Taleem Institute

It has been estimated that working fathers spend about 3 minutes a day with their children. Fathers who abandon their families, fathers who rarely see their children because of divorce, and fathers who are busy and have little or nothing to do with the raising of their children are common.

Dad gets up early, takes the long drive to work, gets off late, takes the long drive home, and gets home very tired. He just wants to have supper, relax a little, and go to bed so that he can repeat the same routine the next day. Every now and then, he tells himself that he will spend more time with his children tomorrow.

But Muslims are not like that, you say. Perhaps. How much time do you spend with your children during the day? Not just in the same house, but together — together.

“Cats in the Cradle”, by Harry Chapin tells the sad story of a boy who always tries to spend time with his father, but always finds him too busy. When the boy grows up and the father gets older, the father always wants to spend time with his son, but his son always has other things to do.

Quality time spent between a father and his children is essential for both the parent and the children. The children need to know that their father loves and cares for them, and the father needs to be careful that he does not lose his relationship with his children by neglect.

It is Ramadan and parents are proud when our school kids are observing the fast. But as parents are it not our obligation to make our kid’s school administrators, teachers, and classmates aware of this fasting so that negates many misconceptions and also enlightens them on the importance of this month?

By sharing Ramadan with their school administrators and friends, Muslim children feel less awkward identifying themselves as Muslims, since someone in a position of authority has discussed their beliefs. As a result, children often feel more confident and secure.

Muslim children need to feel the importance of their own celebrations and holidays, especially since we are living in a non-Muslim environment where kids don’t see fancy lights and decorations, commercial adverts, or consistent reminders of the “holiday season” during Ramadan.

Talking to your child’s class about Ramadan is a great way to make Dawa to non-Muslim kids and Muslim kids as well, in particular those who may come from non-practicing Muslim families.

There are a couple of tips to keep in mind when approaching the school or your child’s teachers about presenting, as well as for how you present the information to the child’s class.

Tip #1: Start early

Calling your child’s teacher in the middle of Ramadan asking to do a presentation on the topic is too late. Before Ramadan is the best time to bring up the issue, especially considering Christmas is coming up and holidays are on the minds of most people, teachers, and students included. Starting early also helps you think about and gather the right materials to make a good presentation.

Tip #2: Get permission from your child’s teacher

While parents do have a lot of clout in the school system, this does not allow them to show up unexpectedly one day at their son or daughter’s class to do a presentation on Ramadan. Send a note explaining Ramadan and giving a general indication that you want something done about Ramadan. Then wait for the teacher to call. If he or she does not do so within a week, call them, and tell them you are following up on the letter you sent earlier.

Tip #3: Select the right period in which to do the presentation

Does your child study Social Studies? Or does he or she have a period once a week for Moral and Religious education? If so, suggest to the teacher that you would like to do the presentation during these periods. Or, you can of course ask the teacher if he or she has ideas about which time would be best to come in and do the presentation.

Tip #4: Be polite but firm

A good idea is to read the book once and reflect on reading for a few days. Then re-read it again; usually in the second and third readings are discovered details that previously went unnoticed. A book can deal with many topics. The essay cannot be extremely extensive and confusing and address several issues at once. In the essay, less is more. All novels, no matter their subject, deal with many subjects, and offer many possibilities. You can choose a particular character or the historical moment of the author and how it is reflected in the work. Anything that has leaped into view during the reading may be a potential topic for writing the essay. There are many ways to do good brainstorming or brainstorming as it is known in English. The new generations do not usually resort to paper and pencil, but these tools lend themselves to create a diagram that can help at the time of writing. On a sheet of paper write the central theme you want to discuss. For example, the recurrent appearance of a particular symbol in the novel, or the use of certain language by some characters and a different one by others. Maybe you want to deal with the theme of nature in history or perhaps the difficulties that motherhood presents to one of the characters. From the central theme, you want to develop, write short sentences that summarize ideas that you can develop later that topic.

Speaking nicely to people is part of our Deen, including non-Muslims. We should remember that the purpose of this exercise is to not just educate the students, but the teachers as well. Being polite and courteous will not detract from your desire to present. It will serve to build bridges and communication and could lead to further opportunities to present on other Islam-related topics and more teacher-parent cooperation in the future, InshAllah.

Tip #5: Ask the teacher what areas to cover and how long it should be

This helps to adjust your presentation to the age-level of the students, as well as connect it to what they are already learning. This does not mean you can’t bring in other information but knowing what to cover from the teacher helps you include what information needs to be included. From that point, you can develop more material on these or related topics. Asking how long the presentation should be can also help you decide how much information to include in your presentation.

Tip #6: Read, prepare, read, prepare

Now that you have gotten the permission, do not just sit back and wait for the night before the presentation to put it together.

Remember, if you want to appeal to the students, especially younger ones, you are going to need more than just a talk. Visuals are a great help. You can get a Ramadan banner, children’s books that feature pictures of Muslims fasting, play a song in English about Ramdan (like Dawud Wharnsby Ali’s We’ve Scanned The Sky), or show part of a video aimed at children about Ramadan. To get the right material, you will have to find out where to get it from, and ordering it might take a couple of weeks.

Preparing is important, even though you may have fasted all your life and think you know all about Ramadan. Get a children’s Islamic book and read what it says about Ramadan. Or an article was written by a teenager about Ramadan. This will also help you understand what points to emphasize in your presentation.

Reading and researching will also clarify any incorrect cultural norms that may have seeped into the practice of Ramadan which you may not have been aware of. Talk to a knowledgeable Muslim for advice as well.

Tip #7: Talk to your son or daughter about the presentation

Who would know what amuses, entertains, and educates the kids in the class better than your son or daughter? Consult them about what to include, what the kids like, what kind of things they are interested in. Not only will this improve your presentation, Insha Allah, but it will also make Ameena or Saeed feel important and more confident as individuals, and as Muslims.

Tip #8: A few days before the presentation

Call the teacher to check the date and time of the schedule. This will serve to remind him or her about your visit and prepare the class accordingly.

Tip #9: Write presentation points on note cards

Reading off papers about Ramadan will not hold the interest of many people, young or old. Instead, writing brief notes on note cards that you can look at so you don’t miss any topic will help you avoid straying from the subject while allowing you to make eye contact with your audience and maintain a conversational style of presentation.

Tip #10: Practice your presentation in front of your son/daughter

Practicing helps you identify what can be improved, changed, or omitted. Practicing in front of Ameena will give you the opportunity to present before one of the kids in the class who can really give you the best advice. It will also help you time your presentation, so you can make it shorter or longer.

Tip #11: Dress for success

This does not mean pulling out the Armani suit or the most expensive dress you have. It just means looking like a Muslim should-clean, respectable, professional, and Islamically covered. Clothes don’t always “make the man” but they do affect others’ perception of you.

Tip #12: Be early

Teachers and students are busy people. They have a certain curriculum to cover. The fact that they have squeezed in your presentation is somewhat of a privilege. Do not take advantage of this by wasting their time by coming late. And anyways, Muslims should be on time as a principle. Coming early can also help you set up audiovisual material if you have any.

Tip #13: Make Dua…

Before your presentation, ask Allah to help you convey this message sincerely, properly, and clearly. And say Bismillah.

Tip #14: Speak calmly and clearly

It is important not to race through the presentation, nor to talk too slowly. A clear, conversational style, but the emphasis on the major points or terms you want the students to understand can help convey the message properly.

Tip #15: When answering questions

If you do not know something, say so. Then check up on it and get back to the teacher. Ask him or her to convey the response.

Tip #16: Thank Allah…

for this opportunity, He blessed you with and your ability to go through with it.

Tip #17: Send a thank you note to the teacher and class…

thanking them for their time and attention, as well as their cooperation

It has been estimated that working fathers spend about 3 minutes a day with their children. Fathers who abandon their families, fathers who rarely see their children because of divorce, and fathers who are busy and have little or nothing to do with the raising of their children are common within our community.

Dad gets up early, takes the long drive to work, gets off late, takes the long drive home, and gets home very tired. He just wants to have supper, relax a little, and go to bed so that he can repeat the same routine the next day. Every now and then, he tells himself that he will spend more time with his children tomorrow.

We assume that Muslims are not like that. How much time do you spend with your children in the day? Not just in the same house, but together.

“Cats in the Cradle”, by Harry Chapin tells the sad story of a boy who always tries to spend time with his father, but always finds him too busy. When the boy grows up and the father gets older, the father always wants to spend time with his son, but his son always has other things to do. This is a reminder of our predicament.

Quality time spent between a father and his children is essential for both the parent and the child. Children need to know that their father loves and cares for them, and the father needs to be careful that he does not lose his relationship with his children through neglect.

Tips to Improve Father-Child Relationship

There are several ways a father can spend quality time with his children and develop a relationship with them. Even if he is extremely busy, it is possible to free up enough time to do some of these things.

  1. Show your children in simple ways that you love them.

Some fathers try to appeal to their children by showering them with gifts rather than spending quality time bonding. This may cause more harm than good. The simple example of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is much better. When his daughter Fatima (May Allah be pleased with her) would come to him, the Prophet (SAW) used to stand up, kiss her, take her hand, and give her his seat. Later in life, this personal type of affection will be much more memorable to children than receiving a gift that anyone could have given them.

  1. Tell or read your children stories before bed.
    There are lots of excellent Islamic stories and books available that you can use, or you can make up your own. A twist on this idea is to ask your children to make up stories to tell you.
  2. Teach your children to make wudu and pray with you
    If at home, praying together as a family- Jamat(congregation) is better than praying alone. Children love to call the azan. Make the youngest one the salat manager at home, taking care of prayer rugs, timing, and inviting everyone to salat.
  3. Take your children to the masjid with you
    Once your child is old enough to know how to behave in the masjid, this is an excellent way for you to build a relationship with them as both a father and a Muslim.
  4. Play with your children
    You could play outdoor sports, complete coloring books, build toy houses from blocks, or do whatever they are interested in.
  5. Let your children help you with simple tasks
    Allow them to help you carry in the groceries, make dinner, or mow the grass in the garden. Children often get great joy from doing things that adults consider work.
  6. Take the family out for a picnic
    Spend time with your children playing outdoors. Your children will cherish this special time together as a family.
  7. Help your children with their homework
    Show them that you are interested in their education and progress by asking them what they did in school and reviewing their books, projects, and assignments with them.
  8. Have regular meals as a family
    It is important that the family get together and have meals, so they discuss relevant issues.
  9. Use driving time with your children
    Do not just turn on the news and forget your children when they are in the car with you. Talk or joke with them or sing Islamic songs together.
  10. Give your small children a bath sometimes

Usually, mothers bathe children, but bath time is an excellent opportunity for fathers to be with their kids. Let them splash around and play a little more than mum does.

  1. Be available for your children

Let them know that you are there for anything they want to discuss. If you are not available to talk to your children, somebody else probably will be, and it may be the wrong kind of person. A good way of getting to know your children better as individuals are to take them out one at a time for eating, conversation, or some other event.

  1. Practice talking with your child, not at him/her

Since the father often takes the main responsibility for disciplining the children, it is quite easy for fathers to merely become order-givers rather than parents and companions of their children. Spend time listening, rather than talking. We only have one chance to be with our kids before they grow up. If we want them to love us and respect us when we are old, we must build those relationships while they are young.

Fathers usually do not have the time to devote to their children that mothers do. But if we take advantage of the time, we do spend with them we still might be able to build enduring bonds before it is too late.

Scroll to Top