I remember many years ago, I was invited to give a talk on our beloved Prophet Muhammad PBUH to Khalifah Model School’s kids. I wasn’t part of the school’s team back then. An outsider, and most of the kids do not know me. My concern was, I like talking. I can talk on and on for long hours. But that would not serve the purpose of the session. It was part of the school’s celebration to commemorate the mawlid of our beloved Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam .
I need to strategise a way to make the content relevant to the 7-12 years old primary school children. I decided to create a small game.
Let us play ‘The Opposite Game’.
“When I mention a word, raise your hand and give me the opposite,” I gave them a clear instruction.
Well, the ‘raise your hand’ didn’t work. All the kids were very enthusiastic and had no patience to wait for my permission to answer. Ok, forget about raising hand. Just answer. Loudly!
The school hall was so loud, enough to wake the dead! We were very happy. I congratulated the students for their kindness on sharing their thought, out loud and clear.
Then I moved to the next part of the game.
“What do you know about Prophet Muhammad when he was young?” I asked.
Some of the kids responded saying that he was a nice boy, hardworking, a good friend… I wonder if they answered from what they really know about Rasulullah sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam or they just made up all the answers. It was funny to hear all the things they said.
“Ok, thank you. I love all your answers. You know a lot about our Prophet. Alhamdulillah. Now, what do you know about him when he was an old man?” I asked.
Again, they unloaded everything.
“How was he when he was poor? How was he when he was rich? How was he when he was sad? How was he when he was happy? How was he when he was a worker? How was he when he was the boss?” I asked all these questions to bring them to an important conclusion…
When Rasulullah sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam was happy, he gave us the best example on how someone should behave during happiness. The example he gave was the best example. He also demonstrated how someone should behave during sadness, richness and poorness, being the best young kid, the best old man, the best boss, the best worker… his teaching is relevant in all situations no matter how sharp the opposites and if you want the best, you can get the best of everything out of him, sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
“Well… what is the opposite of GOOD?” I asked them.
“Bad!” they replied.
“Can you find good things from Rasulullah sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam?” I asked.
“Yes. Many of them!” the kids responded.
“Can you find bad things from Rasulullah sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam?” I asked again.
They were very quiet. Tried to figure out the answers.
“No,” some replied.
“If you are a good kid, you can follow Rasulullah sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam because he was good. If you make yourself bad, you cannot follow Rasulullah sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam because there is not bad example from him. You need to find an example from others…”
“From Syaitan!” a boy gave his shout-out.
We laughed and giggled.
“So, if we love Rasulullah sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam, let us make ourselves good. Choose to be good and help others to become good!” I concluded the session.
It was a happy moment for me. At that time, I believed, children can learn better if they feel comfortable, they can relate the content with their personal knowledge, and the learning is active.
I must find my way to become a teacher. Hope I can be a good one. Like the Prophet himself, sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
بعثني مُعَلِّمًا مُيَسِّرًا
“He sent me as a teacher and a facilitator” Rasulullah sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam mentioned as recorded by Imam Muslim.
Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet: O you that believe! Send your blessings on him, and salute him with all respect. (33:56)