Thursday, April 28, 2011

Frothing, parenting, teenaging and mistaking

I only mentioned it in my last post, but did not elaborate. However, I think it is something that is worth elaborating on - my frother. It is as amazing as it sounds - it froths! Currently, I am trying to work out how to maximise the froth. The most amazing thing is, it costs only $2.99. A small, cheap cappuccino (only to be found at universities because the coffee makers know how broke most of us are) costs $2.80 and it only lasts about ten minutes, twenty if I am concentrating extremely hard. This frother will (iA) be with me for a very long time, if not forever. :)

I taught my first high school classes yesterday at the coaching centre - science for years seven to ten. The year eights didn't turn up at all, and there was two, three and four people in each of the other classes. Nevertheless, it was nerve-wrecking when I was walking up to the centre because I am well and truly aware of how high school kids tear up and munch on new teachers. One of the other teachers informed me of some dreaded students, none of whom were there today, thank God! I am not exactly sure if they will call me back because this is the time slot that I was rejected from, for my Hijab. Interesting fact: my manager's son is in the year ten class. I don't think he is as racist as his mother, but I could see some alienation in his eyes at the beginning. I hope he does not grow up to be like her.

Being a parent is such a huge responsibility, in not just providing for the children physically, but also being there for mental support. Just the other day, I found out that three of the people I went to high school with has already become mothers. I am not quite sure how many more are there. When I hear about these people, I wonder how they do it. It is one thing to take care of yourself, and it is a completely different thing to take care of another person almost constantly. You have to be a constant role model, there is no break, no 'switching-off' period. Any little thing you do can potentially be picked up by the tiny person and followed. When they see racism in you, they have a chance of growing up to be the next Pauline Hanson. When they see unhealthy habits, they might increase those statistics about obesity in your nation. When they see confusion, they may turn towards depression. At the same time, you can't fake it, because, if they see dishonesty, there is a great chance that they will turn against everything you want to stand for.

I have been extremely lucky. I was born to a mother who knows how to be almost perfect, someone who knows how to have almost no flaws. She was a conscientious mother right from out childhood. Although I did not undergo the restrictions that my older siblings went through (they were not allowed to touch the remote control or open the fridge without permission - this made perfect sense in their context, even though people nowadays will probably shudder at the thought), I did live a pretty protected childhood. I was reminiscing such things with my primary school best friend LS the other day. She still remembers how my mother talked to my teachers to take me out of certain sex education classes, because, at eleven, those probably would have corrupted my mind, rather than cleaning it. She made sure I prayed duhr at school, made sure that the teachers knew my prayer times when I went to camp and even told the teacher that I cannot take part in camp disco in year five. I didn't end up going to year six camp, and now that I think about it, I think it was good. My mothers kept me protected for as long as she could. Yes, that meant that I never knew that certain parts of the world existed. It meant coping with being bullied in for about a year and not knowing what my friends mean when they refer to certain analogies for the next few years. However, it meant that my mother did a terrific job and I actually had a healthy, happy childhood before those teenage years.

I think my parents tried to exercise similar controls when I was a teenager too. They tried their best and I cannot thank them enough for doing so; and in fact, I really don't know what the best way of handling teenagers are. One of the seven types of people who will be under the shade of Allah's throne on the Day of Judgement will be a 'youth who grew up in the worship of Allah'. And when I look back to those years, I can completely understand the wisdom of this hadith. Being a teenager and growing up in a society full of fitnah is extremely difficult. I think its because when you are a kid, your world is pretty limited. You only see yourself and what is immediately around you. When you are an adult, your world expands a lot and you can put things into perspective. However, in that middle time, when your world is in the process of expanding, you go through an extremely confusing state. You realise that happiness is not just about getting that red balloon or snuggling up to your mum when she comes back from work. You realise that people are not satisfied with just a handmade birthday card. You start to realise that the world is in fact big and often pretty bad, and you are not quite sure if you should join them in their ways, or stick to what you are taught.You start to make your own decisions about things you shouldn't, because your society tells you that you can, even though you are not equipped with the intellect or knowledge to do so.

So, when I see friends or friends of friends beating themselves up over their bad choices, going through depression, leaving home forever, turning to alcohol and sex, being afraid of all men because of one certain incident or turning to suicide because they think there is no way out, I really don't know what to say. It takes a really strong person to hold a person together, a person who tends towards such things. And after such a thing happens, it takes really strong people to survive it. I am extremely grateful that my parents never let me make mistakes that I would regret for the rest of my life. Yes, I did make mistakes, and a lot of them too. But, I am thankful that (hopefully) they all taught me something new and that I did not take any drastic measures to escape the pains of the mistake. I hope lesser and lesser people in the world experience such measures.

Childhood to adolescence

P.S: I started off with talking about my frother and I honestly have no idea how I ended up in such a morbid topic. Apologies for ruining whatever part of the day you are in, however, I do hope that you use the take-home message from this the next time you come across a troubled teen. :)

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