We live in a world where children are increasingly being taught cheating, deception, and violence as a result of them playing games and using applications on tablets and smartphones. In this atmosphere of fear and distrust, how is a parent to pass on a tender heart to their children? How can I teach my children to be compassionate and caring? Such is the dilemma I faced.
She stands firmly against a linen white wall, an odd shaped red chair with swirling shadow stripes, making it come alive. She beams with radiance, waiting patiently for someone to be seated. Waiting for someone to tell her story. Waiting… Continue reading The Red Chair
For the first time in almost a score of years, my wife and I found ourselves looking at each other – without any distractions. No errands to run, no dishes to wash, no mess to clean up. With kids safely with their grandparents, we found ourselves filled with joy, like happy teenagers whose parents are off to Hawaii for a month!!
In the past decade or so, a horrendous word has become part of our common language; terrorist! Islamist and Jihadist have taken root in about the same time. Putting the two together, we find ourselves facing a term that is awesome for the economy yet fearful for you and I. It allows nations to steal natural resources to their hearts desire, it allows wolves to sell guns, bombs. It sells news and makes the world go round, at least for those left standing. It is fearful in terms that our lives may be cut short by those who subscribe to such horrors.
Today, we find ourselves facing this apprehensive term: Islamist Terrorist. What is an Islamist Terrorist? Put simply, this is a term attributed towards people who claim to commit murder in the name of Allah. Allah being Muslim name for God of Abraham, of Ishmael and Isaac, of Buddha and Krishna, of Moses and Jesus.
Some claim that Allah told them to do so. Some claim that they are defending the honour of the Holy Prophet of Islam. Some point out that they are merely protecting their right to bear arms. All have one thing in common, they kill. They take away children from mothers and destroy peace, annihilating all that is good for mankind!!
I too fear these barbaric people, for I am a Muslim. I raise my children on the principles of Islam, the very fundamentals of Islam. Does that make me a terrorist? Am I raising warmongers or peacemakers? You may wonder, what does Islam teach? In a nutshell, Islam teaches that God created everything and He is the Most Gracious and the Most Merciful. He does NOT desire ill for us. Islam teaches that all life is precious and killing a person is like killing the entire human race! My elders have taught me that being unkind is equally bad, so be watchful of your covenants and relations; your word is your promise, so honour it. That is what I teach my children. All humans are equal, they all deserve respect and they all deserve love. Harmonious living is not a dream, it is a reality. Let’s embrace it. Let’s live it!!
Many moons ago, I was afraid of African friends, of folks from First Nations. I was fearful of those who had tattoos, shaven heads and pierced bodies! I would cross the street and take the long way if I saw such folks walking my way. Till one day, when I read the last message of the Prophet of Islam, I realised, that we are all equal. Children of the same God. My first step was to learn, to get to know the ones I feared. Today I have friends who are proud to be African, who are Cree and Mikmaq, who have Tattoos and body piercing. I’m not afraid. I take my children to diversity festivals and encourage them to be friends with minorities, with those whom they fear. Alas, that cannot be said true of many other parents who are fearful. Fearful of colour, of clothes that are different and languages they do not understand, of food they do not like. It is this fear that they do not understand and it is this fear that they instil into the hearts of their offsprings.
Children are born of innocence. It is our job as parents to help them grow, to nurture them, to groom them, to make them a citizen of this world. They are unafraid. As our children learn from us, we can learn from them. They can help us grow! If you are afraid, hold their hand and let their energy flow through you. Let them guide you to open diverse doors, each colourful and exotic with its own story.
On one hand we talk about freedom of choice, freedom of words, schools free of uniforms, of religion, and children free to do what they please, yet we complain that ‘they’ are not like us? There are too many of ‘them’ and ‘they’ are taking away our lifestyle? What lifestyle are you preserving my dear? One of fear, of distrust? Isn’t that what killed 50 people in Orlando? Isn’t that what has killed Millions in Syria and Iraq? Do you stand proud of Adam Lanza and Seung-Hui Cho? Do you find yourself echoing words of Arnaud Amalric “Kill them all. For the Lord knows those that are His own?” Syndicates like National Rifle Association and Islamic State thrive on this fear. Don’t let them grow! Don’t become a means of prosperity for the ones who are out to destroy peace.
I spend countless hours with my children, guiding them towards humbleness, towards meekness. In moments of uncertainty, I seek energy from them and let the words of the Prophet mentor us. He advised us to ask the learned, speak with the wise and associate with the poor.
There is much to be said, much to be learned, much to be heard. Fear will only leave you standing where you are today. Grow with love, grow in peace.
I leave you today with a thought that we live and breathe everyday. Love for All, Hatred for None.
Till we meet again, stay in peace, and grow in diversity!
Imagine you are lost in the woods. It is getting dark, storm clouds are rising in the east and sounds of horror are emerging all around you. Your mind is starting to trick you into seeing creatures surrounding you. Your heart is racing and fear is rising. Amongst this, a figure of care, love and compassion emerges from the darkness, surrounds you with their love. In a heartbeat, there is no fear, there is no darkness, there is no doubt. Just love, just assurance.
This person who appears when all seems lost and holds you in their arms and gives you unconditional love and assures you, is your mother.
A mother, by definition is a female figure. I beg to differ. Mother is a role that a person plays, male or female, family or friend, that takes you into a comfort zone, where you are not threatened.
I am fortunate to have four mothers. My biological mother and father who loved me, nourished me and raised me to where I stand today. Then my mother in-law and father in-law, who welcomed me into their lives, trusted me with well being of their daughter and supported me everytime I fell. I am fortunate that my children have two mothers, my wife and I.
My parents, yes all four of them, taught me as did my elders that a mother is your passage to paradise. A mother is to be respected, regardless of how harsh they may seem at times. I learnt that if all men started to respect women and all women respected men, this world will be a sunny warm beach with a gentle breeze caressing over every nation and every land. They taught me that Men and Women are equal in every aspect. Their roles as mothers and fathers are equal in every respect. Every human – equal.
What type of a man are you? Do you respect the person behind the skin? Are you a man who believes that might is right? Or perhaps you are a man who affirms that his way is the only way? Do you hold hands with your spouse and walk together or do you open the door and honour their right to lead?
What type of a man are you? I am, by the Grace of God, a man who believes that every woman is to be respected and honored, just like every man is to be respected and honored. I am a father who teaches his children that every day is mothers day, so honor it, respect it and celebrate it. I am a mother who teaches that nations cannot be reformed unless its children are reformed.
So, on this Mothers day, I ask you: What type of a man are you?
Till we meet again, stay in Peace.
Respect, Integrity, Honesty, values that we desire for our children. Sometimes, I wonder – How many of us cherish these values?
Couple of weeks ago, we were heading downtown. The car in front of us had a large sticker posted on it: “No one gives a d**m about your stick family.” We do not have stick family displayed on our car, yet the audacity of the cite appalled me. My son commented “How rude?” and I concurred.
Respect for our neighbours, our friends and foes alike, is what my parents taught me. Integrity in face of adversity is a value they demonstrated time and again. Honesty, even if faced with personal loss is what our elders taught us, with their examples. How do I teach these values to my children, I wondered?
We spoke about respect and what it means. We spoke about integrity and honesty. Yes, there are times when you do not see another person’s viewpoint. Yes, there are times when weight of your words far out weigh others. It is during times like these that your respect for another persons belief will shine with silence and dignity. This is when your honesty illuminates the essence of respect, deepening the roots of integrity.
It was a simple sticker that prompted such pleasant dialogue. A mere nine word sentence. I was pleased to see my children reflect those values that are dear to me, that are dear to our elders. The fabric of this society is being threatened by confusion, by deception and unfaithfulness. It is always pleasant to see a thread that promises to hold it all together.
May God bless my children. May they become productive, positive and meaningful contributors to establishing peace of our World. May God bless you and your children in the same manner.
In a display of good values, many are getting together to support Special Olympics. We will be there, supporting them all the way, as they are #FreezinForAReason and taking a #polarplunge