Wide Earth Smallholding

Wide Earth Smallholding

And Allaah has made for you the earth a wide expanse.(Qur'aan- 71:19)

Tell Me What You Want To Learn: Creative Parenting Part Seven

I teach my children a lot of things that I think they should know, like kindness and generosity, how to hem a shirt or crochet a hat, when to plant tomatoes and when to harvest potatoes. I teach them how to cook and clean in a way that is healthy for both them and the environment, and when to ask for and offer help. They each take to what I teach them to differing degrees, depending upon their interest and ability, but they can all learn at least the basics of everything I teach them.

The other day, though, I was thinking about things that I really, really enjoy doing, that I think are important enough to try to fit into my life in one way or another. Writing- that’s a no-brainer. Knitting. I find my mind lives a life of its own when my hands are busy, and I love having beautiful, useful creations when I am done with each project. Working with my herbs and making soap. These are ways I can give to my family and to the community, insh’Allaah, in so many different ways. Studying and learning- I could happily be a lifelong student, and my three favorite areas of study are Islaam and Arabic, Permaculture and growing things, and herbalism, all of which go beyond self-gratification into the realm of family and community as well. I could have listed ten, but I limited myself to five so that I could really see how I might manage to fit those things into my life on a daily or, if necessary, weekly basis.

Then I got to wondering about my children and how much of what they like to do is dependent upon what I like to do. Have I just been teaching them the things that I enjoy and think are important, assuming that they are things that they will enjoy and think are important? I think, possibly, yes, more often than not. I decided to see what they would choose to learn about and do if they had the chance.

“Write down five things,” I told them. “Five things that you really want to do, or to learn to do. Just five, to start, and we can go from there.”

Because I pay close attention to my children, there were no real surprises in their lists. I knew, for example, that Juwairiyah loves to draw and paint nature scenes, and that Sukhailah likes to journal. I knew that Mu’aadh could spend hours working with Legos to come up with amazing creations, and that Maryam was whizzing along with her crocheting. I knew these things, but now I also know that they don’t just do them because I encourage them, or because there is nothing else to do.

I did learn a few things, though. Mu’aadh would like to learn how to swim and rock climb. Maryam wants to study history and try her hand at cooking, and Sukhailah would like to make candles. Baby Asmaa wants to make a doll like Maryam’s doll, Zakkariyyah.

So now I look at how I can encourage and support them in the things that they want to take on, without being “that mother.” You know the one, the lady who micromanages every moment of her child’s life, looking over her shoulder and correcting every move she makes instead of giving her the tools and knowledge she needs to create and learn on her own, and then providing encouragement, support and guidance as necessary. I’ve gotten pretty good at this over the years, but I do find myself falling into the “The sun is NOT purple!” category on occasion. I learned this lesson from my sister Patty, who never forgot the time that my brother Michael, a very literal person to this very day, punched her in the stomach for coloring something a color other than that which he felt it should be. From that day on, Patty colored however she liked, and if her noonday skies were bright purple, well, then, that was fine with her. She taught me the value and beauty of coloring outside the lines, something I still do to this day if the mood takes me. Here’s hoping I can pass that on to my children, as well as the understanding that I care about and value what they care about and value, and that I will guide and support them in any way I can as they stretch, grow and explore new directions.

Listen to yourself. Listen to your children. See what comes of it!

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5 comments

  1. What fun to have a poettree! In fact why not several to accomodate more leaves? HAPPY SPRIING EQUINOX, FIRST DAY OF SPRING!!!! I was one married to an Iranian, so Happy Iranian New Year, too.

    More commentary here . . . if you choose to live in a form of poverty, it also means that you could also choose to not live in it one day. If it is not a choice, but the way you have to live, there is no choice to the decision, especially is so may other countries where they never have choices for much of anything.

    I still plan to get a box of fabrics for ready for you, just a matter of getting into gear to actually do that.

    What kind of work is your husband looking for? I’ll [ray he finds something and soon. How is your oldest son doing in Yemen with his family these days? Also praying for them.

    We’re still having our own bit of winter . . . pretty cold!!!! but later on today, it will be sunny and a little bit warm.

    Take good care and enjoy life, too!!!!

    sarai \ frosty

    1. Hi Sarai, so good to “see” you again! Thank you so much for your comments and insights, they are always appreciated. My husband is looking for work in computers- he can do anything computer, alhamdulillah. Mujaahid and his family are doing fine- I talked to him right before I took my driver’s test last week, mash’Allaah, it was so good to hear from him, and talk to little Suhayb. A box of fabrics would be MUCH appreciated, with all the hands we have to keep busy, thank you for thinking of us. The weather here is warming up- we actually have been enjoying the coolness after two years of extreme heat! Again, so good to hear from you, Sarai.

  2. MashaAllah now this is a neat, new idea!!! We have so much “recyclables” left to make it from our other projects to do it InshaAllah. This reminds me of the “Islamic Learning” tree we have. When I became Muslim, 3 years ago AlHamdulillah; my daughter wanted to as well mashaAllah (thankfully because I was going to teach her anyhow 😉 heheh)

    As I was learning (usually right alongside with her) we started scrap-booking some of the stuff and last year when I was still a “newlywed” the bearded one gave me the idea of making a ‘growing tree’. It’s much like your tree except the leaves have ayat she’s learned, some basics and it’s “dust” is the dua (prayer) Rabbi zidni ‘ilma in Arabic, English (Oh my Lord increase me in knowledge) and Spanish “Oh mi Señor aumentame en conocimiento)

    I love your poetree!!!

    May Allah reward and protect you and your family ameen

    1. What a lovely idea!
      And keep using your Spanish (a little bit anyway!) on me once in awhile- I actually studied Spanish first, for three years in high school and two in college. Very very dusty, mash’Allaah, but once in awhile Spanish will pop into my brain instead of Arabic!
      Your idea has my brain working now, as well. Something like this would be a lot of fun for the little ones. Maybe each leaf a letter, or a du’a, and they can pick one every day to learn. Then it can be put back and will be there to review.
      Hmmm….

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