Prepping Your College Kid (Who's Living Away From Home) for Ramadan
Mar 17, 2023
Image source: Pexels; photo by Keira Burton
By Zaiba Hasan
This is the first Ramadan my eldest will not be with our family during Ramadan. I feel angst surrounding it for various reasons, all of which ultimately stems from my insecurities as a parent in providing the proper Islamic foundation for my eldest, who has Grown and Flown from the nest and is in college.
When you’ve spent the last few years waking them up for suhoor (the pre-dawn meal), organizing their activities, talking to teachers |coaches| and school directors for accommodations, making sure their dinners are nutritious and healthy and constantly filling that water bottle post-iftar, it’s a LITTLE stressful to think that your “baby” is now having to do that all on their own. (Sadly, I admit I over-function for my children, but I digress.)
Ramadan is also the ONLY time that all six of my family members gather together at the dinner table at a set time the entire month, so not having his physical presence will also be felt on a deeper emotional level than I am even mentally prepared for. So, I invite you to join me as I prep my child AND myself for his first Ramadan away from home.
(Are you a college student and worried about how to elevate your worship and make the most of Ramadan? Here’s some #realtalk and great advice from a fellow collegian!)
1. Ramadan Care Package: Create a Ramadan care package and send it to your child. Fill it with some treats and the comforts of home. There are so many fabulous Muslim entrepreneurs who you can reach out to if you aren’t crafty (like myself) to build a Ramadan box for you. But a mug for tea, dates, cookies and a new prayer rug could be just some things you send your college kiddo to show that you are thinking of them. Listen to our most recent podcasts on “Our Favorite Things” to get inspired.
Image source: Pexels; photo by Erfan Moghadm
2. Be an emotionally “hands-off support” system: Recognize that your child is likely navigating social situations and feeling a lack of community spirit. Resist the urge to step in and allow them to flounder. I know this sounds rough, but it will be THEIRS and NOT yours when they finally find their Muslim community. For children like mine who didn’t grow up in a community, finding one for themselves is priceless.
3. College MSA programs: If your child is having difficulty finding that community, encourage them to reach out to their MSA (Muslim Students Association) program on campus. Typically, the MSA provides activities and support that can fill the void. If you want to be “extra” like I admit I am, helping fund or support a student iftar is another way to help your child and support the MSA program on campus. A bonus here is you are providing meals to fasting students, one of which is your own.
4. Recognize that you don’t have control: I know this may be difficult for many of us, but ultimately, we don’t have control over our adult children. We must trust that we have instilled enough of a foundation that they will make the right choices and know how to support themselves during this holy month best.
The beauty of Ramadan is that it's a time for spiritual reflection and seeking closeness with God. While I'm anxious at the thought of my child being away from home, I also hope this is an opportunity for them to grow in their faith as they learn to be independent and resourceful.
Image source: Pexels; photo by Erfan Moghadm
Despite being separated, having your kid live alone during Ramadan doesn't mean you can't participate in the season together – it simply looks different than what we're used to. The key takeaway is that our kids, no matter the circumstance, still need our encouragement and support to stay prayerful, mindful and centered during this holy month.
There are plenty of little ways – like sending unique gifts or meaningful messages – that we can use to show our children that no matter how near or far they may be, we'll always have their back in every part of life, even though we strategically step back at times to let them find their way!
Until next time,
Zaiba Hasan is part of the dynamic duo behind the award-winning podcast, Mommying While Muslim. She is the founder of and a spiritual parent coach at Emerge Consulting Solutions, an interfaith mediator and sports mama extraordinaire. Look for her on the baseball fields and basketball courts in the DMV (Washington, D.C.-Maryland-Virginia) area cheering from the sidelines.
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