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Showing posts from September, 2011

Hitting the Books

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A mother yells to her child upstairs from the bottom of the staircase:

Mom: Betaaaaaaa!! Are you doing the studying?!
Child: Yes mommy, I am "doing the studying"!!
Mom: Betaaaaaaa!! Make sure you study hard, those tests von't ace themselves!
Child: Yes mommy, I know, I am hitting the books...!!
Mom: Betaaaaaaa!! Hit them harder, you know how much your daddy vants you to become a doctor!
Child groans.

OK, so while the betas were exaggerated and the yelling from the bottom of the staircase may not have happened in your house (and for clarification, neither in mine!), most Muslim parents are quite hung up on pushing their children into mainly professional career streams (a whole other blog topic!). Furthermore, there's a misconception that children can achieve high grades and academic success by hitting the books 24/7 or as much as their eyes and brain allow them to.

This practice could not be more wrong.

Research from the field of learning and memory, physical activity, me…

The Cultural Divide

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I recently read a quote that described how culture provides the richness and diversity with which Muslims live their lives. I tried to backtrack and find this quote again (to no avail!), but I wholeheartedly agree with its premise! While Muslims are taught that Islam comes first, the practice of the religion is about moderation, and there are plenty of examples from the Prophet Muhammad's (Peace Be Upon Him) own life regarding his participation in Arab cultural customs.

I've recently been attending more events than I normally do (i.e. I finally have a life!), and being exposed to a variety of cultures has really started me thinking about my own battle with cultural ambiguity and where I stand about how I define myself. As you may or may not know, I'm 50% Pakistani and 50% Iranian. It's a funny mix and I joke about it constantly (i.e. 50% of me celebrated Pakistan's Independence Day on August 14th!), but deep down, it's frustrating to feel ambiguous about who I…

What Not to Wear: Girls' Edition

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This past week saw schools re-open for the 2011-2012 school year. While I was out and about running errands during Ramadan, I could feel the back to school vibe returning...stationary was being stocked in stores, parents were out with kids who were flailing their class supply lists, and TV commercials were increasingly being geared towards back to school clothing and making sure YOUR kids have the latest fashions.

Kindergarten marks the entry into the next thirteen years of children's academic careers, and many parents agree that it's one of the hallmarks of childhood. "The first day of school" is an exciting time, with kids being all dolled up and loaded up with backpacks that are way too big, hairstyles that are way too jelled and hair-sprayed, and girls wearing clothing that is way too...mature.
In one of my recent blogs, I wrote about seeing an eight-year old dressed up like a hoochie mama for Eid. Sadly, this problem is not only seen during Islamic festivities,…