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Whose being difficult: My parents or me? - March 8th 2014, 10:17 PM

Ok, so right now im 13. And I love my parents to death. But since my whole family is Muslim, my family has been learning Arabic their whole lives. And since my 2 brothers and my 1 sister are all grown up, I'm the only kid left in the house. So now it's my turn to start learning. And I already know how to read Arabic, but idk what it is. And so my private Arabian tutor (I come from an upper class family) gives me verses to memorize and I do, but it's usually hard for me to learn one of the hardest languages in the world all by myself. And my family is from Senegal, West Africa, and I love that place, but my dad said that if I don't finish the whole Quran book, I won't go this year. And I miss Senegal so much because last summer I couldn't go because my aunt and her family were vacationing in Germany, so they wanted me to go along. But my favorite cousin (don't tell anyone) and my other aunt from France went to Senegal without me, and I haven't seen my fave cousin in more than 5 years. So we didn't get to see each other that summer, and we've been hoping to this summer, if my parents can stop being difficult. But please help me and tell me, what you think I should do.
   
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Re: Whose being difficult: My parents or me? - March 9th 2014, 07:16 PM

Ok, let me just point this out from the sociological point of view, so bear with me for a minute.

Let me just say that I see nothing unusual going on here. A lot of middle class families, especially upper-middle class and higher, will use things like trips to try to "motivate" their children to do their work, so for example: "clean your room or I won't take you to Wonderland this weekend" etc., or in your case "learn the Qu'ran or you won't get to go to Senegal this summer". All that most parents (including yours) are trying to accomplish is providing an incentive to work harder in the form of "do this and you will be rewarded with this, or, alternatively, don't do this and we'll take this away/not give it to you at all".

If you were from a working class or poor family the "punishment" or "reward" would be different because they wouldn't be able to sort of use such big things for you. Now I am from a more upper class family like you, but I had friends who wouldn't be allowed to go to sports practice/games for a while if they weren't doing their school or misbehaved bad enough etc., or they wouldn't be allowed to go out to hang out with their friends.

I know how much it sucks, trust me, I was a teenager like 5 minutes ago and it was infuriating when my parents would make threats/offers to try to get me to do something, or not do something, and I was mad because I didn't want to do it or didn't think I could. But at the same time I acknowledge that it's not unreasonable. You're parents don't have to let you do anything at all ever. As infuriating as it might be, while you are still in their care they technically have that power. Now, most parents are reasonable, but still, they do have to have rules, incentives, punishments, expectations and so on whether you like it or not, and in the long run this usually benefits you.

Things like learning Arabic can really benefit you in the long run, and that, for them, probably seems a lot more important then yet again having you to go Senegal just to have fun with your family there, if you've already been there then you've already benefited by that experience, whereas they're probably more worried about you not benefiting from knowing Arabic.

My suggestion would be to simply show them that you are willing to work harder. That's probably all they're trying to accomplish. But you should also talk to them calmly and reasonably. Let them know you've been struggling with Arabic a lot and that you are really worried that you won't be able to learn the Quran fast enough as a result. Tell them you are willing to step up you're game as much as you can as long as it doesn't interfere with you're other school work and other obligations (ex. to family, friends, sports practice etc.), but that you're hoping that they won't hold it against you if your best effort means you are still struggling with it and that you hope that as long as they see you are working hard at it then they will understand and still allow you to go to Senegal. You could always add in that you will continue trying to practice as much as possible in Senegal, that you will try to use the Arabic you know with people in Senegal (do people speak Arabic there?) and that when you return you will resume your regular practice of Arabic.

Now, if the problem is that you really are worried you can't learn it by the time you go to Senegal, versus your just being angry because they have given this ultimatum, then you should tell them that you will work harder, but suggest some ways that you think you make it easier to improve quicker. Some suggestions, based of what you said, could include asking to see your Arabic tutor more regularly (maybe shorter sessions more often or the same length more often, what ever works). I dont know if your parents speak Arabic too, but you could always tell them that it would help if they practiced Arabic with you a little more often. Or you could always ask them for some more hands on resources, maybe just reading from the Qu'ran isn't working for your style of learning and you or they should look into some more practical tools, like maybe you can get voice recordings of the Qu'ran, videos or online tools - as learning the Qu'ran by memory is an important component of Islam, I would imagine that there are tools out there to help with this, it would strike me as odd if no one was using technology to their advantage. Also, maybe ask if you can focus on more practical Arabic too, and if that would be an acceptable addition.

I hope that this helps, it might help smooth the path if it does. If you need to chat just let me know




Feel free to PM me if you ever need to chat or have questions
   
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