This week, Crescent Moon Bookstore discusses seven ways to inculcate patience(Sabr) and gratitude(Shukr) in kids.
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As the world heads into the Thanksgiving season in full swing, Muslim families face the challenge of whether to celebrate it or not. All of us are looking for ways to boost Islamic values in our families and can be bogged down by indecision when it comes to, "Can Muslims celebrate Thanksgiving?" So, the answer to this question is fairly simple.
Islam does not recognize Thanksgiving and advises us not to celebrate it, but some Muslims do observe Thanksgiving as a day or event.
Based on the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH),
“He who imitates any people (in their actions) is considered to be one of them.” Abu Dawud and Ibn Hibban Book 16, Hadith 35
So, what can we do to be good role models to our children during this celebratory season while also upholding their childish innocence and sentiments and not forgoing the teachings of our deen?
Read along as Crescent Moon Bookstore discusses how you can use this time to inculcate in your children patience and gratitude, two highly rewarded characteristic traits in Islam, which are also the foundations of Thanksgiving.
Significance of Sabr and Shukr in Islam
Sabr and Shukr go hand in hand in Islam. We get rewarded for both-being patient and being grateful. In the Quran, we get several reminders to persevere in the face of calamities and give thanks to Allah SWT for the good and the bad in our lives. Trusting wholeheartedly in Allah’s SWT decree and knowing that no harm nor success can come to us but by His command is the key to experiencing Sabr and Shukr in our lives. The Holy Quran mentions,
إِنَّ اللّهَ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ
“Indeed Allah is with the patient” (2:153)
وَٱشۡكُرُواْ لِلَّهِ إِن ڪُنتُمۡ إِيَّاهُ تَعۡبُدُونَ
… and be grateful to Allah, if it is Him you worship.” (2:172)
Reasons Why Children Can Seem Impatient
Before we dive into how we can teach children about patience, it is essential to understand why our kids act out of haste. Some reasons what your child’s restlessness is trying to tell you are:
Due to a lack of attention. Expect your kids to get moody and impatient when you are not giving them the focus they deserve. And this is not when you turn towards them for fulfilling their basic needs, like serving dinner, etc. Children crave and thrive on attention and appreciation from their parents, and so without it, they will quickly reach a point where they seem to be nagging you repeatedly.
Due to a lack of power over their surroundings (and you). Children seldom have any control or power over what's happening around them. For example, if you get an unexpected call that takes up the time that you had promised to spend with your kids, it is natural for them to get restless and clingy.
Due to a lack of understanding of time. Not all children are able to tell the time or even understand the concept of waiting a certain while before they get what they want. When they hear, “two minutes please,” or “just a sec,” their minds cannot grasp the duration. This can cause uncomfortable situations where the kid impatiently waits for their plea to be heard.
Due to a lack of met needs. Children of all ages can be impatient and moody when they are hungry, sleepy, tired, overstimulated, understimulated, or even anxious. It is undoubtedly unfair to call a child temperamental when we are testing their very patience!
7 Ways to Teach Patience (Sabr) and Gratitude (Shukr) to Children
Teach the words Sabr and Shukr
Kids will model what you say and do. Speak the word “Sabr” to your kids from a very early age; in fact, you can even say it to your infant as you get ready to feed them. For toddlers, add a gesture with the word to signify waiting. Similarly, remember to thank your little ones for the many simple and beautiful things they do to make us happy. Make it a daily habit to express gratitude to Allah SWT by saying, “Alhamdulilah,” and encourage your kids to do the same. Allah made you a girl Alhamdulilah is a beautiful book that centers around expressing gratitude to Allah SWT.
Counting Down With Your Kids
This is a tried and tested method that helps kids understand the concept of time as it passes. Whenever you are occupied and your children ask for your attention, tell them you will be with them in 20 seconds. Then, slowly and deliberately count from 1-20 loudly. Once you hit 20, leave all that you are doing and give them their due time and attention, AND thank them for their patience. This activity strengthens Sabr ‘skills’ in children, and your appreciation goes a long way in motivating them to keep up with their efforts.
Read Aloud with Your Kids
Reading together about the virtues and rewards of Sabr in Islam can really reinforce the meaning in our children’s minds. Speak about how Sabr does not only mean patience, but it also signifies endurance, resilience, and our trust in Allah SWT. Read stories of the history of Islam and discuss how early Muslims embodied this trait during times of extreme hardship and difficulties. The Age of Bliss Series and the Stories of the Prophets are a fantastic collection of books that explore this topic in Messengers of Allah SWT and the companions of Prophet Mohammad PBUH.
Indulge in Crafts and Activities on Shukr
We love doing activities that reflect our thankfulness to Allah SWT. The Shukr Jar is a family favorite. It’s quite a simple activity where once a week, we get together, and each family member writes one thing they are grateful for and drops it into the Shukr Jar. Once a month, we empty the jar and have a great time reading out what we have written. We also got the idea of making a pair of ‘gratitude glasses’ after reading my daughter’s favorite book, Mr. Gamal’s Gratitude Glasses.
Gift them a Gratitude Journal
If your kids are grown enough to write, teach them to fill in a gratitude journal. Writing helps internalize feelings of gratitude and thankfulness. Creating an inventory of the “good stuff” helps them realize all that Allah SWT has blessed them with. Think of it as a ‘count your blessings’ activity in a written format. Click here to browse through our collection of journals and journaling stickers!
Be Mindful of your Lifestyle
Who doesn't like living life king-size? We all love and yearn for the luxuries of life. But too many comforts can also create a distance between us and Allah SWT. Practice a minimalistic lifestyle and encourage your kids to do the same from a very early age. Make a list of what they need versus what they want, and try your best to balance both. Not getting everything that they wish for also teaches children a valuable lesson in patience, and receiving a few presents each year allows for gratitude to blossom in their hearts.
Model the Concept of Sadaqah
The concept of gratitude is, in reality, strange. It doesn't increase when you have more; rather, the more we give to others, the more grateful we feel. Encourage your family to participate in charity events where your kids can get to know the less fortunate members of your community and be grateful for what they have.
The Akhlaq Building Series by Ali Gator Publishers is a unique set of books for little Muslims that introduces this Sunnah of sharing what you love, helping others, and giving generously. Click here to view the complete collection.
Duas for Patience(Sabr) and Gratitude(Shukr)
Dua and Dhikr are powerful tools that empower children to express their feelings in a constructive manner. Here are some duas you can teach them to recite and remember when they feel like things aren't going their way. You can also read our insightful blog to learn more about emotional management with kids.
"رَبَّنَا أَفْرِغْ عَلَيْنَا صَبْرًا وَتَوَفَّنَا مُسْلِمِينَ
Our Lord, pour upon us patience and cause us to die as Muslims.
سُبْحَانَ اللهِ وَبِحَمْدِهِ عَدَدَ خَلْقِهِ، وَرِضَا نَفْسِهِ، وَزِنَةَ عَرْشِهِ وَمِدَادَ كَلِمَاتِهِ
Glory and praise to be to Allah, to the number of His creations, and in line with His Pleasure, the weight of His Throne, and the extent of His Words.
This Thanksgiving, let's try these 7 ideas to teach our kids about patience and gratitude to Allah SWT. What are some of your family’s favorite tips and tricks to inculcate sabr and shukr? Drop a comment and let us know!