Some take home points from Parent panel discussions organized by Happy Strong Family in collaboration with Masjid Al Rayan, Courtice and Durham Islamic Center, Whitby. The discussions were held in June 2023.
1. We all can do with being more aware of our home environments. Our family, and particularly our youngsters learn from our practices as observed. Use of digital technology, language and prioritization of time use for entertainment vs. education are all
worth thinking about.
2. Take interest in your relationship with your youngsters. It helps them deal with the outside world better. Communication with youngsters is two way and when education on relevant topics is timely, we will offer our best selves to our children.
3. Activities of the school and outside world in the month of June are not the greatest concern. Our lack of an Islamic identity is. Improving our relationship with our Creator will have long term consequences on our handling of important matters as they come up in both our and our youngsters' lives.
4. Parents can be more proactive in schools. Involvement of parents in educational spaces will create more opportunities to have a say in our children's education. It will allow healthy exchange of our cultural and religious practices.
Our educator panelist informed us that several educationists (that he came in contact with) admitted to being completely uninformed of Islamic practices. Masjid Al Rayan interactions with Courtice secondary school after the Quran desecration event in March 2023 had also revealed similar impressions.
We encourage all to utilize opportunities such as the annual Ramadan celebration and Islamic Heritage month in October to promote harmony and improve understanding. It will help dispel negative stereotypes that are often promoted by the media.
5. Active participation in Muslim spaces, particularly in the mosques of sisters. This will allow sisterhood to flourish and be a source of future cooperation. It will create opportunities to seek advice and help when issues arise. Older (been here longer) immigrants can be a source of advice and guidance to newer arrivals. Further events (such as parenting workshops) could be helpful.
6. Do not feel helpless as a muslim. There are opportunities for us to inform and educate the wider society (neighbors, teachers, friends etc.) We should promote debate, not hate. A wonderful opportunity also to seek likeminded individuals to work together on matters of common concern, which is an Islamic principle.
7. The National Council of Canadian Muslims is accessible and very proactive. Don't be shy to contact them in a difficult or uncertain situation (www.nccm.ca)