over the last two days I shared in the posts “planting a seed of meditation and inner communion in our children” and “introducing our children to authentic spiritual expression“, steps how to talk to the next generation about prayer, meditation and developing an internal connection to the higher self. Today we are talking about purity to our path and acting on the guidelines we share.
I hope this trilogy of expects has provided lots of loving guidance, valuable insides and helpful tools for you. May they serve you well in your attempt to support your children on their path of developing a spiritual practice for themselves.
Love and Blessings!
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Teaching our children and teenagers to perform obligatory prayers, is a delicate and often stressful matter for families. What is the divine guidance on the matter? When and how is it best done? Parenting expert Hina Khan-Mukhtar sheds some light.
6) “Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.” – Rumi
For some kids, positive sensory associations are very important in creating an attachment to prayer. From a young age, my boys have taken great pride in dressing up for Jumah (Friday) prayers in their best clothes, wearing their best perfume and their best kufis (prayer hats). We always set out their most special clothes for the most special of days, and they feel noble and dignified as they wash and dress for going to the mosque on Friday afternoons. I know of one mom who created a magical “prayer corner” in her daughter’s bedroom, complete with a lace canopy that cascaded down over an intricately embroidered prayer mat and an ornate table that held a beautifully designed Quran and crystal prayer beads. Other parents regularly light sweetly scented incense or candles during prayer time in the home. One mother used to wear a silk prayer gown stamped with gold and silver block print for her night prayers; her children sometimes have compared her to a princess, other times to an angel. These are examples of kids who saw, heard, smelled, and tasted nothing but beauty and elegance when it came to prayer in their homes.7) Aspire to be what you want them to be.
No one recognizes hypocrisy quicker than a child. The truth of the matter is that you can encourage and teach a child to pray all you want, but if you’re not going to pray, the chances are highly likely that he/she’s not going to pray either. And letting a child witness that you pray isn’t always enough either. What about how you pray? Are you rushed and distracted? Are you nonchalant if you miss the prayer? I know of an adult who remembers his own father weeping when he once missed a prayer, and that reaction made more of an impression on him about the importance of prayer than all the lectures in the world ever could.
In conclusion, I feel it’s important to confess how emotionally difficult it was for me to actually write this article. I’ve been analyzing what my hesitation was, and I realize that it was rooted in the fear that my words will come across as preachy and imbued with a sense of self-satisfaction when nothing could be farther from the truth. Another part of me worries that I will somehow jinx my family by admitting to the world that my husband and kids are regular with their prayers. I remember when I had my first son in 1997, how desperate I was to find any kind of reading material that would help motivate and guide me in teaching him the fundamentals of this beautiful tradition.
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