“What motivates you?" was the question, the presenter asked. I thought long and hard... I did not have an answer
Parenting comes without a manual
Self development should be a mandatory subject. I wish there was a way to make young adults, unmarried , married and later on parents of all ages and stages take a mandatory self development course every year. Like our driving licenses we would have to renew our parent status and if someone fails they would be given a paid leave of two weeks under house lockdown to pass the test or remain in lockdown. ( Not at all a bad idea, honestly) and I know the readers will find loopholes in it, but for the sake of reading let's enjoy the possibility of something like this actually happening)
My Evolving Identity over the years
I am Muslim woman,
I am a South Asian Muslim woman
I am a married South Asian Muslim immigrant woman
I am a married South Asian Muslim Immigrant parent
I am a married South Asian Muslim American Citizen / parent
I am a married South Asian Muslim American parent to first generation Muslim Americans with Pakistani roots
I am a Muslim American teacher, mentor, parent / homeschooler
I am a Muslim American writer, blogger, motivational speaker
I am happy to say I relate to all the above labels. These show my growth as an individual over the years and that I have packed a lot of knowledge and experience under my belt. Alhamdulilallah.
My identity and Parenting
Today if I would be asked the above mentioned question, I would easily respond to it.
But the self discovering journey to understand and be able to respond to that question has been an interesting one.
One of the gifts, you can give to your children as a parent is an understanding of their identity.
Some the questions we ask from one another in our family on daily basis are:
Who are you?
What is your purpose?
What are your goals in life?
Who is your role model?
How do you bring a positive change in the society?
Have you thought of giving back to the world?
What do you dream about?
How can you bring a positive change in your surroundings?
What is self doubt?
What does a judgment free society look like?
Have you read the Quran? Do you know what this word, Aya , Sarah talks about?
What positive changes have you practiced or learned over the past few days?
As a parent you would be able to listen in to your child's thought process and evaluate their mental and emotional development and gauge what kind of books, activities and role models they need in their lives at the moment.
The confusion erupts when words fall short of actions. Meaning when the parent has failed to lead the kind of life they preach their children to follow.
Own your identity as a parent
You are and always will be your child's most sincere support. As parents our hearts are vested in the best interest of the child however we might hurt them unintentionally, due to lack of knowledge, resources or our own insecurities. It's ok , learn from the mistakes and keep moving forward.
The best gift to our children would be to become confident parents, working God consciously towards our own self development.
Practicing to be humans of Taqwa and khair.
Showing them through example the kind of life we would want them to live and strive for not just in the material world but specially in the spiritual world.
Gratitude brings humility and ease in relationships. Be a grateful parent to be able to raise grateful children.
We were not born parents but will leave this world as ones, what would our legacy be? Work tirelessly towards a beautiful legacy.
Allah Subhanahu Wa TALA teaches us a beautiful dua in the Quran: Surah Furqan Aya 74
“Our Lord! Grant unto us spouses and offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes, and give us (the grace) to lead the righteous. (Rabbana hab lana min azwajina wa dhurriyatina qurrata a`yunin wa’j`alna li’l muttaqina imama)”
May our children be the coolness of our eyes and may we the parents be a source of comfort for our children always. Ameen.