Tuesday, September 09, 2008

How fast time flies... NOT!

It's not so easy fasting when you're on daylight saving time (DST). This is the convention of advancing clocks so that you have longer afternoon daylight and less morning daylight. For instance, now we'd be breaking our fasts around 7.42pm but by the end of the month, it will be an hour earlier (plus the fact that our days are getting shorter as winter is approaching, so minus about 30 minutes to that).
Fasting in a foreign land is different. The fasting ambience is not really there as people around you eat and stuff their faces just like any other day. For children, school activities remain the same, although of course, you could always request for some leniency. As a matter of fact, the school my children attend made a note to parents stating that we are encouraged to "allow children to eat breakfast and lunch and drink water freely on the days they attend school and observe their fast at weekends, if they wish to do so. We know how a good diet and drinking plenty of water is to enabling our brains to function at their best."
So, what do you think? What's the right age to start fasting? Are we putting our children's brains at risk?
My children know the reasons Muslims have to fast. It is good for both the physical and mental. The month of Ramadhan is a holy month - so special to Muslims as Allah is extremely generous to us this month. Hopefully, what we practice in this holy month will continue in the months to come.
Nonetheless, they ask, Mommy, is it okay if children don't fast?
Hence, I try to explain to them by comparing fasting to the other important ibadah: praying (solah). Didn't the prophet say that we have to teach our children to pray at a young age, 7? And that we should cane them if they don't by the age of 10? (3 years of training) Yes, it may seem harsh but we get the message - training at a young age is essential for good upbringing.
And that's what I tell my children. It may not be totally wrong for you to not pray or fast, because you are still a child. But to pray and fast correctly is a skill and it requires time and practice. Oh, come on - how many of us adults really perform our solah perfectly every single time, whilst understanding every single word or ayat, and being 100% khusyu'?
So, my Little D has not fasted a full day yet. The longest is up to 3pm on our first day of Ramadhan in Malaysia. On some days, he gets up with us for Sahoor and brings his lunch to school. That's okay for a 5 1/2 year old boy to me.
Princess (8), on the other hand, is trying to get a full month. Well, minus the day we were travelling of course. Last year, she didn't fast on days she had PE or on days she wasn't really up to it. I somehow have a soft spot for that little girl of mine. But this year, we're trying to go all out. InsyaAllah.
My twins, who just turned 11 last Saturday, will have to accept the fact that they can't have any excuses. Chuckle. Not really. They have missed one day (musafir) and will probably miss another 5 days next week! Their teachers have offered them to go on a residential trip free of charge. Since the boys are so keen to go and have actually been begging me since last April (I think), I thought I'd finally give in. This is probably an opportunity that they ought not miss. They'd be involved in activities like canoeing, climbing and abseiling, orienteering and walking. These were the activities I enjoyed whilst a student in Edinburgh. Surely, they will enjoy it as much I did. I told them they need not fast then (who'd prepare sahoor, wake them up, etc) but must observe their prayers religiously. Do you think they'll be able to?
We try our best to make Ramadhan a special month in our own special ways. We perform our prayers and tarawih together, and read the Quran as often as we can together too. I tell them stories of the prophets and the companions as role models to us. I try to vary our meals by serving different items for iftar (breaking fast) and sahoor. My children are not big eaters and are not really rice eaters either. Hence, it's either noodles, spaghetti, rice porridge, murtabak, bread or the likes when we don't have rice for one of the other meals. Having fruits and a dessert is also a must for them - though how much can you eat when the eyes are already drooping (8pm here is 3am in Malaysia!).
It's the 9th of Ramadhan today and so far, all seems okay - Alhamdulillah. I am, for the first time after 10 months, feeling confident of myself. Confident that Allah HAS given me the strength and the means to be in control of my life, with His will. This is the blessings of Ramadhan. Last year, by this time, I was rushing between work, hospital and home. Last year's Ramadhan was different in it's own way. This year, it will be different too - we will grab this opportunity to be at our best together. Always together and closer to Him, InsyaAllah...

25 comments:

Ms B said...

Hi d,

I never impose on my daughter but she is keen to do it. It makes a difference when one has to do vs wants to do. I feel she understands the reason of ibadah compare to some people. Probably it is the way we are exposed that we explain things in a simpler and rational manner to them.

Babe, I have ur no and texted u 1-2 weeks ago. will try to text again.

ps: Oh, one bouquet of flowers for gaining that confidence back. *winks*

F manchester said...

Salam D,

My little one hasn't even begun atempting to fast so thumbs up for little D! I will convince her to try once we're back for raya- hope her cousins will influence her.

As for the praying- I'll be lucky if she would tag along for magrib prayers once a week... sigh... Insya'ALLAH I will push her forward on that one.

dak wan ... said...

salam...

melentur buluh biar dari rebung. InsyaAllah, niat yang baik tentu dpt ganjaran yg setimpal.

So far never heard people died out of fasting but ramaiiii yang mati sebab makanan!

Iza-Zulkifli said...

kak D...i think the age to start is 7, and if they fail to do it by 10, we should cane them. however, i'm all on start early although my harith don't think so. i think he's the same age as Little D..so puasa separuh hari..standard la kan..heee..

Count Byron said...

May Allah bless you for your tenacity in bringing up your 4 excellent children. I am touched by your past experience. And Allah has great rewards in store for you, D.
Your twins are 11. [And I started fasting at about that age too *s*, a bit late compared to my contemporaries. You read how my dad pampered me with fruits in broad day lights in ramadhan - not that he was 'unholy', in fact he was a very strict Muslim, very].
For your twins, u can tell them that they can break their fast because of their status as Musafir. [At 11, especially when they have come of age, the reason must be clear when one breaks one's fast]
I am happy with your immense concern for ur children's Islamic upbringing. You have done us [back home] proud, D

myheartbleeds said...

helloooo... good to hear you're feeling great. Alhamdulillah...

my girls didn't even attempt fasting until they are in Std 1. You are doing such a great job with the kids, dear... bravo!!

cikdinz said...

belajar dulu....
nanti dah biasa senang kan...

azwan said...

if i'm not mistaken, canning starts at 10.

anyway, my son started berpuasa masa darjah satu, tu pun sebab ramai kawan-kawan kat sekolah berpuasa. yang nombor 2, baru tahun, belum lagi, maybe next year akan ajak dia berpuasa sekali. sekarang ni dia join sahur dan berbuka, tapi tak puasa :)

so, how's everything. lama tak singgah sini.

lady pot pet said...

D, my children they don't have problem fasting at their school here in Scotland. My little one is fasting and so far..so good. The school understands that we are observing ramadan..siap ader bilik untuk solat lagi disediakan

mamalisa said...

so long not come here, how are u Kak D..hope u in a great life :)

It easier to let them expose to the puasa, bak kata org melentur buluh biarlah dari rebungnya, good luck to lil D!

Suzana Abd Manan said...

Salam D,
Pengalaman mendidik anak-anak berpuasa memang mencabar juga. Anak-anak akak mula berpuasa pada usia 6 tahun. Memang kena banyak memujuk dari memaksa. Insyallah lama-lama mereka faham. Doa akak agar D sekeluarga sejahtera selalu ye.

maklang said...

selamat berpuasa D..

Alhamdulillah setakat ni Akim is still fasting...

Little D tu kecik sangat lagi...

nurazzah8 said...

Salam D, Glad to know that you are doing great there... my little Hana pun baru start puasa separuh hari...

eh... I like the picture above...cute Little D!

myheartbleeds said...

The new banner!! I like, I like!!

Kak Elle said...

rumah baru untuk raya huh?glad you picking up the pieces and happy whats in store for the family.

Anonymous said...

great picture / banner .give a cheery look.great job with the kids :)

-ulf-

D said...

ms b,
yes, confidence is back - have to maintain it though...

f manchester,
my little D has older siblings to follow. He's just a tad too manja..

dak wan,
iya la.. lagi banyak bencananya makanan kan?

iza-zulkifli & azwan,
caning at 7 or 10? have to check balik la.. but of course, corporal punishment is only the last resort.

count byron,
thank you for your kind words and support, but i am just another woman trying to give the best to her children, especially when it comes to preparation for the hereafter.

myheartbleeds,
i never make a fuss when they're in kindy. over here, the standards must somehow go a little lower. kasi can la.. btw - banner tu gambar lama but my fav!

cikdinz,
yelah.. practice makes perfect kan?

lady pot pet,
yes, some schools can be so supportive. ours is okay in other senses, but somehow, they have drawn a line somewhere. still, everything is manageable.

mamalisa,
we try and we pray hard. yup, lama tak singgah ke sana jugak. u ok?

suzana,
hi neighbour! yelah kak, banyak permainan psychology, kan?

mak lang,
hehe... Little D tu akan sentiasa perasan dia kecik. tapi tak pe la. tahun depan darjah 1 kalau kat malaysia tu. syabas untuk Akim!

nurazzah8 @ kak azzah,
gambar lama tu kak, tapi my favourite.

kak elle,
yes, i'm picking up the pieces and using super glue to fix them together!

anon @ ulf,
it's the way forward kan?

Anonymous said...

yeah.agreed :)

-ulf-

Nadia said...

kak d,

glad to know you're doing good back there safe and sound :) alhamdulillah

alah my mom dulu kat taiwan my adik2 skolah amreican school pun cikgu ckp cantu gak...but for us, ad hadith yg diaorg used to give their children dolls to play with sampai waktu berbuka so this is proof train budak puasa dr kecik ...plus fasting is healthy (not the reason why we fast) as it gives our tummies a break///it's spiritual purification.so huh yeah...they don't know what they're talking about LOL
or let's just say, allah created us, He told us to fast, and in the hadith even kids fast, and so He knows better, so we do as He says..abih cite :) my boy pun thn ni ada soccer game every saturdya..last yr dia bukak puasa every sabtu sbb games..this yr..i saw his dua list..he mintak dua suh Allah tahankan dia puasa on hari2 yg ada soccer..today is his first soccer day..dia taknak bukak..:P sometimes our kids yg make up their own minds :)
k d, I"m currently taking a class called A heart serene..basically off of ibn qayyim madarij as saalikeen..i find it very ..coforting la...i highly recommend the book for you if you haven't read it already ...i intend to write up my notes on it..nnt I will share with you inshaallah (through email) :D
take care and ramadan mubarak!!

hugs

minnt said...

D,
kecik lagi D..mmm..saiz je kut!! kan sebaya kiyin kan?anyway kiyin puasa school days je!! sbb kat school teachers really encourage. But at home during weekends...while fauzan has his meals,numpang sekaki le ye!!Anyway, nice to know you are doing well with the kids...take care...

nae said...

You sure is one great mom !

IBU said...

Happy settling down,D.

Cute nyerrrr the super models kat banner tu!!

halwafy said...

D, LOVE your new banner!!

cikdinz said...

anak saya yg 5 tahun tu pun payah nak suruh pose.
dah nak dekat raya pun tak dapat lagi ni. 1 hari pun tak dapat...

Working Mom said...

hi d, just my 2 cents worth :) caning is at 10, if i am not mistaken .. sian la kalau at 7.. girls at 7 pun lum masuk puberty lagi ... always remember, Islam is not a harsh religion ... if at 4, 5, 6 or even 7 they r not up to fasting yet .. not push or force them .. we can start encouraging them early .. tell them the reason behind fasting/praying, the beauty of fasting/praying, tell them of Allah and of heaven and hell ... trust me by 7 they will surely want to fast and pray just like their mommy and daddy and friends, etc .. :) even then, if they r too tired or anything up to the point they are not strong enough to go to school .. then do let them break their fast ... remember it's not obligated upon them yet ... it is just as a practice.. and remember to praise them lavishly when they do fast the full period .. :)