Tuesday, March 24, 2009

She is saying grass...

"Did you know that our daughter says grass in school?"

"Grass? What grass?" I muttered, caught by surprise.

"So what do you do when you say grass in school Little One?"

"We thank God for our friends and our food," she answered as she hopped around the kitchen like a bunny.

Bells were ringing a little. Some how saying grace (to us) does have a Christian connotation. Is my child being taught values of a religion which may be different from ours? So how come I didn't blink when they had Santa come to the school and I am somewhat uncomfortable that they are saying grace?

Surely it is a Muslim quality to be thankful and grateful for what we have? Isn't it why we are encouraged to say Alhamdullilah as much as we can?

So we had to ask her exactly what they say when they say grace.

"We say thank you for our friends and our food." Is that all? Anything else?

Its not that I mind her being thankful for her friends and her food. In fact I do encourage her to appreciate and be grateful for what we have.

Just last week she has begun to ask me questions like, "Can we eat pig?"

"No darling, we don't eat pork because we are Muslims."

Should we explain to her more? How much more?

I guess she is telling us it is time for us to teach her more about our faith. She understands that when we hear the prayer call, its "Solat" or time to pray and often asks to pray with us.

I am grateful that she is sent to us not only to bring us joy and strength, but also a reminder such that we can be better people ourselves.

I pray that God gives us the strength and light to teach her the best we can. Not just values of the religion but values that will build the strength of her character that will allow her to make good choices in all aspects of her life.

I would like to think that I am teaching her a world full of unity and similarities and not be afraid of diversity and differences, be it culture or religion.

My daughter, you do put me in a pickle sometimes. It is a precious gift that a person give to another when you make me want to be a better person so I can be a better example for you.

Its tough being a parent! And I am grateful for the opportunity

And most times times it is my little one who is teaching me to be a better parent!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Always for a reason

I cannot tell you how many times I walked past the bookshelf with the books, "Tuesdays with Morrie." It is something that I would normally pick up but I didn't. The time didn't feel right. The book did not call my name.

It just happened that a friend had borrowed a book from a neighbor and I was the intercessor. And the book came to me. I had a weekend when plans had to be shelved. My body seemingly tired. Sulking I buried myself in the book. And oh boy, the words just snowed me under.

If anything, it pointed out to me that I have nothing to sulk about. I have everything to celebrate about my life. And I should embrace and celebrate every minute I can before the inevitable happens.

Here are some of my favorite bits of the books which I want to remember. To remind myself every now and then because the book would have to go forth and bring wisdom to the next reader.

"Do the kinds of things that come from the heart. When you do, you won't be dissatisfied, you won't be envious, you won't be longing for somebody else's things. On the contrary, you'll be overwhelmed with what comes back." pg128

I believe in paying it forward and I believe what you put out there is what you get in return. And I always must remind myself, whatever it is i do has to be Ikhlas, or sincere. From my heart. I should not recount it later but just to cast it out to the wind and forget all about it.

"Part of the problem, Mitch, is that everyone is in such a hurry," Morrie said. "People haven't found meaning in their lives, so they're running all the time looking for it. They think the next car, the next house, the nest job. Then they find those things are empty, too, and they keep running."

Once you start running, I said, it's hard to slow yourself down. Pg 136

I must remember to slow down. To take each day as it comes and not try to rush and cram everything in all at once. Sometimes I feel bogged down by implied expectations. Implied because I know too well myself that its an expectation that I thought was expected of me.

I must remember that its OK to say no. That I don't have to say yes all the time to please other people.

To always take a moment and ask my heart, myself, do I want to do this? So that I am not constantly running on a treadmill on a road to nowhere.

If we saw each other as more alike, we might be eager to join in one big human family in this world, and to care about that family the way we care about our own. pg 156

Its Ok for me to love other people and its OK for them not to love me back. Because the love will come back to me, in other ways and avenues I can't anticipate.

There is no formula to relationships. They have to be negotiated in loving ways, with room for both parties, what they want and what they need, what they can do and what their life is like.

Love us when you are as concerned about someone else's situation as you are your own. pg 178

If not, more ...

I am grateful that the book came to me. Right to my door.