Tapping into intuitive parenting
A group of 14 mothers and grandmothers have successfully completed a parenting programme aimed at holistically improving their minds, skills and souls.
“The Soulful Parenting Programme aims to address the vital missing link within general parenting practices by offering a mindful, compassionate approach to parenting. It is a flagship project of the initiative Breathing Spaces for Mindful Living,” says Naseera Ebrahim, project founder.
The sessions are run by Ebrahim and Sarah Foale.
Ebrahim was still in the process of finalising the business and project registration when she was approached by Masjid Dar As Salaam in Lost City to offer the workshop.
“Families are in turmoil – there is so much pain that they are experiencing and this type of intervention is much needed. Masjid Dar As Salaam is committed to support and help heal families as far as we possibly can,” says Iegshaan Abrahams, counsellor and project manager of the masjid.
“We would like to have another Soulful Parenting programme this year and include it in our year-plan in future, In Shaa Allah.”
The participants are all part of classes run at the masjid and were asked if they would be interested in attending the 10-session workshop.
A total of 14 participants successfully completed the course and received certificates at the final session held at Thusong Centre on Thursday 26 July.
Ebrahim has been running parenting workshops and support groups in the community for the past nine years.
“I always felt there was a missing link. We were providing tools but we were missing soulful parenting where we help parents to tap into their intuitive sides. The tools can be there but if you don’t put your heart and soul into it, you are not going to use the tools effectively,” says Ebrahim.
She says often new parents are taught by the older generation to do things a certain way, but rather suggests that all parents have natural instincts and should follow them.
“We are being educated out of our natural instincts and I wanted to bring that back. That is when I started the community project Breathing Spaces for Mindful Living. I intend to take these mindfulness tactics into areas like the clinic where people are sitting there. While sitting and waiting they could do breathing exercises that could also help them with their pain,” she says.
Shamiela Cogills, a participant, says she learnt a different approach to parenting.
“The workshop was great and valuable. It was helpful for everyone and it covered so much. We were involved physically, mentally, verbally and spiritually. What I loved is that they did not only say and explain things, we did exercises as well. As parents, we rely on our own knowledge but sometime we don’t understand it. We were able to ask questions. We don’t think outside the box. We do things the way we were taught to back then and that is all we do. Sometimes we encounter things that we couldn’t handle before and that makes you a stronger person. I believe Allah (SWT) will not allow us to face something we cannot handle,” says Cogills.
For Adeda Gasnola, the classes offered an opportunity to find herself.
“At first I thought I was going to waste my time at the programme because I did not think it was for me, but it is so amazing. I feel like a small child going to school for the first time. I could not speak to my children before because they are grown and my youngest child is 10, he has ADHD. I have learnt how to be patient and how to talk to them. I used to run away from problems at home. Now I know how to handle myself. I learnt how to love myself,” says Gasnola.
“I must first take care of myself. Now I can speak to my children. The environment in the house was very violent, my son would just smash the windows in, but it is now much better. The past few months have become peaceful because I have the courage to tell what is right. Everything I have learnt here, I implement at home.”
The classes also offered the women emotional support and parenting tips for modern homes.
“Before I was very emotional. I used to just cry because I did not know how to handle myself. With this programme, I found myself. I know now that I need to love myself first, before I can love my children and husband. Things are much better. It is not 100% but it is better. I listen to my grandchildren easier now and have quality time with them. This class helped a lot of people,” says Tahgmieda Moses, another participant.
Ebrahim says they saw a change in the participants very quickly.
“The second session spoke about feelings and it was very heavy for the women. Part of the project is to take the women out of the area. In the third session we took them to Constantia where they could be one with nature. It was an instant shift. They left feeling renewed after a mindfulness walk where they soulfully connected with the trees. It is important to get the people out of their surroundings for healing to start taking place,” she says.