Ramadan is here again. How are we preparing our children to embrace it?
Do we have any new ideas for them? Any novel way to communicate to our children the meaning of this blessed month?
Ramadan is the month the Qur’ân was sent down to our world as a guide for humanity. It is the month of forgiveness and the month of salvation. These may seem like poignant meanings to us, but today’s environment is so materialistic, so hustle-and-bustle, that the spiritual value of Ramadan is often lost to us as religiously observant adults, not to mention our children.
How can we convey this deep spiritual significance to children in a way that will be meaningful to them? The following are merely a few thoughts on this question:
1. We should give our children Ramadan salutations starting on the eve of Ramadan. We need to impress upon them that this is a special month and that its arrival is an occasion for joy. They need to see us looking forward to it, and they need to share the celebratory atmosphere with us.
2. Ramadan is a good occasion for us to give our children the gift of a beautiful Qur’ân of their very own. It is also a time for us to give them books on Islam suitable for their age – books that are colorful and attractive. A good book to give is a child’s book of remembrances from which they can learn basic supplications and start using them.
3. The first fast a child observes should be an occasion for celebration. That first day is extra-difficult for a child, so its achievement should be acknowledged. At the same time, if a young child fails to keep a full fast, we need to overlook it. The child needs to develop the patience required to fast at his or her own pace, ad with willingness and live for the fast.
4. We spend in charity in Ramadan. However, how often do we think of getting our children involved in our charitable giving? Children should be allowed to participate in the distribution of alms to the poor and the needy. This experience teaches children to appreciate the great blessings that they have while developing in them the value of helping others.
5. Some of us are active in providing meals to people who are breaking their fast. This is an excellent opportunity to get the children involved, both in the preparation and distribution of meals. Children should be reminded of the great blessings they receive for doing this work.
6. Many of us as adults observe the Tarâwîh prayers at the mosque or at home. However, this time is often lost to our children. Children should be encouraged to observe this prayer, even in a small way – to the extent that they can find joy in their being able to sharing this experience with their older siblings and family members. This will also make Tarâwîh prayers easier for them as they grow older.
7. Children should be given recognition and rewards for their achievements in reading the Qur’ân in Ramadan, especially those who manage to read the Qur’ân in full during the month. They should feel the importance of the Qur’ân.
8. The best way to instill the meaning of Ramadan in our children is through our own good example. Our children are watching us. What we do during this month shows our children what this month should mean to them. When we live a spiritually elevated life in Ramadan, then that is how our children will understand Ramadan.