“Baba, I didn’t do anything!” Yeah right. Every teen’s famous last words.
Though my 14-year-old’s occasional hormonal / behavioral fireworks often lead me to think he is the cause of all evil in our household, yesterday I learned that’s simply not true. As his father, I realize I need to get off his case more often.
Back up to yesterday evening. He and I are sitting at the computer desk checking the NBA schedule and chatting. He got his fill and pushed against the desk to get himself out of the chair. What a shove that was—the whole room shook! With that classic fatherly scolding stare, I grunted at him, “don’t do that!” Next came the equally predictable innocent look on his face and routine denial accompanied psychological warfare that is routine in our woods, “Baba, what are you talking about? I didn’t DOOO anything!” he insisted.
At that very second, I paused because it became hard not to miss the bookcases and ceiling fans doing the SoCal Jiggle. I gave in, “Oh my God, it’s an earthquake,” followed dutifully by, “I am sorry habibi, it wasn’t you after all.”
How awful….I actually can now check “blame teenager for earthquake” off of my been-there-done-that-parenting list.
Ease up you guys, I’m not evil either! The thing is, he thumps his (mashallah) 6-foot tall body around the house, slams a door here and there, and even simply “pushing” himself out of a chair really does make the entire room shake. If you were a teenage boy or have one, you know this is true. Nonetheless, the important thing is that this incident got the attention of both father and son. Nothing like a little earthquake to help us shift our perspectives back into balance.
I certainly don’t like earthquakes, but remain thankful for a little jolt if it helps make me a better parent. Allah sends us reminders in all forms, and it’s always a good time for a believer to be reminded. May Allah bless our kids & give us the wisdom and guidance to raise them right.
Yaman Kahf migrated to the US as an infant with his parents. He is the second eldest of 7 siblings, growing up in Utah, Indiana, and New Jersey before settling in southern California with his wife and three boys. Yaman’s MSA days and bachelors are from Rutgers University, NJ. He is currently active with the MAS-Greater LA chapter.