For the love of teaching children.

I think, I have developed a passion for teaching ever since I was a small kid. Although I dreamed of becoming a cardiac surgeon to be specific, seeing mom as a good example of a very hardworking teacher influenced me to have that innate (cheh setahu) desire to teach as well. It’s in the blood, people! You see. Allah’s plan is so organised and unexpected, that all the path that I took did not lead me to be what I wanted to be. I wanted to be a surgeon. So I almost got into a science school with my PCE result. Guess what? I was not a citizen, so I got rejected. I did not give up. All the streams that I took during high school were the sciences. I took Chemistry and Biology so I could enter medical school. And I did, for just a few months because it was a just a conditional offer and I scored triple Cs for my A level, so I was redirected to take Biomedical Sciences instead (thinking that I with that degree I could still enter medical school right after). I did so-so for 4 years, and what Allah has planned for me did not lead me into becoming a medical student anyway. That burning desire to be a surgeon died for a while. I took Masters in Biomedical Sciences, thinking that I could still contribute in saving lives by conducting a physiology-related research. Once again, that path did not really go well. Instead of finishing in 2 years or less, that project took about 5 years to finish. Why? Because I lost it. I have lost the interest in that project because of all those technical issues faced. I was not strong enough to withstand the trials and tribulations. I did finish the degree anyway, along with another degree as well. Meanwhile, I got a job at a private school, teaching primary school kids. Straight away, I fell in love with that job. However, not knowing anything about the education arena made me decide to apply for a Master of Teaching, and yes, I got in. It felt easier, as in the path that I diverted to then felt easier and smoother, as if teaching offers a brighter future ahead. So I tried my best to learn and practice teaching in the Primary level – it was indeed a fantabulous experience. My love for teaching grew even more.

I listened to Nouman Ali Khan’s Pursuit of Happiness the other day, when he categorized people according to their pursuits. The lowest is the Pursuit of Happiness (whereby the pursuers are us, worrying only about being happy or not) and he defined happy as simple as eating a burger. Pursuers of happiness are easily satisfied with things that can make them feel nice inside. A pursuit just above that is the Pursuit of Cool. People who put in an extra effort just so they could fit in. Next is the Pursuit of Popularity, another extra effort to be popular. They have got to know the latest trend, get the latest gadgets and all just so they could be popular. Next is the Pursuit of Prestige, where material is the basis. They have got possess the best branded wear, vehicle, house, etc so they could appear to the public with prestige (even when they did not have that much money). A higher level of pursuit is money, and these people don’t really care how they dress or appear to people as long as they are rich. Even though they don’t wear Gucci nor Prada, their bank account is filled with lots and lots of money and they work really hard to get more. The pursuit of excellence is beyond money, and these people will only be satisfied if they could be the best of the best in academic, sports, you name it. And these people will always make themselves as someone they have to beat everyday. I can say these people are those kiasu types. Always want to be at the top. The cream of crops. And lastly, the pursuit of impact. These people are already excellent people, but they only aim for leaving an impact to the world. They are the world-changers. They only feel satisfied if they could help those in need and make a change.

So what was I trying to say again? Oh yes. Teaching made me feel that I could leave an impact to the world. It made me feel that the salary part is not as satisfying as getting the children to learn something successfully. It makes me feel… human. And so now after finishing both Masters (Biomedical Sciences and Teaching) at the same time, and graduating for those Masters at the same time as well, alhamdulillah, Allah blessed me with another blessing of being a local contract teacher, teaching Year 5 Literacy. So far so good, so far so blessed. In my head, it’s the impact I am for, so whatever glitches the program has encountered, nothing could beat the feeling of satisfaction when my kids finally spell a word correctly, or produce a grammatical-error-free writing. Nothing could beat the feeling of seeing my kids grow, with a good akhlaq and with a positive outlook in life. Nothing could make me happier than having kids who their ultimate goal is to go to Paradise (and that motivation leads them to do their best in all aspects of their life). Hopefully, this path… is still filled with ease (though ease comes with difficulty), and that I could leave an impact on this world so that when I am gone, these kids grow up to be those pursuers of impact as well. (and yes, my ‘amal will then increase even after I die, yasss!).

Off to teaching.

P/S: Lesson planning is hard. Lol.

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You think you deserve it.

Some days are just challenging, when people you seek appreciation from, just won’t show any appreciation for your kindness or helpfulness. You just feel rather sensitive when some other people you know who have passed, seems to be repeatedly appreciated and remembered for her kindness, spiritual strength or whatsoever that you tend to end up dealing with your own water works. Then this great pang of realization sets in, do you really deserve what you want those people to give you or show to you? The fact that you are expecting something from those people and feeling rather disappointed when expectations do not meet, questions your sincerity in doing such and such. Admit it, you have forgotten the fact that when we do good to people just to get recognized by those people, your sincerity seems suspicious. When in reality, we should only expect rewards from Allah (and those rewards are not measurable for its time of delivery).

Dear self, one day, when the world is over and the Hereafter begins, you will witness whether the good things you have done will turn to dust or help you enter Paradise. You will finally know whether all these while you have lived by the messages in the Qur’an or not. You will in the end find out whether or not you will sit down talking with Allah in person or not.

The thing is, your ego distracts you from feeling that you have not done enough to meet Allah in His Paradise. Your ego motivates you to feel that you are far more knowledgeable than anyone else. Your ego prevents you from humbling yourself genuinely to other people, what more in front of Allah. Astaghfirullah, astaghfirullah. I always think I deserve an appreciation post on social media by my own beloved people, that’s why when I don’t see one (and see one for other people instead) I feel infuriated. When in fact, I have not been completely sincere in just doing good to gain Allah’s pleasure.

Come on dear self, continue doing good but channel your expectations for rewards solely from Allah then you will be happy. Don’t stop being kind just because those people have never appreciated your kindness (and appreciate other people instead). Sure, that can demotivate you from doing good, but hey, goodness is not for them. Kindness is given to please Allah, not to please people. When people are pleased, that’s just a bonus motivation for you. And yes, a bonus is forever unpredictable. Never expect the unpredictable to give you euphoria, it’ll crush you real bad.

Dear self, hold on to the rope of Allah. If people won’t appreciate you it’s okay. Allah knows. If no one seems to know you are kind, Allah knows. Just don’t stop striving to improve yourself and be the best in front of Allah.

:’)

Entitled.

Verily, our dependency lies solely upon Allah, none other. When we put expectations on other than Allah, our system cannot fully function when those we put expectations and dependency on do not satisfy us. True, we all need to be helped in some way. We all need to help each other, for the spirit of goodness. But help itself only comes from the Only One who could help, and that’s no longer in the authority of anything lower than Allah. We all have different struggles, we are in no place to judge anyone who feel despaired by struggles similar to us (but we managed to get through the struggle). Yes, when we have succeeded in overcoming each struggle, that’s a good example to motivate others who might still be searching for air in overcoming theirs. But we are in no place to ridicule a person who cries in pain even for something as small a struggle in our eyes.

We might fall into the same rabbit hole, we might experience pulling the same roots in the hole to at least not fall deeper, but each one of us was designed differently. The strength we have is different. It depends on a lot of factors, like upbringing, the nutrients we’re getting, the mindset, and the list goes on and on. If you throw a rock of the same shape, mass, from the same distance of the same height and the same velocity and same force whatever you call it, to me… it might not feel the same if I do the same to you provided all of the above are kept constant. Nothing can be kept constant. Even if we keep the temperature of a room the same, I might say it’s cold while you might say it’s as hot as hell. See. The reason why we can’t judge anyone else to be of lesser being than us when that person does something bad is because that person’s logic might not yet reach what our logic have reached, in preventing self-inflicting harm. What I mean is, what we see apparent in our eyes from an evil-doer, doesn’t give us the rights to badmouth, or make assumptions that that person is doomed in condemnation. We can’t even be selfish to have demanded respect or anything from anyone because we never deserve it. Even the feeling of gratitude from others (when we help them), we are not entitled to receive that, because gratitude belongs to Allah alone.

How to say ah, I am beginning to see more and more weakness in human, especially when I observe my own self. Humans are so unpredictable…

(to be continued… and yes, this is one sign of how weak I can be, to make promises to continue writing despite having the writer’s block or so I claimed to be having at the moment.)

 

P/S: Don’t go there.

People we miss.

I remember his funny made-up songs, his laughter, his eyes that smile and his ability to spread warmth to those around him. For me, it only feels like yesterday since we played computer games together even though he has been gone for nearly 12 years now. He must have been 27 by now, tall and handsome. He was up so late, cooking for me instant noodles, curry flavored I remember. Such a darling little brother was he, and a very good son. He had his own tantrums, but he was an example of a sound heart. I can never forget him, he means so much to us. His voice still exists in our heart. For someone Allah loves more than we love him, it has always been a goal to at least reunite with him in Paradise. It has always been an ultimate reminder if we ever deviate a little from that main goal, to go back and fix things. To see him again, after seeing Allah and His messenger. I miss him dearly. And now, three people I held so dearly in my heart have joined his peaceful slumber. Bibim, Babuajah and Nurun Naqiah.

Every time I think about them, there’s always this painful lump stuck in my throat, difficult to swallow. I know for sure, that I won’t be able to see them again in this world, but I believe that I still have a chance to see them in heaven. How much contributions they have given to this world for the sake of Allah, how much good deeds they have done to fulfill the criteria of the best of creation… I can never imagine how blessed they were to have died a peaceful death, with sweet scent filling their grave as we finally part. I wonder how my death would be like. I wonder how can I join their sweet-smelling journey to heaven. I wonder how much impact I am going to leave after I am gone.

Truly, I am not sure. My heart tells me it’s not enough. It’s not even reaching a little of partially enough. Allah… guide us… to Your Straight Path.

The choice is solely yours.

choice-photo

Have we not made for him two eyes?

And a tongue and two lips?

And have shown him the two ways?

But he has not broken through the difficult pass.

Surah al-Balad ayahs 8-11

All praises to Allah that we can still breathe normally, even though if we come to think, we have received a lot of free stuff in this world without having the slightest constant awareness to thank Allah for giving us such free stuff. If only oxygen was price-tagged with as low as one cent per inhalation, imagine how much indebted we are to Allah by now for having to pay to stay alive. Even rain is free. Imagine if every droplet was charged such and such dollars per usage, and we need them just to at least avoid forest fires (that could lead to haze, and lack of colors in our lives). I wonder how we would survive, with all the other bills to pay, stomachs to fill, fees to settle, things to buy. Alhamdulillah thumma alhamdulillah for whatever He has given us, without asking for anything in return. And as to why shouldn’t we show our gratitude to Him with obedience then?

Partly, because maybe we forgot to register that fact in our hearts. The fact that He has given us food, shelter, protection, help – you name it – and He has not the slightest needs from us in return. It is up to us, to strengthen our dependency on Him, putting Him at the center of our life. Face it, we have a choice. A choice given to everyone fair and square, to either remember Him or forget Him. To follow the Straight Path or deviate from it. To make bad assumptions or think good about everything. The choice is solely ours.

So if we end up asking for an extension for assignment/thesis submission, think again. We can’t fully blame people around us, events that occurred that hindered us from finishing thesis on time. The choice is ours whether to act or react to whatever that is occurring in our lives. I guess, this is the most painful slap on my own face. I am just so emotional lately. Reactive, sensitive, you name it. And when emotions seep in, I lost control of my own openness to accept differences. I blamed the system, the people in the corrupted system, other people who support the people in the corrupted system, other people who seemed to be opposing the system behind its back but later on defending the system when I voice out my opposition to the system. I blamed everyone who has ideas not in line with mine. Now that, my friend, is doom for me. It’s when I realized that long gone my daily reflection exercises for myself that I stopped evaluating and re-evaluating my “off” behaviors.

When I think about it again, I guess, I am pretty much messed up with all these “I am a victim, can’t you see?” mindset. And now I am off for another adventure to find the lost me or the remedy for this dangerous mindset. How? Where?

Here (points to the heart). Allah. Reminds of ayah 16-17 from surah al-Hadiid:

Has the time not come for those who have believed that their hearts should become humbly submissive at the remembrance of Allah and what has come down of the truth? And let them not be like those who were given the Scripture before, and a long period passed over them, so their hearts hardened; and many of them are defiantly disobedient.

Know that Allah gives life to the earth after its lifelessness. We have made clear to you the signs; perhaps you will understand.

Surah al-Hadid ayah 16-17

That’s pretty much self-explanatory I guess. If Allah could give life to earth after its lifelessness, then a dying heart should be just “kacang” (easy-peasy) for Allah to do.

So yes. Return to Allah, ask for the remedy (yeah, basically this is me, talking to myself and trying to revive this heart by blogging).

Back to Social Studies now.

Tuesday Mubarak everyone!

When I feel like I’m slowly losing it

I haven’t been blogging much these days. I have always wanted to type whatever I have in my head – these endless thoughts, reflections, even a scene from a book (or several books) I have not even started writing (and yet, I come to a chapter of that non-existent book). Swarmed with lots of work made me realize that I am super-occupied and I like the feeling of that. I love being occupied with work to finish, deadlines to catch, even problems to solve. They made me feel alive. Then again, there is always one fraction of that occupied time when I ponder upon how much benefits I have sowed and provided to myself and those around me, because in the end, work should result in productivity. How productive my days have been, how beneficial I am to the society even to myself, these thoughts keep running in my head over and over.

I am always scared that during the Judgement Day, all those work I have done I will proudly pile up into mountains of pride, only to know that those mountains vanish into dust due to their uselessness – contained little or no benefits at all to anyone. What if all these while I am just doing work that contains little or no benefits at all to my life in the Hereafter?

Oh dear… and now Mr Writer’s Block has finally arrived yet again in front of my doorstep. I wonder when will I ever produce a rather beneficial post again…

Till then.

Becoming something we’re not

the-struggle-is-real

I wonder why there has been an emergence of faces enhanced with animal ears or nose or whiskers on social networking sites these days. Maybe I am just  few steps behind. Maybe the trend has died down now. But that moment when it trended, it got me thinking for a few months – two months to be exact. Do we really enjoy losing humility over some bit of fun from changing our features? I’ve read some few angry comments here and there about becoming like animals, and degrading ourselves like that. Man, that was unnecessary. Of course we didn’t capture selfies with puppy ears to degrade ourselves to be like animals. Siap letak dalil lagi. I took a deep breath, and put on my thinking hat, to not dramatically fall into the same anger, because truly I am concerned about something else – the loss of our identity.

What identity?

We have certainly created man in the best of stature;

Surah at-Tin ayah 4

I solely believe that we have been created in our best form and we are the best creation compared to every other creation created! I mean, if we are the best of creation, shouldn’t we be doing something that truly confirms the fact that we are the best? I mean, if we have so much time taking selfies enhanced with whatnot, and posting them on social media, I don’t think we are displaying that “the best” character in us, no? This might look like a small matter but read this. I stumbled into another surah in my head and that is:

By time, 

Indeed, mankind is in loss,

Except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience.

Surah al-Asr ayah 1-3

So I’m guessing that we have not spent enough time trying to run away from being in loss. I mean, that’s just one issue regarding Snap Chat. How about Pokemon Go? How about Fall Out 4? How about all the other time-killers stuff out there that we engage in, that deviated us from believing, from doing righteous deeds, from advising each other to truth and from advising each other to patience? That, my friend, I am very concerned about. About getting myself fall into that category of those who are in loss. Then if the minimum requirement to not be in loss are all those four criteria mentioned above in the 3rd ayah, then how to enter Paradise like this? How to return to our real Home like this? This is real-world problem. Real, I tell you.

We always complain of not getting enough time to do things each day, but why do we have so much time killing time with such benefit-less time-killers? Think about it. Well, I am thinking about it and I smile upside-down. This. Is. Not. Good.

So how to deal with this? I guess we really have to step back and think before we engage in doing something that can make us lose our identity as the best creation. Really. The struggle is real bradah, and we need to heal the pain from this struggle. Phew, I might not make any sense now but I’m glad I got that off my chest now.

P/S: Off to chasing Paradise. 🙂