Sunday, May 25, 2014

Trip to Abu Dhabi

A few weeks ago we took a day trip to Abu Dhabi. I have always believed that travel was an essential component to a child's education, but now I am slowly starting to see the difference it is making in my children. While at Abu Dhabi we visiting the Abu Dhabi Grand Mosque. This was actually the first time my kids and I have experienced a mosque of this magnitude, grandeur, and beauty. Until this point we have been traveling around Europe and have only been able to see beautiful Cathedrals and churches, but to actually come face to face with a holy place our your background and religion is an incredible feeling. One that makes you feel proud and thankful to be who you are and to know that you are not alone, when sometimes it easy to feel that way, even though it is a known fact that there over 1 billion Muslims world wide.

Since arriving in Dubai my kids have become obsessed with Masjid's (mosques). They never fail to point them out as we pass them, and if you have ever been to Dubai, then you know that you will pass a mosque every 2 minutes :). We were able to pray inside the Grand Mosque, explore, and take in the beauty, and the smells of the incense. Children reading Quran and praying besides their parents. Even the bathrooms were made of marble stone and had flowing fountains for making Wudu (the cleansing ritual before prayer). Its a shame that in the USA we weren't able to be in such amazing homes of worship.

But being here was important in solidifying our roots and beliefs as a family. It is something tangible to show my kids that our religion is beautiful, it is serene and peaceful, and clean and demands attention. And I didn't have to sit down and giver my kids a lesson on these facts or a lecture. All they had to do was observe, and use their 5 senses to gain an understanding of these important concepts and to gain a respect for their identities. Hopefully, our next stop will be Mecca and Medina inshaallah. Religion is something that is often very abstract for children. But as Muslims, we live our religion day in and day out. We praise and seek guidance in our creator in everything we do and every thought that we have. The daily obligations are easily seen and learned so that it becomes apart of the children as they grow up. It becomes a natural habit for example to pray 5 times a day. But there is a bigger picture to paint, and by seeking out these kinds of experiences and taking these sorts of trips aids in instilling this larger message in a child's mind.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

A loss for words

Sometimes I feel like I should have so much to say and experiences and thoughts to share with the world, yet my mind is a blank slate. My thoughts are jumbled, my emotions unstable and these days I seem to feel mostly like I am drowning in a sea of confusion and indecisiveness. We have been in Dubai now for 4 months and more than ever I find myself constantly questioning my decisions. Knowing that I could somehow make better ones and do more.

It's a strange feeling to have no control over something. And while there are certain things that will forever remain out of our control, there are others we can control. For me, I feel like I have lost control over my daughters education. I have placed her education in the hands of others. And although I am happy with her school as is she, and while she is visibly learning so much everyday, I cant shake the fact that somehow I could provide her with more, with a better education, more experiences and learning opportunities and that  I am limiting her. There are only so many hours in a day and only so many days in a week, months in year, and so on. I am losing time with every day that passes. All I notice is how much she has grown as a person and physically of course. But is she growing into the person I want her to be? Are our priorities for her education being placed above everything else? Most of the time the answer I come up with is NO! And that causes me to feel like I must make immediate changes.

These changes will not come easy either. Making the decision to pull her out of her alternative school and homeschool her full-time would mean a major life transition and adjustment. Especially with a 3yr old and a baby on the way. But I have been unable to school her at home the way I used to when she was only in school until 12:30. Now the day has extended to 2pm as she has gotten bigger. Although I have managed to fit in a couple of extras such as swimming and Quran, I don't like to put too much into the week. I like the kids to have lots of free play time. Hopefully I will continue to make improvements in their education that I believe in and that these changes are the right decision.