Channel: Yassir Fazaga
RISTalks: “Where Do the Children Play? Investing in Our Future Generation”
by Dr. Yasir Fazaga
RIS Canada 2011 Convention in Toronto
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rajim Bismillah Alhamdulillah wa salatu salam ala rasulillah In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, The Most Merciful All praise is due to Allah and His peace and blessings be upon our beloved prophet muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam. I begin by greeting all of you. Assalamu aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakato.
And I think it is also very appropriate that we begin by applauding, congratulating, and commending the people of Tunisia, the people of Egypt and the people of Libya.
And in sha Allah, very soon, we will be commending, congratulating and applauding the people of Syria as well.
And who knows, if we're lucky enough, maybe we'll be applauding the people who are occupying Wall Street as well as all of
the change that took place is a very beautiful one.
Because it is one that restores hope. Many people have thought that the Mubarak's and the preserve if and all these people really do not have an end.
But see, Subhana Allah change requires one thing.
When people stop accepting the unacceptable, then change is inevitable.
And that is what has happened. people stop accepting that which is unacceptable. And as a result, change took place.
But also beautiful about change. They say, you know, a scholar was once invited to give a speech. And when he came to the location of the speech, the turnout was not really that great, it was not really a great number of people that showed up. And the organizers were disappointed by the low turnout of attendees. And the wise man knew what was going through their heads. So he looked at them and he said people do not be disappointed by your numbers, we are not looking for numbers amongst our faithful, we are looking for faith amongst our numbers.
Change does not happen, because the majority wants it. Change always happens, because there is a committed minority behind it.
And what we want to be unwarped to be unafraid to be is that we want to be part of that committed minority that insha Allah will bring about that change. You know, that mentality about the MOBOTIX in the preserve is not leaving is also a very similar mentality of those who say, the problems that we have today is a problem that we have inherited from our parents, and it will be solved by our children.
That's a very pessimistic, and Islamic attitude by which we approach what is happening around around us. Rather, what we like to say, the problems that we have is nothing but us, borrowing our future, borrowing the future of our children. So what we do today is going to impact what happens with our children later on, when they grow up. Let me just very quickly take you as far as why we are where we are. And I don't intend to make it a lecture in sociology. But just please bear with me, reminding you that when immigrants migrate and they come, immigrants, generally speaking, have a tendency to go through five stages. And I'll tell you in a second how this is related to us. The
first stage or phase that immigrants go through his exit of excitement, say that the highest level of optimism amongst immigrants is usually in the first few months. They're very excited about anything that happens to them. I got my driver's license, I got my ID card, I have my social security card. So people are very excited at this stage. And that is when they have got the highest sense of humor. Oh, by the way, believe it or not, your parents were funny one day and then the second stage
That they go to extreme depression. They're absolutely just very, very depressed.
And they are very homesick.
And they're calling home all the time. And they get very depressed.
And then the third stage is what we call the romanticizing stage. And that is people going back to the difficulties they had back home, and they romanticize about all the difficulties. I walked 10 miles to school, and I loved every mile of it. under the sun, I loved it when it was cold, I loved it when it rained, I loved it. Liar.
Why are you here, then. So what happens is that people go back home, and all the difficulties that initially made them leave back home. Now they romanticize about it. And they just remember it, and they smile about it and what have you. So then what these immigrants tend to do is that they tend to create a back home environment so that they are not homesick. So people start living next to one another, they start opening their restaurants, they have got their little schools they have they have anything that would remind them of that home mentality. But then Subhan Allah, the fourth stage, something really interesting happens. After being in Canada for five years, seven years, they
decide to go and visit back home.
And then they go home, and they just say, oh, Suppan aleid is such a mess, look at the trash is all over the place. And look at how terrible the transportation I can never live in this place. So they initially had what we call a cultural shock. And now they are having a counter cultural shock. And then the immigrants come back here, and they must make a choice. Where is home.
And what we have ended up doing
is that we have decided that we want to reside in the US in North America, but we're still living somewhere else.
And what this does, is that for, especially for the children who are growing up, you know, throughout these stages where your parents are constantly talking about back home, one day, we will go back home in 10 years, they're still talking about back home 20 years, they're still talking about back home, what ends up happening is that we create the in between zone, and these are people who live here, they reside here, but they're not really truly living here. And what this does, is that it robs us from having a sense of identity, a healthy sense of identity as a result is being missed, simply because of this attitude of us not being able to adjust ourselves. And that is why
you see the cultural gap between our home environment, and the school environment that our children go to. And many times our massages are not really reflective of the culture of the place that we are in.
And that brothers and sisters is what we call a marvelous case of schizophrenia,
where people literally have gotten multiple personalities. They are one person when they go home, they are another person when they come to school, they are one person when they are in the youth group, but they are another person when they go to the movies with their with their children. So there is this idea of not really knowing in a healthy way, who I am. And as a result that's impacting our homes, and that is impacting our families. One time I was at a Unitarian Church.
And you know, it was a lecture on Islam and what have you. And then it was announced that I was a therapist, that's what I do. So at the end of it, the pastor came to me and he said, you know, we have got a couple that would like to talk to you in the capacity of a therapist. So when the services were over, and everything was done,
you know, the couple came to me, and without saying anything, both of them started crying. And I said, what what happened and they said that we just had the loss in our family. We lost one of our children.
And the worst thing that can happen to a parent is to outlive their children.
And yeah, I said, You're telling me about that what would happen and they said, You know what? They lived in this big place. But when they had the children, they decided to relocate.
They actually downgraded they had a big place, but they said that to make sure that we provide the best for our children. We moved into a much smaller place so that our children actually have a park where they can play. They have changed their schedule. So that one parent is always present with the children. One is at work but one is with the children. The other one goes towards the other one comes back so that the children are never left by themselves. So
They've gotten to the point that they wanted to make sure that their children have access to them whenever they want to. So they actually bought steps that would lead the children to the bed, if they decide that they want to come at night and be with their parents. And you know, in the midst of this, the mother would be talking to me and she would be crying. And the father would be talking to me, and they would be crying.
But here is the surprise. By the way, everything I told you really happened. And they were using the word children
are lucky I kid you not. their child was a Chihuahua.
This is not funny. The child was a Chihuahua. It was a small Chihuahua dog. This was their child. But listen to what they have done. They used to live in a big house, but they downgraded they wanted to be by the park so that the dogs can go and play in the park.
They kept their jobs but they decided to switch their their schedules so that somebody is always present with the queue hours because two hours are very social dogs, by the way, they get very depressed if they're left alone for more than three hours.
And these parents are actually seeing a specialist. It's a pet loss therapist. There is actually one Believe it or not.
And I'm listening to this. And I remember a radio commentator by the name of Paul Harvey. After Columbine made a statement. Columbine is a school where, you know, children went and they gunned their fellow classmates. And he made a point and he said, I know why Columbine took place. He said 25% of our children are not wanted abortion. Then he said the other 25 children are mistakes, or they are the way he said that one was unwanted 25% and that is abortion. And then he said the other 25% are brief prevented through contraceptives. And then he said the other 25% are mistakes, the contraceptives did not work. And then we'll allow you he made the following paint and he said, we
treat our children like our dogs, and we treat our dogs like our children.
Then I remember the Hadith of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam where he said yes to Allah, Nazism and the Anurag BIA had him do one Habu in a human and European.
He said there will come a time when people would prefer to raise a puppy than raising a child.
I'm saying this, because I'm looking into what people what great lengths of sacrifice they make, in order to ensure that the best they give the best to the very to their children, and jela. What we'd want to do as it was suggested that we're not going to lament over all the mistakes that are taking place. But what we would like to discuss is what are the components that are needed, as a man possum has suggested earlier, to raise children who are emotionally healthy, spiritually upright, and morally have good character. There are three components my brothers and sisters that we can not neglect. I like to call them the triple ace. And I'm not talking about the automobile company that
would come and tell you from talking about triple A's that must be present all the time. Attention, affection, appreciation, we must all have these in our homes, so that we can raise healthy children. Without them we cannot have or raise any healthy child attention. By that we simply mean that attention is really one way by which we reflect our interest in the person that is with us. And attention is expressed by the amount of time that we spend with our families. One of the biggest problems today's in today's families is that time is such a big huge problem. In the States. The average they say is that a mother spends about 34 minutes a day with the children and fathers spends
about 17 minutes a day with their children. And usually people love to challenge these things. Brothers, if you sleep eight hours a day that is four months of the year you have not seen your children. If you work eight hours of the day, then that is another four months of the year. You have not seen your children. That is eight months of the year. You have not seen your children. And then people spend the case in the us is that it's about two hours a day spent on traffic. That is one month of the year. We are left with about three months that really boils down to about 17 to 34 minutes a day that is spent was the family with such kind of time. How do you expect to really raise
a family it was said that one time
this you know
MBA Harvard Graduate was visiting Maine. And he was one sitting by a lake. And he saw a fisherman, and he is sitting by the lake. So he went to him. And he said, Sir, what do you do? He said, You know, I'm a fisherman, I fish about for about four hours a day, I go to the market, sell the lobster. And you know, I come back to my family, have lunch with them. In the evening, I go chill with my friends by the coffee shop. And then I come back, and I spent the rest of the evening with my family. So this man, you looked at him? And he said, Sir, you're doing it all the wrong way. So what am I supposed to do? He said, See, rather than just fishing for four to six hours a day, you
need to put in eight to 12 hours a day, so that this way, you fish a lot more lobster, sell some spend the money and save some, then you hire people, and they would fish for you. And this way, you've got a lot more efficient taking place. And then you can sell a lot more. And then you go on selling to the east coast, Maine, then you know, you're selling to New York and Philadelphia, and all these big cities and DC. And then he said, you go public.
And the old man said, what does that mean? What does it mean to go public? And he explains the whole idea to him of having the stocks and being on the market. And then he said, You sell to LA and San Francisco and all that stuff. So the old man looked at him and he said, How long could this go on? Take me. He said, if you do it, right, it shouldn't take you any more than 12 to 14 years. Then he said, then what do I do? He said, you come back to Maine, you work for four hours a day, then you go and have lunch with your children in the evening, you can be chilling with your friends, and then come and spend back the rest of the evening with your family.
So what he wants him to do in essence, is go spend all that time and come back to do exactly what this person is doing at this point. And sometimes we have a tendency to do that. Now people say that in their 30s, they work so hard because they want to take a break in their 40s comes their 40s. And they say you know what, at this point, I really need to secure my retirement, I really need to work hard, so that I can relax in my 50s comes to their 50s. And they say I really need to work hard now because I'll be 60 very soon, and comes their 60s and they find out that there is really no time to live at this point.
So this idea of spending time with the children is very important brother since this we cannot really create a bond, a real bond can only happen it can only take place in real time is being spent with the children with their family. And please don't give me that I spent quality time with my children. That is just a lie. I don't spend a lot of time with my children. I spend good quality time with my children. Very common nowadays children who take that can you please come and sit with us But Dad, please don't bring your laptop with you. That Can you please not have your phone on when you are talking to us? That Can you please just leave this and just be there with us. See, when we
say being together, there are two kinds of togetherness. There is togetherness as far as people physically being together. But there is togetherness, that is emotional togetherness, that is social togetherness that is just on all levels. Mr. Carson was talking about TV. TV is a marvelous, marvelous, you know, invention. It really is very beautiful. But they say that TV has the ability to keep those who are very far away, bring them close to us. And keep away those who are close to us far away from us and explain something terrible happens around the world. And the person lives on the other side of Canada, you know it was a fire, they will have an interview with the person that
owned the house, they will tell you the name of their dogs, then how many rooms they had what they lost. So TV is bringing close to us, those who are far away from us. But in the meantime, TV is also keeping away from us, those who are very close to us.
And again, we look at this and we say that is really a recipe for disaster. So what we're looking for is that it must be attention means that you are a priority to me. And as such, I am going to spend the time with you. You know the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam. A there was never a complaint about him that he sallallahu alayhi wa sallam did not have time for his family. If anything, he's Allahu alayhi wa sallam was always available to his family. Let me give you an example.
We humans, we have the ability to communicate at a different depth, a different levels of depth. As far as communication is concerned. The first one is asking cliche, questions. cliche questions is in Hey, what's up, Hey, how are you doing? What's going on? You really don't care what is going on? And the other person is not really going to tell you what is going on. You're just being polite. And this is very similar. You pick up your kids from school. Hey, how are you fine, whatever.
In school today, nothing Okay, good. What do you mean good. The kid just spent eight hours a day in school. And then they came back. And they said, Nothing happened at school and you actually accept this as a good as a good answer. I remember when I first came to the States,
you know, people would ask me, Hey, how are you doing? So I'd look down and say, you know, I really had a bad dream last night, and,
and I look up, and the person is gone.
But what I thought you just said, How are you doing? And I'm about, see, what happens is that we don't ask these questions, because we really care. It's just cliche.
And then they say, the second level is what they call asking about facts. Did you do your homework?
Did you cancel the bill? Did you pay the bill? Did you make the appointment? Did you cancel the appointment? So you ask about facts. And then they say the majority of people go to sleep.
The majority of people go to sleep after only just crossing the very first two phases, or to depth of communication. Or what happens after that, you know, people want to exchange ideas, can you imagine I have an idea to you and I say, I got this idea. And I tell you what the idea is, and you look at me and say that is so dumb. That is the dumbest thing I've ever heard all day long. Today, what I'm going to do is that it's just going to shut me down. So I will no longer tell you about what I think, or how I feel, I will not invite you into that place. But Subhanallah in order for people to actually go there, they need time, they really need time, because it takes time to feel
safe. And once people start feeling safe, then you can actually go down with them. You know, people say, when my daughter was seven, she wouldn't stop talking. My daughter now was 17. And she wouldn't talk.
Or I tell my children that they can come and talk to me anytime they want to Oh, yes, they do when they want the car, and when they want money, they will. But that's not the kind of talking that we are talking about. We're talking about talking that really comes at the result of you know, communicating well. And that can only be taken if we are able, and if we are willing to spend the time with them, brothers and sisters, you know, Subhanallah, in the capacity of a therapist, tell you that 99.9 of my clients are Muslims, young people. And most of the problems that they bring in beat as individuals or beat as a family, it really has to do a lot was in what kind of family it is
that they grew up in. What was happening in their developmental stages, what was happening to them, when they were kids. The most fascinating voice to a child they say is the voice of the parent, the most beautiful thing to look at is the face of the parent, you know how constantly children just want our attention. Dad Dad Look at this, I drew this. And you know, we have a tendency to this all Mashallah, this is really nice, you know, and you think that this is it and go and play, you know, by yourself. But what happens is that attention is just really nice to have. No, people want to feel that they are important. And the only way that we can express this is by spending time with them.
parents come to you and say I'll do anything for my children. I'll give my life I'll give my eyes I'll give anything for my children, okay, keep your life and keep your eyes, we just want an hour of your day with you. That's just what we really want. Okay.
And I am not downplaying the sacrifice, I'm not downplaying the hard work that people do as parents, but we have got to start paying attention as to what it is that is really taking place. So now remember what I said about the stages and the phases that immigrants go through social panela us parents many times, especially the immigrants amongst amongst us, by the way, one thing I love about our is, is that our is is more reflective of the Muslim demographics in North America. The majority of Muslims in North America are natives, they are not immigrants. You know, but the impression that people have is that the immigrants are really the majority in America because every time you know
there is a speaker going on, probably be a person like myself speaking with an accent, not as cute as mine, but nevertheless, you know, they will be speaking with an accent and you get and you get that impression. So however the case is, so now what happens is as a result of not spending time, here I am as a parent, who has no idea what happens in the outside world, absolutely clueless about what happens in the outside world. You talk to these kids in the counseling sessions that do your parents not said my parents don't know anything about what is going on.
My parents are absolutely clueless. They've never been to our school before. They've never spoken to the teachers before. So there is not only now a cultural barrier, I don't even know what is happening within the culture where my children are growing up as well. So people have a tendency to just keep away from that culture that they cannot relate to. So the number one age that's very important component is attention. Number two is affection. People want to know that they are loved. children want to know that they are loved. children want to know that they are accepted, and Subhanallah if anything, the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said that he was just so lovely
with children, children was so important to him, that his Allahu alayhi wa sallam was so considerate that he would be praying in the Salah, and he would hear a kid crying, and what would he do is that he would actually expedite the Salah, the Salah becomes you know, faster and faster. And people at the end of it, they say prophet of Allah, you prayed really fast today, and he's Allahu alayhi wa sallam would say that I heard a young child crying, and I knew that his mother would want to attend to him, and they did not want to prevent them from doing so in the name of Salah. Imagine this happening to us today. And whoever is bringing their children to the masjid, please keep them at
home. You know, you would, you'd have that rudeness, but not when it comes to Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wasallam. Or be very compassionate with children love that story of the Prophet peace be upon him, you know, visiting Jordan Abdullah when he fell ill, and they say that Javelin Abdullah was actually 15 years old, being visited by a man who was at least 53 years old when he visited him. So broth Prophet peace, be upon him cared about these children. And he gave the attention. And he also expressed the affection. once had a client, she came in, and I said, you know, what, what kind of words do you use for your children to encourage them? She got a bit embarrassed. And she said, I'll
be very honest with you, I don't.
And I said, Why don't you She said, We grew up in a culture where, if you praise people that had gets too big.
Have you heard that before? You know, if you if you praise people that have gets too big, so what do you do, oh, you better crush their spirit, because, you know, their head is about to get too big. And as a result, these kids never hear anything that is encouraging. They never hear anything that is empowering. And what they do is that once that is not given at home, then they end up playing with things that they were not supposed to be playing with. And they ended up leaving the home. And that is not good. So the idea of expressing affection, that is very important in our families, brothers and sisters. And then the last one is appreciation. appreciation is all about acknowledging
the good that everybody else does, or the people around you do. Because Subhana Allah, they say that any deed that gets acknowledged is a deed that will definitely be repeated.
So if children are only given the attention when they do wrong, guess what happens, they start believing that they have to do wrong in order to get your attention. But what we are looking at is appreciating the good that is done by others, in order for us insha Allah to have the good deeds to be to be repeated again. So in order for us to have emotionally healthy children, we must implement all these triple A's attention, appreciation and affection. But also raising emotionally healthy children. Morally strong children, children with good character is not a one man show. It takes a community collective effort in order to do so. Um, please do not get me wrong. I don't get excited
about people about people building massages anymore. I really don't get excited about that. How is it that we have not recognized the importance of youth centers at this point?
How good is it?
We can be building all these massage sites, but soon enough, there will be nobody coming to that Masjid. And somehow it does not matter how beautiful how big the message is. The message is a facility that is only used once a week for Juma on once a month a year during the month of Ramadan. Other than that our massages are just absolutely empty. And they're empty for many reasons. Number one, our massages are not really reflective of the culture that our children are growing up in and please do not misunderstand me. I think the Arab culture is great. I think the Somali culture is beautiful. I think the Asian culture is beautiful. But it would just be absolutely foolish for us to
think that by implementing a
culture with its cultural values to implement it here and expect people to live by it is just not very wise.
So what we want to see is, we want to see a Masjid, that is actually reflective of the social values, the good social values and the good cultural values of the place that we are in. Let me give you an example.
North American culture is a very accepting culture. It doesn't matter who you are. People just accept you, you could be anything you can have, and you can dye your hair green, and people will think you're cool. It does not matter if people just are very accepting. That is not the kind of attitude that we have at our Masjid. massages are not a place where people can just come because of who they are. You know, one time upon a long I was at the Unitarian Church, I love Unitarians. I'm at the Unitarian Church. And before my speech, you know, they have somebody singing, you know, they had the choir singing. And I started paying attention to the lyrics. And the lyrics were just so
beautiful. And it was a song about the caravan. Our caravan accommodates anybody, please come to us. Come and get on board on our caravan. If you are a sinner, our caravan will still accommodate you. If you have not been good, our caravan still accommodates you. And I just loved it. And I looked at the pastor and I said, Do you have this written anywhere? And he said, Yeah, man, it's right, right here. And he gave me the book of hymns that they have. And I looked at that poem will love it. It was written by jalala Dino Romi.
Can you imagine this?
Here you are at a Unitarian Church in their service, they are singing a song that is really reflective of the essence of our Deen. And that is, look, we may not approve of what you do. But if you come to us, we will accept you.
That's what we want to see in the masjid. And somehow, if we close the masjid, on the face of those who are not as religious, who are not as practicing, we will end up turning a lot of people away. So what we want to say that in our message is part of that reflection of the culture is that Look, man, Come as you are, we will accept you and keep in mind that we may not approve of who you are. People come to me and say, I struggled to bring my daughter to the masjid and the day that I bring my daughter to the masjid because there is a lecture going on, my daughter doesn't really want to be here. And she was not dressed properly. And everybody at the message, just start staring at her and
they start giving her looks. And at the end of it. My daughter looks at me and she says that is why I don't like to come to this place. My son came the other message to the other day to the masjid. And he was you know, wearing stuff and maybe he has tattoos and the minute he walked in, people started telling him about how haram this and how haram that instead, you know, that is why my son does not come to the masjid anymore. I'm not telling you that these things are halaal But look, man, the mesquite is like a hospital sick people come into including us now can you imagine going to a hospital that they had a big sign that says if you're sick do not come in?
Well, I just imagine that if you are sick, do not come in,
of all places, you know what the message is the place for anybody that is not doing well will lie the message is really the place for them.
So that's what we want to see you know, part of that culture is look, whoever you are come and you will be accommodated. See brothers and sisters, if we do not have this kind of a spirit in our community, I am afraid that people will end up playing with things that they shouldn't be playing with.
That is important. So we want to do this. And the other thing is, with all due respect, again, and this is you know, just part of that positive criticism where it is really for the sake of of building up. Also the type of activities that we have, they have got to be reflective not only of the culture, but also of developmentally where these children are most of our activities at the massage. There is really nothing fun about it. There is really nothing fun about you know, coming to a Masjid and listening to fasigyn that that is not fun. I'm a funny guy. Don't get me wrong, but you know, I'll just tell you that this is really not it.
People especially teen ages, they love to be intellectually challenged. You know, they are in that stage of just feeling very invincible, very undestructible and what have you, you've got to know where they are. And you've got to take this and nourish it and actually put it in the proper channels. Rejecting people from our massage is not a good idea. You know, story, this Hindu man who was came from a lower caste wanted to go into
A temple that really belonged to a higher caste people. So as he was about to step inside the temples, the priest of the temple saw him, but he wanted to be polite. He did not the one he did not want the man to come in, but he wanted to be gentle with him. So he went in and he said, Sir, where are you going? He said, I'm going inside the temple to worship, he said, I have a better idea for you. So tonight, why don't you go and worship at home and see what God tells you?
So the man said, sounds like a good idea. I'll just do that. So the man leaves. And the priests of the temple is just feeling all happy about him being gentle, and at the same time, not admitting demand in because it would have been a problem. So the next day they man came at the same time. And now the piece is old, baffled and said, What happened? Did you do what I told you last night? He said, I did. Say What happened? He said, and the Lord spoke to me. So what did he say? He said, The Lord told me, don't feel bad. Many times, I God have tried to go in that temple and they will not allow me to go and
it becomes a place where you would only require you know, certain kinds of people to come in and to walk in and at that point, it just becomes very unacceptable. We may have a very beautiful building, the structure and the skeleton of it is very beautiful, but the spirit of it is very dead. And that is not something that we want in our massages. May Allah Subhana Allah protect our children may Allah Subhana Allah protect our massage, may Allah Subhana Allah help us in doing the right thing. Salaam Alaikum