10 tips to get your child to pray with you…

As a Muslim Father, one of the greatest joys of my day is having my kids pray beside me and join in the praise and remembrance of their creator and mine. It might be easier to put off Salaah until the kids are older but the best habits are formed early in their childhood, why not make Salaah one of them.

After 4 and a half years of hands-on experience and 1 amazing wife at my side, this is what I have learnt. My 10 tips to get your kids to pray with you…

  1. Pray with them, make it a habit of praying in front of them when ever possible – I started praying with my son beside me when he was a month old.
  2. Don’t make Salaah a chore – Allow them to witness the joy and peace you experience through Salaah.
  3. Play with them before/after you pray – let the prayer room/area/rug be a place of comfort for them too.
  4. Don’t be quick to pack up the prayer mat -leave it out for the kids to explore.
  5. Pray together, pray as a family – Let Salaah also becomes an activity the whole family can participate in and benefit from.
  6. Answer their questions, talk about Salaah and feed their curiosity – they’ll be emulating your actions in no time.
  7. Let them know when it’s time to pray – make room for them beside you in case they decide to join in.
  8. Entice them with a little kids prayer mat – make it fun and interesting.
  9. Visit the mosque with them – this can sometimes be tricky but I’ll leave it for another post In Sha Allah.
  10. Lots and lots of praise – acknowledge and praise their efforts!

It’s not rocket science, but we often take these things for granted. It’s a matter of priorities and lots of patience.

Though the requirement to perform Salaah is only incumbent on kids at a later stage, it is our duty as parents to get them started on the straight path. Teach them to pray now and when they pray later, we too will benefit from it.

I pray that our children are the coolness of our eyes!

Coffee & small talk…

After a busy week and a few rough days, I seized an opportunity to spend some quality time with my son this morning. Mum and daughter were napping and I desperately needed a coffee so we visited my new go-to coffee place on the south-side… Sweet Treats Dessert Cafe.

Coffee & Small Talk...

After ordering our usual Cappuccino + Babyccino, I decided to put my phone away and indulge in some Father-Son banter. A simple ‘what do you think about this place?’ was enough to spark a very interesting conversation.

The Minion drawing got us on topic and quickly moved on to Hot Wheels, big wheels and all topics wheels related. It was interesting and fun, probably took all of about 15 minutes and we we’re on our away again.He seemed to have enjoyed it and it reminded me of the many father-son dates we had when he was younger, when I was less occupied and when we actually took time out to just chill and do things together.

As they grow older and circumstances change, its easy to take things for granted and neglect the little things. Sometimes all it takes is a few minutes and a slight change of atmosphere but the father-son dates are absolutely essential and can make a world of a difference to both parties. Not to mention the brownie points scored when you let the Mrs have some time off too.

Show me the Bunny…

Having indulged in many a bunny over the years, I don’t recall ever wondering where this simple yet ingenious idea stemmed from. Last weekend I enjoyed a homemade bunny with a slight twist and began wondering…Bunny chow refers to a curry dish served in a hollowed out loaf of bread and is a common street food in Durban, South Africa. It’s origins are deeply rooted in South Africa’s apartheid era and though many legends exist, there is one plausible theory that makes for an interesting story.

Bunny Chow
The ‘Bunny’ or Bunny Chow was engineered by the Indian working class of Durban during the apartheid era and made for a cheap and convenient meal that satisfied their taste for curry. Some say it was the Indian Caddies at the Royal Durban Golf Course who couldn’t afford to leave work to have lunch. The curry in a hollowed out loaf of bread was cheap, easy to transport and made for an awesome, consumable container. Other stories claim it was the Indian slaves working the sugarcane fields that came up with the idea to transport their lunches.What ever the story, Bunny Chow originated in Durban, South Africa and fulfilled the needs of Indian workers during a time of great injustice and discrimination. Non-whites were considered sub-human and were not even permitted to enter restaurants, their creativity and ingenuity resulted in the creation of one of the countries greatest contributions to world cuisine.

The merchants selling the dish were known as Banias (an Indian caste) which is where the term ‘bunny’ originated.  Based on this, it is highly likely that the dish was invented on Grey Street in Durban at the G.C. Kapitan Vegetarian Restaurant that operated from 1912 to 1992 and was famous for its Beans Bunny.

Today, Bunny Chow is enjoyed throughout South Africa and South African homes/cafes throughout the world. The Bunny that spawned this post, pictured below, was a quarter bunny layered with hot chips topped with a spicy, homemade lamb curry.
Bunny Chow
Surprise inside Bunny Chow
No Rabbits are harmed in the preparation of Bunny Chow!Links:

Decorating cookies… like a man!

Ignoring the fact that I was surrounded by mothers and their kids having a go at decorating some cookies, I decided to join in and, together with my son came up with this little bearded master piece.

Bearded Cookie
Its sad that so many fathers pass up on these opportunities by assuming that it’s the mother’s role to interact and entertain the kids. Perhaps culture has made it convenient for men to take a back seat in these situations or maybe men aren’t confident enough to enter a female dominated space. Whatever it is, we need to break the cycle and claim our place. Fathers are not bystanders, we need to get down and dirty and start decorating cookies with our kids.