Before answering your question, I would like to send you my heartfelt wishes for a happy and blessed Eid ul-Adha. May Allah the Almighty help us all have our prayers answered, and our deeds rewarded in the hereafter. Amen.
In answering this question, I will somehow take a different approach than the usual one. I will not just answer the question of how we could teach Eid to our children; rather, I prefer to take the opportunity of this question to talk about a very important approach in teaching children in general.
I will stop for a second by the question: “How can we teach ‘Eid to our kids?” TEACH… if we really want to have our words, our explanations and our instructions be effective, this has to be done by taking our kids (learners, whatever their age is) into a “constructive learning process”. What does this mean? This is a really long story, but to make a long story short, I will pin point on some very simple principles that make this type of “learning” meaningful and effective.
You may be astonished as I am supposed to direct my words to ordinary Muslim parents and not to a highly professional group of instructors or teachers. I fully understand, but the bottom line is “meaningful learning and its underlying principles are the same for parents and professionals”; both want to reach the same goal, which is to construct knowledge that is meaningful andthat can be used and implemented in our kids’ daily life.
Here are the most important principles of a constructive learning approach:
- In a constructive learning process, the learner is in the center, he takes the lead and is responsible for his learning; what we do is to guide him, to facilitate that process.
- Each learner is unique and his needs, prior knowledge, his abilities and skills have to be put in mind.
- Learning is an active process, a social process with lots of interaction between all parties involved: here the parents, the kids, the siblings and maybe also other friends…. We learn from each other, we learn from others, we learn by seeing others doing, hearing their words and even by observing their mistakes.
- Likewise, learning happens when ‘what is learnt, is put into context’. If I am going to tell them a story about Prophet Ibrahim, I have to put principles of scarifying, direct immediate obedience to Allah and trust in our Creator into the context of the learner’s daily life.
Now, let’s apply these principles to our situation: Teaching kids about Eid.
The learner is in the center:
Instead of telling our kids about Prophet Ibrahim and his story, why not ask them to go and search for information about Prophet Ibrahim. To have this done in a safe way, we have to give them some supervision time. If they are going to look up information on the internet, why not give them keywords or some good directories to use for their search. If they are going to use the library or some story books at home, we have to specify exactly what we want them to know about Prophet Ibrahim’s lengthy story. Let them come up with the information…
If we have more than one child, why not distribute the information and each should come up with a different part of the story. In this way, they lead and we will guide, help and support them. Then in the family gathering, let them tell us about their findings. This will raise their interest, motivation and they will feel very much attached to whatever information they brought.
Each learner is unique:
The uniqueness of our children has to be put in mind while we ask them to come up with information about Eid, Prophet Ibrahim and what should be done during the Eid days. Maybe some of our kids are very musical, let him/her come up with Eid Nasheeds and choose one either to be sung, or he/she (according to age) would be given the task to ‘teach us’ (other family members) the song.
Maybe you have got a very artistic son or daughter, why not ask him/her to draw a sheep, Eid cards or do some handicrafts. Here is a really good link to tutorials related to Eid Handicrafts:
All the above ideas might not be so attractive if we have got children of an elder age (+8). For older children,you might want to consider asking them to come up with information about Eid customs and traditions around the world, to tell us what makes us as Muslims different and what unites us. Coming up with a PowerPoint presentation or moviemaker product would be very engaging for children at that age. Now think about the level of motivation if those children are asked to perform that product in front of a wider audience (neighbors and relatives or even the local community). However, we need to give them resources, needed tools and of course enough time.
The latter activity will serve other purposes. It will turn our ‘teaching’ into a joyful action…. Learning will be fun…. This raises learners’ motivation, interest and involvement. All that means, at the end of the day, that they will remember, stay attached and feel ownership of what they are learning. Use the time of kids being involved in doing the handicraft activity (Sheep drawing, Eid card creation…etc.) in telling them a little bit about the WHY question: ‘Why are we as Muslims so proud of having Eid?’ It reminds us of the prophets, it keeps us attached to our religion, it unites us all together as Muslims, it’s a good chance to re-promise Allah to try our best to be obedient as Prophet Ibrahim once was, etc.
What is learnt, is put into context:
The only thing left now is putting the concepts (obedience, sacrifice, submission to Allah…) into context; that means relating the concepts, which are the underpinning principles and values in Prophet Ibrahim’s life, to our kids’ daily life.
This is easily done by example. When (name someone who converted recently to Islam) converted to Islam, he thereby submitted himself to the Will of Allah, like Prophet Ibrahim, when he was asked to sacrifice his son. Both are difficult decisions, but at the end, were able to follow Allah’s path, will be rewarded.
For Further Guidance please try the following links:
About the Counselor
Mona Younes has an extensive background as teacher and supervisor in both English Language and Arabic Language schools, before which she obtained her B.Ed at the American University in Cairo, Egypt. Since then she has gone on to become the head of the Social Department of Islam Online and co-coordinator of the Parenting Section on their Arabic Page. Mona attended and participated actively in a long list of conferences and seminars dealing with Family and Parental Issues. Currently, Mona Younes is doing her Masters on Online Education at the Southern Queensland University, Australia.
Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information that was provided in the question. If you feel you are going to harm yourself, or harm someone else, please seek immediate help by calling your country’s international hotline! In no event shall Onislam, it’s volunteers, writers, scholars, counselors, or employees be held liable for any direct, indirect, exemplary, punitive, consequential or other damages whatsoever that may arise through your decision or action in the use of the services which our website provides.