How to talk to your children about Palestine
Channel: Rania Awaad
File Size: 12.69MB
A couple of years ago, I had published an article and it was during the time of the New Zealand shootings, which was also a very difficult moment for the Muslim ummah, and terrible. And so many people were also glued to the news at that point, because, unfortunately, there was footage of the entire carnage that happened.
But also because many families had a hard time with how do you exactly talk to children about all of this. So live article at the time, which Subhanallah we've pulled it out so many times since that's a particular that was 2019.
And an article is called the profound prophetic wisdom and speaking to children in times of distress, and for those of you who are on the Zoom, I'm going to put this in the chat box for you. And for those of you who are on our WhatsApp group, I'm going to also put it for you there in case you'd like to reference it later.
I will start with that inshallah. And then we have our experts here next to me who are going to
talk both about Muslim children identity, and also about how to cope and what to do and how to help, inshallah to Adam, I think, though, you'll find that a lot of what's being referenced today, actually applies to all of us here to not just our children. So Pamela, so let's go ahead and talk a little bit about this article and what I wanted to share with you.
For me, when I think about how the prophets Allah, Juana who was sending talk to everybody around him, there was this beautiful prophetic way in which he spoken Subhan Allah Our Holika was meant to be a description of the prophets of Elias and then because we had started about beyond our before everything, the most recent events had happened. And we had to of course, shift gears because this really is a time that requires intense draw and prayer.
But back to the prophets, Allah Allah Juana who was sending him when you think about how it is that he spoke specifically to young people, and especially to people in his family
you know, there are many people who are very
How do I say this and not get myself in trouble.
They are known in their communities to be Oh Masha Allah, Masha, Allah, masha Allah sisters or brothers.
But at home, it's a completely different face, and tone.
But Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, what you saw is what you've gone inside and out.
And whether it was his own child, or whether it was his, any one of his family members, or whether it was his closest companions and friends, or whether it was the the broader community, what you saw was what you got. And that's something very important and very special about him sallallahu alayhi wa sallam and we take example from him we take from his sunnah, even in times of distress and difficulty. And another thing that I wanted to share about him is he spoke is when we talk about children to their level. And I think that's really important today, and part of the conversation we're going to have a little bit with our therapist as well is, you know, he was very keen on making
sure that the person in front of him understood what he was saying, and that they were not over, burdened unnecessarily. And this becomes really important about kind of age appropriate milestones here at the Dharma Foundation, those of you have girls and our holidays here, you'll know that one of the things that we really like pride ourselves on insha, Allah to Allah help. It's accurate and true, is that and we've been doing this for years is that the content that we teach in the different groups that you have your girls and right, the frogs and bunnies and the rainbows and the busy bees and the rose buds, right? That they're age appropriate content, that we're not talking to frogs and
bunnies about very difficult things to understand. In fact, we're trying to break it down to their toddler level, right, the four and five and six year olds, and when we get all the way to your busy bees, your middle schoolers, now we start to get into kind of like some conversation and definitely by the high school, right, we're starting to get into heavy, heavy conversations. But it's age appropriate. Because what we find is that there are
just like, there are physical milestones, right? You know, when your child starts walking and talking and eating, like there's different milestones that you look out for, right? And same thing, just like your physical biases, there's cognitive milestones, what could be understood one, because children's panela sometimes have
very concrete thinking. They don't understand a lot of nuance. So when you try to read, I'll give you an example. We tend to start to reach
teach could add from Jews a Aamna. Because the 30th parts, right is the small suttas. But it's also the suttas with a lot of heavy, heavy references and a lot of metaphorical references and also things related to heaven and hell, which are not metaphors, those are real, but it's hard for them to fully understand something they can't see directly in front of them. And there's reference to jinn and reference to angels and reference to other things that they can't children can't quite see
It was a time for a lot of confusion, actually. And so interestingly enough, a lot of our teachers say they memorize them. But when you come to explanation, you're careful in what you say, because otherwise, you might actually teach them something that is not appropriate age wise right then and there for them. But they, they absolutely should and will learn it but a little bit later, right? Same concept here, same concept here. And so what I wanted to share with you, and I think, Sister Wajima, and doctors are both going to kind of pick up here from where I start with you, whenever there's a really horrific tragedy that's unfolding. In this case, it's still unfolding in front of
us, it's very likely that at some point, the young people around you are going to ask about this if they haven't already. And when they do, there's a decision to be made about what to say, and when. And to who
I would say this, I'm going to go through part of what the article talks about, and then surely, you'll get to reference it. But the most important thing that you can do is know that it starts with you. It starts with us, us adults. It starts with us, because it depends on how we're doing. Somebody shared with me
that their young child said to them,
Why do you look so stressed out?
And that the mom said, because there's all these difficult things happening. And the daughter said, and you shouldn't be reading the news, Mama.
So cute. That's a logical, but also they pick up. It's amazing how much children pick up that they understand, even if you don't say anything, when you are stressed out, they understand that something is off, right? And then they start picking up snippets of conversations, if not full on, you've taken them to protest with you. So they've seen everything with you SubhanAllah. And every every family's little bit different. But it starts with us at how much we
engage with our children, and what's happening with us in real time. So for glued constantly to the phone and not engaging with them, there are a lot of questions that they're having. And it's very confusing, actually for them. So what do you do? Part of it is preparing. And this is why we're having this Holika today, part of it is preparing as best as you can, it's not always perfect. And with the preparing, which we're doing tonight, Inshallah, the next step from that comes inquiring actually asking them
what they know, or allowing them to come up to you and waiting for that. And this depends on their age. So let's kind of break this down a little bit. For those of you that have that frog, somebody's age group, I was talking about the 3456 year olds, avoid sharing anything unnecessarily with this age group, they're kind of in their lala land.
And they need to stay there as best as much as we can.
And only if we suspect that they know something, or they say that they know something, because maybe they have an older sibling that has said something to them, or maybe they have heard something that you've said. So at that point, you can ask them what they've heard, that's upsetting them, and help them understand it a bit better, which I'm going to leave to Sister wedgemount. Explain to us a bit more when we get to the age group that's after that. So let's talk about your like your seven to 12 year olds. This is where you want to wait and see.
Wait and see. If they come to you. I want to ask these questions. At the end. I say this because every child is different. You even might have several children, yourself, same parents, same household, but every child is different Spatola I have one child who's very in tune, like I could be saying something in the other room.
And like how did you even hear that? But
I have another child who is totally aloof, blah, blah, blah, we aloof. Right? And so I'm like, how did you not see that? SubhanAllah. And so same household, same family.
And so this is where you would wait and see if they ask us. And in this age group of seven to 12. If they don't actually come up and ask you or initiate the conversation, you may choose to just sort of let it be the way it is.
It could be that they are not fully plugged into what's going on. Or it could be that they're not willing to yet fully tell you how heavy this is for them. And this is where if it's not in words, because sometimes young children don't have words to explain. Instead, they show their distress in other ways. Well, how do they show their distress? Well, it could be forms of regression, where they're kind of going backwards, right? And things that you're kind of like what's going on here? Like, you know, you usually don't wake up in the middle of the night scared, right? Or you usually are not scared to sleep with the lights off, you know, things loose things like that, where they're
kind of going backwards from the milestones they've already
came up through.
And so you might want to ask them at that point, you know, kind of sit with them and figure out what is it that they have seen or heard or understood and then process that with them, which we'll talk about a little later. How do you process your teenagers? This is where you're just as
assume that they know, of course, they have to have no right. In fact, if you've given them one of these things,
they absolutely have known and seen, and maybe very active, maybe even more than you expect, or shallow. And it's really important that even at that point that you help fill in the blanks, because there could be confusion. And there could be also questions where there could be bullying that's been happening, or harassment of different sorts. And if they're not fully opening up to you
don't expect at this stage that they'll come up and say anything, and might require you to ask and kind of pull as much as you're able to. And I also like to make sure that we don't do touch on anybody who has children with disabilities, I think this is important to to touch base on when you this is where it really depends on what level of ability they have, and their comprehension and level of understanding. And it may not match necessarily physical age, as you can imagine. And so you will know your child best, nobody knows them better than you do. But I think it's also important that we don't just assume that they don't necessarily know what's happening or tapped in. So I just
want to make sure that you are
kind of aware of some of these the breakdown of some of this. And I'll just share two more things before I hand this over the importance of listening.
And the importance of validating.
The listening becomes really important because so often as parents, we do this thing called problem solving, we go immediately into problem solving mode, you know, who said that to you? What did they do with it that immediately, when actually, and while you may need to take some steps to rectify what's happened. The reality is you need to kind of like, kind of pull the reins just a little bit and just hear them out. Because maybe it's something that they've dealt with, or maybe they don't want you to deal with, or whatever it may be. But what they really want from you is to be heard, right to be seen to be heard. And the validating has a lot to do with whatever their emotions are,
including your own, by the way, validating your own emotions. I've heard so many people in this week, this past week, say, I feel so terrible. But that doesn't matter. Because what's happening to my sisters and brothers is beyond worse than what's going on to me. My response to that is, your emotions are what Allah gave you. And your reality is what Allah gave you. And their reality is what Allah gave them. And it is very difficult to witness.
The reality is though, Allah didn't ask you to erase your emotions.
Does that make sense?
Allah has put us in a place where we have the running water and electricity and the safety and the prosperity and all the rest of it.
And there are sisters and brothers across the OMA that don't have any of the above.
And it's hard.
Allah knows what he's doing, and knows where he put each person. And we'll ask each person accordingly. And that's probably what scares me the most more than whether we have big emotions or small emotions. What worries me the most, is having all of this and then being asked by Allah subhanaw taala because those who are in those situations, that really horrific things that we're seeing, they're not going to have the kind of hisab we're going to have. Do you know what I'm trying to say here?
And that's where we ask ourselves, what can we do? What should we be doing, which will be part of our conversations inshallah Tada, but I just wanted to say, to validate, don't don't shut down your emotions or their emotions, whatever they may be, even if you don't fully agree with them.