By Umme Ammarah
Schools are about to open and you’re probably feeling excited and maybe a little sad that holidays are just about over. Back to School comes with a barrage of projects, homework, sports practice and of course a day filled with pickups and drop offs.
“The roots of education may be bitter, but the fruit is sweet”
Back to school time also means adjustments for children and families; the first day of grade one, new schools, new classrooms, new teachers and for adults sometimes new jobs.
Change is sometimes exciting and sometimes frightening, but this can also be an opportunity to set new goals. It’s is a new year, and each year goes so fast like a quick turn of a page. This is why planning and setting goals is so important. As Muslims all our plans should be aimed at achieving our final goal which is to please our Creator Allah Ta’ala.
“He who fails to plan, plans to fail!”
Here are a few points to keep in mind when planning for this year.
- Niyyah: Our intention before doing anything is very important. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon Him) has said “Every deed is judged by its intention.” Plan and do lots…but it must be ONLY to please our Allah.
- Dua: Every one of us needs to ask and pray to Allah Ta’ala daily for all our needs. A very beautiful Dua that The Beloved Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon Him) made whenever he left his home ” In the name of Allah, I trust in Allah, oh Allah I seek refuge in You from straying or being led astray or against slipping or being caused to slip or doing injustice or injustice being done on me or doing wrong or having wrong done to me.” (Abu Dawud)
- Make mashwera/shura (mutual consultation): To consult with your family is import ant as it unites the heart on a common purpose. All activities whether big or small should be discussed. Sit with the family daily at a mutually convenient time and plan our activities. See where we are and where we want to go this year. Check our level of Deen and plan to improve upon it. Discuss our day to day affairs. We may even discuss and allocate turns for household chores, or even who sits where in car, etc.…this can save a lot of time and arguments early in the morning. To make Mashwera is a sunnah and will bring great Barakah (blessings) in our home. It will also grant us an opportunity to plan our lives Islamically.
- Make attainable goals: Set goals realistically and intelligently. Set goals that are attainable. Most important Make Deen the priority in our lives. Monitor your progress and place reminders and back your resolutions with planning.
- Family time: Set aside quality time for them. Be interactive. Listen to them and pay attention to them when they call on you. Engage them in Taleem (Educational programs), for the smaller ones also read Islamic stories and even make it a practice to discuss the day’s events with them. There is NO SUBSTITUTE for parental guidance and supervision.
“Your children need your presence more than your presents”
- Homework: Turn off the T.V, WhatsApp, Facebook and other social networks… put away your concerns and concentrate on being a parent. Look through your child’s homework diary as your child’s teacher uses this as a main connection between you and the school.
“Don’t do homework for them, Do it with them!”
- Daily routines: Let your child be involved in the small things like packing lunch, laying out clothes (uniforms) etc. as this teaches them responsibility. Start bed time routines a week before school starts. Ensure punctuality in Salaah (prayers). Read your Duas together in the morning and evening. Make going to and from school educational by reciting Duas collectively in the car. In a short time they will memorize the Duas for protection and of travelling.
- Educational goals: Plan big! Enrol your kids for the best available Islamic Education…enrol your kids for Hifdh (memorisation of the Qur’an). You may have also realised how weak your Islamic knowledge is. Make time to attend some Islamic classes. Consult with your local Islamic Scholars regarding suitable Islamic educational programs.
- Identify your career goals: Choose your curriculum carefully and wisely. Maybe you always talked about making the career switch to a more Halaal (pure) source of income or adjusting your work times for Salaat with Jamaat (congregation). You may need to adjust your times so as to spend some quality time with your family. Whatever your reasons maybe, identify a career that will benefit your family both in this world and the Aakhirah (hereafter).
- Wake up every day with a purpose: We wake up often knowing we should be doing something important today, but have failed to plan! Prepare for our higher purpose otherwise our day will become less productive.
- Uniforms, books and stationery: Make sure uniforms are purchased timeously and that it conforms to Sharia (Islamic requirements). If your kids encounter any resistance from the educational institution regarding their Islamic attire or other Islamic practices, then be diplomatic, discuss and resolve the matter with management respectfully. Also ensure that you obtained a list of stationery and text books required early so that it could be budgeted for and purchased well before hand.
- Lunch boxes, breakfasts and diets: Research shows that breakfast eaters have better concentration and muscle co-ordination. Kids need healthy lunch box snacks that maintain blood glucose levels which help concentration, so keep away from fuzzy drinks, chips and chocolates for lunch. A good idea is to plan a lunch box menu for the week.
- Take account of yourself daily: We need to be alert of our development so that we progress. Therefore, we need to daily reflect on our progress or a lack of it. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) has said, “the feet of the son of Adam will not move on the Day of Judgement until he is asked about five things: how he spent his life, how he spent his youth, from where he acquired his wealth and how he spent it, and what he did with his knowledge.” So we need to be conscious on how we profitably use every second of our lives.
Remember that a Muslim sets goals that are in harmony with our accountability in the Aakhirah (Hereafter)… so take pen to paper and plan for a better life, seeking Allah Ta’ala’s Guidance, Help and Forgiveness. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) has encouraged us to make the following Dua “Oh our Lord, give us good in this world and good in the Hereafter, and save us from the torment of the fire.”
Back to School may be demanding and at times stressful but keep in mind that an investment in knowledge always pays the best returns!