Friday, December 27, 2013


Bism Illah wa as salaamu alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

Exposure is a POWERFUL thing. It can cause dissatisfaction, greed, misery, materialism, divorce, corruption, and great haraam. However, handled with care and forethought, exposure is the key to positive outcomes, halal pursuits, and pleasure in the most simple things.

Part of the reason children like the things they do is simply due to exposure. If they are exposed to TV, music, video games, amusement parks, and shopping as forms of recreation, then they will be the things they choose from, along with the things they have seen through those media. You will find them constantly wanting the things they have seen advertised or in the shop windows. You will find them often inactive and considering Wii a viable form of sports.Rather than sit and talk face to face, they will communicate via the latest app, be it Whatsapp, Instagram or the ever present Facebook. Bad exposure results in parents hearing those awful words from their children, "I'm bored. There's nothing to do," because they always require entertainment from an external source.

However, when you expose your children to nature, playing in the park, making things out of mud, cooking, crafts, knitting, sewing, building things, growing things, physical activities and games, pretend role playing, and reading to learn about real people, places, and situations, you will find them choosing from those things as forms of recreation.The larger their repertoire of skills, abilities, intellectual and physical outlets, the more healthy, balanced, and competent they will be. Good exposure results in parents finding that their children are never bored; rather they don't have time to do all the different things they'd like to do.

When we were preparing for a trip to Makkah to meet up with my oldest friend and her family, my 7 and 10 year old daughters got out their knitting book and knitted a handbag and a phone cover for her youngest daughter - my namesake - Mai. They also knitted a purse for her older sister. We made them gifts of homemade coco-mint lip balm and honey and orange body bars. I baked them brownies. They don't think about having money to buy gifts for others, they think about what they can make - a gift made with love and thought and real effort on their part, maashaa Allah.

Exposure is something that can be done on a larger scale when socializing with other families, too. We went to the park and had knitting lessons. We had a monthly girls gathering where we cooked something healthy and delicious. We crafted rag rugs. We had theme nights where everyone dressed "prairie" and we cooked prairie food and learned about life back then for the pioneers.

I talk about my eating philosophy with friends and acquaintances, but it is never simply that. I feed them. I show them that you can eat halaal, tayyibaat, truly healthy and nutritious food that tastes wonderful, without compromise. I expose them to foods that are simple to make, so if they say they love them, I can give them the recipe and they can make it themselves easily with few ingredients.

Exposure is also da'wah. In sharing my thoughts and struggles publicly, I expose others to a positive approach to life's tests. I can expose them to better knowledge and understanding of Allah and His Perfection,  and how that can be applied in real-life situations, bi idhn Illah ta'ala.

So, consider the power of exposure, and seek not only to expose others to good and positive things, but also to ensure that you are being exposed to beneficial things... for this life and your ultimate success in the aakhirah inshaa Allah.

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