In addition to teaching madressa and a playgroup, I also tutor high school students in mathematics and English literature. This offers me a unique perspective into the mindsets and thought processes of young people of all ages, in almost every developmental phase, from the 3 year olds in the playgroup, to 7-11 year olds in madressa and even the 14 year olds I tutor.
Whilst the younger kids are consumed with curiosity and bubble over with enthusiasm for EVERY thing, I have to admit I enjoy talking to the teenagers immensely. Having conversations where they explain their points of view, what they’re passionate about, seeing society through their eyes is indeed very interesting. Using literature as a basis, its easy to draw them into conversation and see their ideology. At times its filled with a kind of passion that only the youth seem to exude; at times its disturbing in a way that can only be contributed to current state of societal decay; and at times its absurd in a way that can only be attributed to inexperience. That being said, its never dull, and often leads me to think about myself at that age, and how teenage-me would be shocked to find my life the way it is now, some (most) of it trivial!
1. I grew up at the coast, and loved the ocean. I could have never imagined living away from the sea…
And now, I live almost 7 hours away from the coast, and if I manage to go visit my home town, 3 times a year, I would consider myself lucky. I still adore the ocean, but guess what? I’ve survived without seeing it every single weekend.
2. As a teenager, one of greatest aspirations was to get my drivers licence and imagined being one of those people who simply got into the drivers seat and raced off to wherever I wanted be.
I never imagined being gripped with paralysing fear of being in control of a vehicle or using a pregnancy as an excuse to stop driving completely. Now almost 11 years after getting my licence I am starting to overcome that fear. Not so much out of choice, but more based on necessity.
3. When I was in high school, my best subjects were the sciences and english. I had a romanticised notion of being a famous scientist, making huge breakthroughs in a laboratory, discovering new medicines, cures for horrid diseases… But alas, another plan that went completely off-course! Straight after high school, I did register for a BSc degree, but worked at a day-clinic at the same time. Being in constant contact with people who are ill, and in pain, leaves a deep impact on you. I think, at the time, I was simply too young to handle the emotional attachment that came along with the job, so after a while I completely dis-engaged from anything science-related.
And now, I teach, and this fills my heart with such joy, and sense of accomplishment Alhamdulillah.
I am eternally grateful to my parents for never ‘boxing’ me into a compartment or category, and simply giving me the freedom to choose my own path, for never forcing me into things I wasn’t dedicated to, for always providing the opportunities for me to make my own decisions.
Young idealistic personalities fueled by passion are beautiful to watch, but even better to sit back and watch their pathways unfurl and take them on journeys unexpected.
Once again, reminding me of the Quraanic verse where Allaah says:
“If Allah helps you, none can overcome you: if He forsakes you, who is there after that that can help you? In Allah, then, let believers put their trust.”
Aal-e-Imran – 3:160
My parents have always instilled in me and my siblings, that ultimately life will lead you where you’re meant to be. To do your best, and then trust in Allaah, for His plan for your life is better than any you could possibly dream up for yourself. This is certainly true for me…
Now as parents, its our job to support and guide our own children, to provide opportunities for them to explore, to learn, the freedom to stumble, change direction if need be, and to instill in them this faith in Allaah. May He ,Ya-Lateefu, help us in this mission. Ameen.