at all when she was 3. I often think “What can I do to make her concentration better?”
Sumayya, on the other hand, doesnt like being interrupted when doing her workbooks. She likes to learn about things in detail and willing to sit longer hours with full concentration on. She gets frustrated when she finds hard to get a new concept. She can read and narrate story books and is improving her handwriting and spelling, alhamdulillah. Yesterday at math we were doing simple equations instead of straightforward addition. That is to solve maths problems such as x+12=20. 6+x=17. She had to find the missing numbers. I asked her to use popsicles. I was instructing her all the way through
“I have x number of popsicles and you have 12. When we join them there are 20 altogether. So, to start with, you should take 20 popsicles from the box. Well, done. Now there are 20 popsicles on the table, good girl. Now how many were you supposed to have. 12, that is right. Now give the rest to me and count how many popsicles do I have in my hand. 8, that is right. Now can see the missing number was 8, 8+12=20. can you work out the next problem yourself?”.
She was trying but she always finds it hard to work out “how many more do you need to make number x” kind of problems. I tried to teach this a couple of months ago and left it when I saw it was a bit high of her level. Now I thought she might find it easier but she was still finding it hard and getting frustrated. She doesnt like if I keep telling her what to do. She likes doing things independently, “without being told” she says. So I kept silent and she kept getting the wrong answers. There were about 20 equation problems like the ones above. I was so impatient at the end. May Allah help us and guide us all through this ‘angry’ moments.
So, I was sat writing my diary after we finished our lessons. I asked both of the girls if they liked the lessons to which they always reply “Yes, mommy, we liked it very much”. But then Sumayya adds “Only I dont like when you shout at me”. To which Safiyya quickly adds “I dont want to hear shouting words coming out of your mouth” lol. Direct translation from Uzbek ‘Og’zizdan unaqa baqirgan gaplar chiqmasin, undey gaplarni eshitgim kelmayapti’ :D. She makes me and mom-in-law laugh so much.
So, I wrote down in my diary in capital letters “PATIENCE- I ONLY NEED TO BE MORE PATIENT”
Indeed, ‘Sabran Jameelan’ or ‘Beautiful Patience’ is a quality required my most mums, regardless of whether one homeschools or not. I always try to remember the hadith of the prophet s.a.w where he said “Anger comes from the Shaytan; the Shaytan was created from fire, and fire is extinguished only with water; so when one of you becomes angry he should perform Wudu”. I remember it but do not always act on it. Then I question myself “If I cant even bring myself acting on one hadith of Rasulullah s.a.w, then who am I to demand perfectness and high-standards of discipline and manners from my children at all times?”.
Indeed, our role is to remind them of what is good and what is not good within an Islamic context and have beautiful patience for the results to come about. After all, Allah has created them with unique personality and character. So, we should remind them of rules and try to remember that everything is in Allah’s hands.
Anger and patience are like fire and water. One day a man came to the prophet s.a.w and asked to advice him. “Do not be angry”, the prophet replied and he repeated this three times. And Rasulullah s.a.w was known to be the most patient and calm among his people. Everyone felt comfortable with him and even his enemies respected him for his patience. If we are patient then our children feel comfortable with us at all times and never hide their thoughts, opinions, feelings and emotions from us.
There are certain situations that will make anyone angry, especially busy mothers. Though feeling angry is natural, it can sometimes be destructive if we dont control it. It may leave harmful psychological effects on everyone around us, adults and children alike. So, what to do when one is angry? Again, Rasulullah s.a.w said “When one of you is angry while standing, let him sit down; and if his anger goes away (it is good); otherwise let him lie down.“ In addition to making wudu and drinking water we should try to change our physical position at the time. Go upstairs/come downstairs, have 2-3 minutes in your bedroom thinking about what to do next and how to approach children from there onwards. Very often children watch out our reactions and they know which buttons to PRESS. It is best to stay calm and not to shout.
I have tried to stay calm so many times and have realized it takes a lot of inner-strength to control one’s anger. Therefore the prophet s.a.w said “The strongest among you is the one who can control himself when he is angry”. It is really difficult because very often anger comes so spontaneously and one shouting leads to another. SubhanAllah, I lose control within a blink of an eye. Anger gets hold of us so quick. But once we control our anger we feel good about ourselves, dont we :).
We should also try to remember children have been entrusted to us by Allah the Almighty. And we have the power over our children. They are weak and vulnerable whereas we are powerful and have more understanding of this world. “Whoever controls his anger, while he has the power to show it, Allah (s) will call him on the Day of Resurrection before all creation, and reward him greatly.” SubhanAllah, shall we not try to earn this reward? Shall I not? And how often do I miss on this opportunity?
So, I concluded in my diary that the most needed quality by moms of all ages and nationalities must be the PATIENCE through which we can control our anger. In order to take more practical steps towards earning this quality, we should print this ayah from the Qur’an (surah Al-Imran verse 134) and stick it to our fridge in the kitchen or wherever we can often see it. We should read, reflect, ponder, think and finally ACT on it.
Those who spread generously in ease and in difficulty, and those who control their anger, and are forgiving toward people: Surely Allah loves those who do good.
This was a good reminder to myself. InshaAllah I will be a more patient mom tomorrow :). And let’s not forget the power of dua: May Allah help and guide us all and makes us among the patient, amin.