GrowMama Roundup: Talking to Kids About Current Events

Nusayba (5) draws her feelings about the protests in Egypt.

This week, we asked two of our GrowMamas this question:

“If you are talking to your children about the demonstrations in Egypt, how are you going about it?”

Here are their responses:

“I believe in discussing politics and world affairs with our children. If we want to raise children who are not only God conscious, but are also active and passionate about social justice and reform, then I think we best engage them. We should definitely be conscious of the child’s age and level of maturity and address our children depending on their stage of development.  With the current affairs, when I told my 5-year-old that the Tunisian President fled the country, she laughed. I think she got it—sort of. I attempted to brief my kids on the situation in Egypt and prepped them for a demonstration that we were to attend the next day.  I explained to her why we were demonstrating here in the United States, so many miles away. We talked about the different messages we wanted to send to our President, Mr.Obama, and together we came up with the words on our poster that she wrote in.

My kids were taken aback when we first arrived to the demonstration; they were in shock and in awe.  My 5-year-old didn’t want to hold the poster at first as she took in the scene of people marching and chanting. I took the time to explain every word they were saying and soon enough, she asked for the poster and we all joined in.  We even got a chance to discuss why some protestors were chanting in Arabic (our first language) and how it didn’t make sense to do so in a protest in the United States.  So together we decided to refrain from repeating the Arabic words and focused on getting the message across in English, the language of our country, the United States.

The process was very important to me. I probably made mistakes—I know I did, but I also know that they’re mistakes I will learn from and will help me the next time I need to address another important and relevant issue, God willing.  I want my children to fully understand and live by the hadith of the Prophet, peace be upon him, “Whoever amongst you sees anything objectionable, let him change it with his hand, if he is not able, then with his tongue, and if he is not even able to do so, then with his heart, and the latter is the weakest form of faith”—and so at the end of our brief discussion we raised our hands together in Dua’a that Allah brings victory to the people of Egypt, Tunisia and everywhere around the world.” Submitted by K.

“When the recent events in Egypt unfolded, I wasn’t initially thinking of how I would talk to my 7-year-old daughter about it; I was more focused on the situation itself. It wasn’t long, however, before she started asking questions. My husband and I, after all, were completely glued to all the media sources from al-Jazeera to facebook. There was a brief moment when I wondered how I should handle her inquiries, and then quickly decided that I would just be completely honest with her. I gave her the history and explained to her why these events are happening, and she responded with great interest and more questions. She learned many new words such as “dictator,” “oppression,” and “poverty.”

On one of our homeschooling days, I decided she could forgo all of her typical school work, and just follow the news along with me. I know that the experience of following real world events would be far more beneficial to her understanding of the world and of people. I also remembered that the duaa of children are more likely to be answered so I’ve asked her and remind her to continuously supplicate for all those who are oppressed and suffering. We are also planning on writing letters to President Obama, asking him for  his  support.  I  will, insha’Allah, continue to keep her involved and updated, honestly and openly.” Submitted by H.

In addition to the above suggestions MAS Tarbiya Lighthouse Team released one of its episodes on current events.  There are many discussion points on the video and the blog that could be used with children. In addition, they are asking everyone to submit their personal reflections…..or drawings.:)

– The Egyptian Uprising-100 Reflections

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