Monday, April 27, 2015

The Weight of My Words

The career that I chose as a freelance public speaker obviously involves a lot of talking, more so for the past two months. I am probably home only a few days before I have to be on the road again.

I am physically exhausted by the commute from Perlis to elsewhere, emotionally exhausted by the separation from my family, and most importantly, I am spiritually exhausted by the tongue I can't seem to put to rest.

Today I have some time to reflect, before my next talk. I am thinking about all the things that I said in the past two months and about why I said them. It is not enough for me to say good things, delivering good messages to people, if I forgot (or abandon) the point of it all.

The simpleton in me wants to simply convince me that it is okay. I am doing a good thing, therefore I don't have to worry about anything. But the sapient in me wants to remind me not to take anything for granted. Therefore, I do have to worry.

I worry about my words. I worry whether or not I say the right things and whether or not I say them for the right reasons. The latter worries me more than the former. To say the right things is easy, but to have an honest intention in mind at the time one says them is difficult.

I am reminded by the Hadeeth that on Judgment Day, three people noble to the eyes of the people will be brought forth before Allah. Each of them lived a very impressive life. One was a scholar, another was a martyr, and the other was a charitable person.

But each was dragged to the hellfire for one common crime: they did all those good things for themselves, for their own egoistic satisfaction. They have failed themselves when they chose to abandon Allah in their intentions. That is the reason for their demise.

I wonder if it will be mine as well. It is a scary thought, one that we prefer not to think about - let alone reflect upon. But this is a question of ultimate concern. Why do we do the things that we do? Though it is important that we do the right things, but it is imperative that we do them for the right reason.

My words are my bread and butter. That is how I support my life and my family's life. But which life am I supporting? This life? The next life? Both? The ideal should be both, but if I had to choose between the two, then I should choose the next life.

But saying that is easy. It is pure textbook. If animals can read, then I would imagine they would get the answer right as well. I would like to aim higher, because I refuse to believe that I am just an animal; living life following instincts and desires.

Allah made me a human being, with an intellect capable of reasoning and of discerning right from wrong. That is something an animal cannot do. Knowing this, it makes sense why we will be responsible for our actions, and more importantly, for our intentions.

Thinking this, my words become heavy.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Book Notes: Simplicity Parenting | Chapter Two: Soul Fever

Chapter Two: Soul Fever

1. The author used the term "soul fever" to illustrate the imbalance state of the child's mental and emotional wellbeing. The author explained the concept and the healing approach to soul fever by giving an analogy of a typical physical fever.

2. When our child experiences physical fever, we go through a process to facilitate healing. We notice the illness, we stop our normal routine, we focus more on the ill child, and we provide the child with the most conducive environment for healing to take place.

3. The author noted that we are not causing any healing. We are just providing the child with an atmosphere of support and allowing the child the time and the space needed for the healing process to take place.

4. This is very similar to a soul fever. Once the fever kicks in, our parental instincts can detect something is wrong. Noticing is the first step and it is an important one. It shows the child that you care. One of the worst things to do to an ill child is failure to acknowledge the illness. A simple question such as "is everything okay?" is enough to indicate that you are paying attention.

5. After noticing, we stop our normal routine. The atmosphere of the house changes (or rather, should change) towards an atmosphere of healing and more attention is given to the child. This is more difficult than anything else; to give more attention. Because this requires that you, as the parent, sacrifices more time and energy towards your child. With our constantly preoccupied lifestyle, it is difficult to make the switch. This is where our priorities will be greatly tested. What is more important to you will manifest itself in this heat of the moment. Which is more important: work or family?

6. We give more time and energy towards catering for what the child needs to break this soul fever. It might take a short time, it might take a long time. No two soul fever is the same. Much like physical fever; some take longer time to heal than others. We try our best to provide the child with the right, conducive environment for healing to take place. Perhaps our current motion of life is too much for the child and he/she just needs a break. A short family holiday over the weekend works wonders. Though it is not a magic pill which can solve everything, but it is still a good thing to do in the healing process. Might be good for the parents too.

7. Once the fever breaks, do we return to our normal routine exactly like before? It depends. With any fever, we should identify what causes it and we should learn not to repeat the same mistakes once the fever is over. We don't want to throw our child into a physical fever again, right? Same goes for a soul fever. Some things need to change. A child's soul fever might be an indication that there is something wrong with our family's current lifestyle. It is a red flag that we need to pay attention to, seek the causes, apply the remedies, and change our ways to a better lifestyle. But in any case, a successful recovery from this soul fever will make the child stronger emotionally and psychologically.