Kids don’t understand emotions like jealousy but they do understand envy. I tried to show my children how to recognise what it is and the correct way to respond when they feel jealous.
My son goes to a multicultural school. His friends are all different nationalities but over the years he has come to favour a friend who speaks his mother language. The two boys are very competitive.
Don’t get me wrong. Competition is a good thing but these little dudes are neck to neck in everything. Be it literary or sport, they are always trying to excel. Sometimes my son gets the medal sometimes his friend does. They both know how many laurels each has. They actually count the trophies, certificates snd medals each gets.
It had been equal number for the past two years but one time his friend got ahead. Son came home sadly that he hadn’t received his medal. He was sad more so because his friend had teased him after it. He felt there wasn’t any need for his friend to behave that way. He wanted s medal too but he was okay he said.
‘Mom, I want his medal. I wish he never gets another again’, D said. He was angry but he was scared too. He didn’t understand his emotions.
I asked him if he meant it. He didn’t, he said after some thought, but he confessed he was upset at not getting. He felt bad for feeling that way and the thought made him sad.
I asked him if his emotions scared him. Yes, they did.
That day, I had responded by telling him that one of the best way to counteract his feelings was to make a Congrats card for his friend.
He wasn’t sure. His friend had been mean.
I asked him how he’d feel if he had won and his friend congratulated him, pat his back and gave him a Card.
I’d like that, he said.
Can’t we make him feel that way? Just show him how it feels to win and have a friend who cheers him, I asked.
D was quiet for a while but he agreed and got to work.
This was a few months ago. I asked him about it today when we talked about the Letter J for Jealousy . How did it feel to make a card for his friend than be sad?
He felt better. It actually strengthened their friendship because surely, his friend would go out of his way to be more helpful now. In a nutshell, I had taught my son to be a Good Samaritan.
While talking about jealousy, we talked about this episode and discussed how to respond when one feels envious.
I wasn’t really sure how they would learn this word or how to respond to jealousy but the lesson I wanted to teach was to show appreciation for something they admire in others. I wanted to teach them three things:
- Learn to appreciate others.
- Be a Good Samaritan.
- How to congratulate the right way.
For this reason, the best way I could think of was for them to teach them to say ‘MashaAllah’ (Praise be to Allah) when they see something nice that they admire and to say ‘Barak Allah’ when someone is triumphant in their hard work.
These two words were easy for my little three year old to learn too.
We talked about why it is important for one to say a prayer as such and what the Dua itself mean.
Barak Allah- A prayer to teach. Allahumma Barik laha/lahu means ‘May the Almighty give you more’ … it means you are happy for them… it shows you are a good friend… And it cleans your intentions… and avoids the evil eye.
Activity to learn about J is for Jealousy
We practiced the importance of replying with gratitude. We talked about how they feel when someone thanks them and what they think if someone doesn’t.
Another important lesson to teach was a way to deal with envy or jealousy. It isn’t entirely possible to not feel that emotion so I had to tell them the right way to tackle it.
How to behave when you feel jealous.
- Ask for forgiveness and guidance from the almighty first. Say Astaghfirullah three times. Then say Bismillah – la illa ha illalah, (In the name of Allah, there is no God but Allah.)
- Then pray for the person to be blessed more. Say Allah humma Barik Laha or MashaAllah. You can say this out loud too, I told them. You can say this to the person too or you can say it to yourself in your heart.
Teaching about how to respond to jealousy is not a one time class. This is a lesson that will need to be repeated over and over no doubt, but I think, I did scratch their surface enough to help them remember to say MashaAllah.
This post is part of A-Z of Akhlaaq series that my children and I followed in Ramadan 2015 to learn Islamic morals and Manners