These days, I often observe Li’l Man growing increasingly sullen and cross when his demands are not given into. He has always been a boisterous kid, exhibiting compassion and contempt with acute ferocity. He can throw a tantrum for hours on end, but simmers down when he finds me looking forlorn because of him and wraps himself around me, refusing to leave until I smile. How I love him! Alhamdulilah.
So, today, when Wise Man received treats from a classmate celebrating his birthday- some chocolates along with a game comprising of wooden sticks (I havent figured out the way to play it and have shown very little interest in learnin it either *smiles sheepishly*)- Li’l Man broke into a fit, demanding that he too has to have a toy right then! While I stood for Maghrib prayers, he lay sprawled on my prayer mat, all the time sobbing and complaining that he never gets anything. (His age is 7, btw). I couldn’t help but smile. He was clearly perplexed as to whether he really needed a toy or was just envious of his younger brother. And so I decided to try showing him some perspective by means of an analogy. Even if its difficult for him to fathom the depth of what I was telling him, I just wanted him to reflect on whether it was ideal for him to cry over what he did not have at the moment.
I told him to think about the pitcher of water (made of clay) that is kept in their Daadima’s balcony. It stores water that’s refreshingly cool and soothing to drink, Subhan Allah! I asked him if he knew what would happen if someone were to break a hole into it. He said there was no way that the pitcher could be refilled. I tried drawing a parable between how our souls were just like this broken pitcher. How it can never be satisfied. No matter how much Allah (swt) bestows us with blessings, we will always remain in a state of longing. We will always peek into other people’s blessings, giving little regard to our own gifts. Here, I was quite animatedly explaining, which may have made me look comical and so he split into laughter 😊. So, I took it further and unfurled the secret that holds the key to his happiness. I told him about Alhamdulilah. About how Allah (swt) promises to increase His gifts for us if we show gratitude for even the little that we have. About how for the box of (now broken) toys that he has, Allah (swt) promises to replace it with fresh games and play things, only if he remembers to say Alhamdulilah.
Umpteen blessings may go unappreciated, or worse, unnoticed by us. Our ability to make use of all our five senses, our parents, 24/7 access to running water straight from the tap, 24/7 availability of electricity, roof over our heads, stable incomes, food (whenever and whatever we like), beautiful mornings and peaceful nights, being safe from bombarding, killing, fear, torture or harassment. The list can go on and still be immensely short. For how can we imagine keeping a tab on His infinite favors!
As a Muslimah mum, one of my principal concerns, is for my children to never become heedless. That they always thank and count their blessings because, I believe, that’s where our core happiness lies. Not to hanker after things that others possess but be appreciative of our own assets. This brings contentment in our lives and makes our relationship with Allah (swt) wholesome.
The idea is to strive becoming the people of Alhamdulilah (Yes, wise words from Nouman Ali Khan). To show appreciation even for things that we dislike. To pray that our children grow into adults who do not sulk, growl or complain but instead, look for ways to be grateful to the Almighty for His plenteous benison.
What are the ways in which you teach your kids gratitude? How do you approach this subject with your children? Do share your stories and experiences. We may all benefit from fresh outlooks.
Au revoir 💟