Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
“You’re not allowed to come outside. Sit in class and do your work.” And the little girl with trembling lips,pulled out her books and nodded at the teacher.
Another P.E(meaning Sports session for international readers),slipped by and she wasn’t allowed to go and play outside because she was slow with writing and copying the work written across the chalkboard.
When the teacher would call her up to read the book that all little kids were supposed to master, The Little Red Lorry, she would stumble and get stuck at the third word and couldn’t recognize anything further. The teacher’s face would grow red and puffy in anger and the little girl would shrink as the teacher would come closer and threaten to send her to another school unless she learnt to read and write.
As much as she tried,along with her parents help, the block in her mind made words look like squiggles to her. It was frustrating.
And also distanced her from her classmates who were streets ahead in reading and writing.In the afternoons, she would make wudhu and head to Madressa, where Alif,Baa & Taa was about the extent of her alphabet recognition. Her grasp of Surahs and Duas were slippery. How would she ever get to Quran? How would she read what was most important?
When will I ever learn to read,she would wonder.
Her parents were worried and made dua and continued to sit next to her,pointing out alphabets and words.
Somewhere in grade 3, finally something lifted the mist and she recognized a word,then another and another! Alhamdulilah, it was only Allah’s mercy.
In grade four, at long last she was fluent in reading and writing, to the extent that she began devouring book after book and her teacher asked the school librarian to ban her from borrowing books! because she wasn’t completing her work due to hiding books and reading during work time!
Now, she could finally read her seerah books in Madressa and discover for herself, who Nabi SAW was. With new teachers,who understood that the basics of joining the arabic alphabet had to be remedied, and that repetition would perfect the recitation and fluency of reading the word of Allah. Eventually, the stuttering and upside down tajweed got ironed out by diligent teachers and family who encouraged practice.
She was 12 years old by this time.
It was a long time playing catch up and frustrating for the parents too.
But eventually they saw the fruits of their dua and encouragement pay off ,even though it took years.
The little red lorry, finally had been overtaken!
When children are small, it’s easy to get discouraged by their lack of skill or to compare them to their peers, it’s easy to get angry at them for the loss of one’s dreams of having an all star achiever for a child.
It’s easy to throw them into the rat trap of never ending tuition sessions and extra curricular activities to bring them upto standard, but we must ask, Whose standard?
The happy ever after of your child’s academic journey which takes approximately 12 years of their lives, will be reached. Don’t worry. Keep making dua and sit with them, because they interpret your concern and time as love. Which it is. The secret of the Happy Ever After here was the concern of the parents which was never overbearing. And that their child must learn to read the Qur’an and to read so she may learn her deen. Let the Deeni education open and expand your child’s mind and heart which they will use for life while secular knowledge is just to gain a career.
The parent who gave their child the knowledge of Deen and encouraged practice and didn’t let the ball drop after Grade 7, will reap the fruits of their child’s love and service in their old age. That’s a happily ever after that we can hope for.
As for that child? She grew up.
And she wrote this post:)