Author: Faiza Dean
When my son was born almost four months ago, I realized that among the many skills I’d have to acquire to be a good mother, I’d also have to brush up on my singing voice. I was advised by many mums that belting out “Baa baa black sheep” and “Insey winsey spider” at the top of my lungs would be a life saver in pacifying my crying baby. I spent much time pouring over Google and YouTube, re-learning the lyrics to numerous nursery rhymes and lullabies (it’s been twenty-odd years since I’d last sung them myself!).
Of the many I came across, I took a real liking to “Hush little baby, don’t say a word”… This lullaby must be sung to billions of babies all over the world, but while it sounds so calming and reassuring, the lyrics really got me thinking.
It tells of a mother trying to soothe her baby by buying him/her all sorts of random things, from mocking birds and diamond rings to a looking glass, billy goats and a cart and bull! Now you might think me insane for scrutinizing a simple lullaby in this way, but the subliminal message it conveys is that material things can bring comfort.
As I contemplate my role as a mother, I know that of the many things I want my child to know, I want to teach him sound values. I want him to know that it’s okay to not have branded sneakers but to be grateful for having shoes on his feet, no matter what label they carry. I want to teach him not to look down upon those who have less than him, or be envious of those who have more than him. I want him to learn that money CAN’T buy happiness. I want him to learn that Muslim, living a life of excess is a sin, and that Allah (SWT) is displeased with those who are excessive – “Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess.” (Qur’an, 7:31), and also not to be proud and boastful because “Allah loves not those who are proud and boastful” (4:36). I want him to understand the value of people in his life, the impact that he can have on others, and the lessons he can learn from them. I want to teach to be grateful to Allah (SWT) for everything he has, to count his blessings every single day, and to know that he doesn’t need much to be happy and content.
I pray that I can teach my son all these things, Insha’Allah. But for now, I think I’ll stick to “Baa baa blach sheep” and “Insey winsey spider” when he’s having a melt-down, and if I really must, then I’ll sing him the abridged version: “Hush little baby, don’t you cry; your daddy loves you and so do I”, after all, reassuring my son that his parents love him is perhaps one of the most important things I can teach him.
….Where Practice Makes Perfect
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