“The only true disability, is a crushed spirit.” – Aimee Mullins.
Tell your children they’re great. Give them the opportunity to recognize it themselves, offer them empowerment, not just “I’m proud of you” but also “You can be proud of yourself.” Pursue their dreams with them, validate their dreams -however weird and wonderful- get interested in their interests. You know they’re not perfect, you know they have limits, but they don’t matter because if you build them up and tell them they’re great, they’ll believe they’re great and become that.
If there’s one thing our global Muslim community needs, it’s a generation who knows they’re great. There is so much negative out there attributed to our community, we’re in danger of the next generation internalizing it and believing it about themselves (Muslims are violent and hateful and backwards if you watch the news).
So tell them at home, as early and as often as you can, “You’re great and here’s why… .” Expose them to great Muslim examples – and great non-Muslim examples too. I regularly ask my daughter “What was Martin Luther King’s dream?” because I don’t want her to forget the message he so passionately delivered. I often ask her “Who was the first woman in space?” because I want her to follow her dreams and know that she, a Muslim girl who will become a Muslim woman, is great and she can be great and she will be great.
Find great examples, teach your children about them and regularly bring them into their mind. We have powerful and great Muslim female and male role models to look up to. Khadija, the powerful, respected business woman, and the loyal wife who was the rock and the confidante of the Prophet Muhammad. ‘Aishah the smart, respected scholar who taught and is teaching generations. Abu Hurayrah, gentle, with a powerful memory, also teaching generations still to this day through it. Not to mention the many scholars and mathematicians in our history. There is so much greatness for our children to look up to and identify with, and so much potential for greatness within them.