by Attiqa Syeda Mother of 2, Wife, Muslim, Entrepreneur, Writer, & Educator
In Silence, The World Moans.
The world has experienced a lot of pain, loss, grief, and discomfort in the past two years. Disease, natural and environmental catastrophes, conflict, and war… reflecting upon it can tighten our chest. Whether we hold a penny or a debit card with unlimited cash access, everyone experienced hardship of some kind. This article, however, is not about that. It’s about the power of intention, of simple acts, and gratitude. Through it, I hope to convey how ordinary acts can hold great meaning.
“I’m in Love with the Little Things”
One of my favorite parts of the day is its close. Simple routines: eating dinner together, watching the kids’ favorite show, getting ready for bed. Every night, the kids find a reason to tease and make one another laugh. The night can never close without me holding a book, as the kids get tucked in bed, peeking through the sheets with curious, wondering eyes, ready to travel to another world before resting in this one. The magic comes back as I smile, taking me back to my other world, as well.
Through books, my kids and I have met people that reflect the ugliest side of humanity, and others that ascend to unimaginable heights of beauty through their character. We have had conversations about topics that would otherwise not come up naturally. Reading together shapes their worldview while giving them the opportunity to see and experience ours as parents.
For my family and me, books are a tool that help us connect in a deeper way through a simple routine weaved into our daily lives: bedtime reading. For you and your family, it may be watching a show that your kids like together, cooking together, painting together, going to a park: the key is how we approach that activity (our intention) and making it a part of our daily routine (consistency). It can become another to-do list item in your day, or a source of joy that helps strengthen your relationship with each other. You can choose what it can be.
Stopping to Catch the Magic
Sharing space with our kids doesn’t necessarily mean that we are investing time in each other. If we are distracted, worried about a hundred other things, or multi-tasking instead of being present with them we are missing a great shared opportunity. A few things to keep in mind that can help us be more present with our children:
• Spend uninterrupted time consistently
• Turn off notifications and any electronic devices during the “us” time
• Be comfortable with your mistakes and failures as well as theirs. When appropriate, solicit their advice on issues you are seeking clarity on. They will in due time reciprocate :)
• Remember to smile and show gratitude for one another Children Grow and Evolve, so Should Our Parenting Approach
The writings of a contemporary psychologist and thinker, Dr. Abdullah Rothman, have inspired me a lot. He’s written extensively about commonalities in modern psychology with a faith-based worldview, especially as it relates to child development and growth, both physical and mental. In the essay, “Mental health and religious identity”, Dr. Rothman’s ideas and research are explored as they connect the psychology of child development and growth to the advice attributed to one of the first leaders of Islam, Ali Ibn Talib:
“Play with them for the first seven years (of their life); then teach them for the next seven years; then befriend them for the next seven years (and after that).”
This advice serves as a reminder about the different phases of child development and growth and what we need to be thinking about and should be intending and doing in each stage. It invites us to make our intentions and evolve our approach over time as our children develop.
Stopping for ordinary moments can allow us to live out the reality of our intentions- be more deliberate, be more present, and be more grateful.1 We no longer have to chase the magic, because we can live it every moment. So, capture the full magic of your ordinary, simple moments in life because we all can. We all should.
Attiqa Syeda is the co-founder, development & financial director of Sanad Trust Foundation. She is passionate about her work in education, wellness, and community service and loves being a part of a grassroots organization that serves the local community of South Florida close to her heart. You can learn more about STF at www.sanadtrust.org or contact Attiqa by phone at firstname.lastname@example.org.