Fear of a Borg Life: In conclusion

September 9, 2007

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When my own children grow and marry, will their little girls wear beaded braids?  Will they eat cornbread dressing with their turkey, or will their spouses introduce them to something they prefer over it?  I don’t know.  I do know that in addition to passing on recipes, hairstyles, and ethnic history etc., I am trying to pass on islam.  In fact, that my children are muslim is my primary goal.  I’m trying to get them to love islam, to know it’s history.  To have not just an emotional attachment to it but a mental attachment.  I want them to have islam in their hearts and their heads.  Allah will not hold me to account if I didn’t teach my children well enough to be black/irish american.  Not teaching them to the best of my ability to be good muslims is another matter.

And so insha’allah I will look at “The Snowy Day” with my kids.  I will make Shepherd’s Pie and Potato Farl with my sons.  I will braid and bead my daughter’s hair, and teach her how to make my mother’s peach cobbler.  We will go to Irish Fest and Juneteenth.  And we will study Qur’an and Seerah together, and live and breathe islam.

My husband had my mom’s smothered chicken and really liked it.  He has made it himself, several times,  and has perfected his own version.  And so my children are growing up with a smothered chicken that came from the black side of their family but is prepared in the manner that their white father deems tastiest (a slightly thinner gravy with less pepper, less oil,  mushrooms and butter added in case you are wondering.) Cornbread dressing is now the stuffing served at the home of my husband’s brother and his wife when Thanksgiving rolls around.  He had it once at my house and declared it “the best stuffing I’ve ever had”.

Culture and phenotypes change.  Today’s Spain, for example, is the result of the contributions and encounters of the different peoples that came to it’s shores:  Greeks, Moors, and many others.  In the same way, families can and do change through the generations.  What you believe and how you live may not be carried forward by your descendants. You do your best while you are here to teach your children your culture, your religion, and to pass on your traditions.  And that’s all you can do.  What happens after you pass is entirely out of your hands.  There’s an old song in spanish I have always loved:

Al final,

las obras quedan y la gente se va

otros que vienen las continuaran

la vida sigue igual

 In the end, we want to see our own faces in our children and have them carry on our traditions because we don’t want to die. We feel that as long as junior plays football like his dad and babygirl spreads the quilt we made for her on her own daughter’s bed, a piece of us remains and we aren’t really “gone.”  In five generations, my descendants may all look east asian for all I know.  I just really, really pray that they are muslim.  That’s the part of me that I want most to remain.

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3 Responses to “Fear of a Borg Life: In conclusion”

  1. safiya Says:

    Salaam Alaikum,

    Masha Allah, such beautiful words.

    I feel exactly the same about any children that my husbad and I, insha Allah have.

  2. Cozy Sister Says:

    Ameen.

    I once listened to a speech by a Pakistani immigrant who had founded an Islamic school on Long Island, NY. In it, he reflected on the long line of his ancestors who had been Muslim, and that none of them would have been had the first in that line not converted. He further reflected that if along the way any one of them had left Islam, or failed to adequately instruct their children in the deen, that all the generations to follow would have been disbelievers. And finally, he expressed a deep fear at the disaster it would be if, by emigrating to a non-Muslim country, and failing to properly teach Islam to his/our children, he/we were to become responsible for all the generations to follow us in our own families who would be raised outside of Islam. It was a very moving reminder of a tremendous responsibility. As you point out, it is not only our own children in our hands, but their children, and their children, and their children.
    Your heart and mind point is well-taken, too. Someone pointed out in a comment on Sunni Sister’s blog the other day that whenever someone has a crisis of belief, it is usually located only in the mind or the heart, not both. She recommended that if someone is having a crisis of belief in their heart, they should appeal to their mind, and if they are having a crisis of belief in their mind, they should appeal to their heart. This is only possible if their faith was located in both to begin with!
    Great post, mashallah.

  3. foreverloyal Says:

    I’ll have to check out that blog. 🙂

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