India is home to many different religions. This, of course, means more school holidays in a year, and that many more reasons to rejoice for school-going children. It also means greater opportunities to raise secular, tolerant children by teaching them more about each of these holidays.
The next holiday in the calendar is Eid ul Zuha, also known by the names Eid ul Adha or Bakr-Eid (Bakrid) - a festival that is revered by Muslims as the ‘Festival of Sacrifice’. So, let’s see what we can teach the little ones from this festival.
Bakrid is the occasion for the Islamic community worldwide to recall and honour the unwavering faith and willingness of Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his only son, Ismail, at God’s command. Sharing and sacrifice are virtues which probably come naturally to children growing up in families with limited means. However, when your child is constantly pampered in the lap of luxury, inculcating these values might pose a bit of a challenge. Here’s a suggestion: This Bakrid, as a family, skip eating a meal at an expensive restaurant, or a visit to a mall or multiplex and put the money saved towards a better cause. When children see the elders in the family set an example, they are bound to imbibe and emulate.
Muslims normally sacrifice a four-legged animal on this day. The offering is divided into three portions – one for the family, one for friends, neighbours, and relatives, and the third for the less fortunate. Spend the afternoon making simple snacks at home along with your children using available resources. It could range from cupcakes to homemade chocolates, to sandwiches, or just lemonade. Once they are done, make neat packages and distribute them among neighbours and friends, not forgetting to share one-third of it with the helping hands in the building. Your children will love this experience of direct involvement so much that they will want to make it an annual ritual.
Respect and Obedience
Another important takeaway from this festival is respect and obedience. Ibrahim had been blessed with his only child, Ismail, after many years of prayers. When his son was thirteen years old, Ibrahim had recurring dreams where the Almighty directed him to sacrifice his dear son. Being a prophet, he was aware that his dream was a direct commandment from God. He therefore, hardened his heart and shared the dream with his son. Ismail too did not show the least hesitation at his father's intention to slaughter him and agreed readily to be sacrificed at God’s command. This story brings out the virtues of respect and obedience in both Ibrahim and Ismail. It’s never too late to teach your children these important values.
Every religion promotes charity in some way or the other. Personal involvement in charity is definitely more satisfying and rewarding than just donating to a cause and not knowing who benefits ultimately. Volunteering for a cause also acts as an eye-opening experience, especially for children. This month, ask your kids to sort through their things and put aside the toys and clothes they have outgrown. Over the weekend visit an orphanage and share these items with the less fortunate. Seeing the joy in the orphans’ faces is sure to warm your little ones’ hearts and make them more thankful for what they have.
It is always good for children to learn the best of all religions as this will help them become more compassionate and stable human beings. We, as parents, need to be a positive influence in every possible way and inspire them to make the world a better place.