It’s been one week since we celebrated Eid to mark the end of Ramadan and my children are still buzzing with excitement. Its not surprising as it’s the only time of year where they are allowed to break almost all the rules without consequences. Sugar overload, extended bed time and opening of gifts is what Eid is about in their little world.
Prince one asked me what Eid was like when I was a child and I was immediately transported back to the late 90’s and early 2000. Although I was born Muslim, Eid was not an exciting time for me and never quite had the buzz it did for my children when I was little. There is sometimes a perception that born Muslims are not lured into the glitz and glamour of the non- Muslim celebrations such as Christmas, so I am told. The assumption that just because one is born into Islam means they automatically love everything about Islam. That was not the case for me and is not necessarily the experience of every Muslim. I always had love for my faith yet I wasn’t excited by it.
As I watched my children run around singing, dancing and eagerly ripping open their Eid presents, the sparkle in their eyes was one I could not relate to when I was their age. On reflection, there was nothing in our Eid rituals growing up that was enticing to the child or teen ‘me’. It was a mere reflection of how I viewed religion, serious and boring.
Christmas on the other hand was super exciting for me! The bright lights, exchanging gifts with my school friends and seeing beautiful Christmas trees being erected around me was magical. As much as my parents told my siblings and I that Christmas was a Christian celebration, the truth was, I looked forward to the buzz around Christmas every, single year.
After my spiritual awakening and rediscovering my faith, I promised myself that I would create colourful and fun memories around faith with my own children. I was determined to give them a positive experience and for them to feel the true beauty of Islam especially as young children. I learnt early on that I had to be intentional about instilling faith in a fun way and was not naive enough to think that being Muslim would be enough for my Children to love Islam. Take it from a born Muslim who grew up in London, simply telling a child how great Islam is will not cut it. I knew I had to find creative and fun ways to teach and show them how amazing Islam is and that’s exactly what I did.
My passion to create colourful memories when instilling faith in my children led me and my sister to create an interactive mobile workshop company, Tiny Mu’mins where we use fun and engaging methods to teach Muslim Children to love and understand Islam. You will catch me making up and singing songs, doing a puppet show or a dramatic re-enactment of an Islamic story to create fun and happy faith related memories. In my ten years of parenting, I have learnt a thing or two about how to successfully create colourful memories with your children.
My top 5 tips are;
1. Focus on the child’s understanding which has a lasting impact than simply memorising with no understanding
2. Use a variety of techniques to get the message across (cater for different and preferred learning styles). Books are not the only way to teach faith, diversify and be creative
3. Tap into your inner child – let loose and don’t be so serious when it comes to faith. Let your children see you laugh and be excited with faith related topics. Put yourself in your child’s shoes so you can truly get the message across in a way that will engage them.
4. Use positive reinforcement – it’s important to attach anything faith related to the positive especially when children are young. Yes Islam deals with the consequences but I believe it’s important to start with love
5. Involve your child in learning about their faith in fun ways. Remember you’re learning together. As Benjamin Franklin famously said “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn”.
I want my children to look back with happy early memories of their faith. To me, Faith is more than a long list of ‘to do’s’, as parents we have the power to create colourful memories around faith that our children can fondly look back on.