(If you haven't read Part I, click here)
Part II: I remember reading some troubling statistics in the “Encyclopedia of Violence, Peace, and Conflict, Vol. 2” which reads “in the 1500 hours of television U.S. children watch each year, they see primarily a violent face. The average child will see 8,000 murders and 100,000 acts of violence before finishing elementary school. By the time that same person reaches high school graduation, he or she will have seen 18,000 murders and more than 250,000 acts of violence. The violence is “sanitized” – clean, neat, and tidy with no pain and suffering.”
Unfortunately I can see how those numbers add up. At 7 years old I had already seen the notorious movie Scarface with Al Pacino playing Tony Montana (1983) and who knows how many people he killed in his final scene. Movie classics like The Godfather (1972), Rambo (1982), Terminator (1984), Goodfellas (1990), Casino (1995), and others always showed strength through violence and appeared to show how strong men carry themselves.
I wasn’t even born when The Godfather was filmed but I still watched it when I when I was growing up as a pre-teen! Other movies that intrigued me when I was very young were Warriors (1979) and even though I hadn’t entered kindergarten yet, my father rented the VHS tape and I saw it before I was 10 years old. Other gang related movies like Colors (1988) caught my attention as well. You may ask, what does this have to do with Zayd since he wasn’t born until the late 1990’s? Would it be correct to say I’m sure you know that Hollywood hasn’t stop making violent, misogynistic, gangster movies that glorify all kinds of violence, sex, drug usage, and other filth that young Muslims like Zayd as well as lots of other Muslim children watch?
One big difference was back when I was growing up, there was no “On Demand” instant gratification to access any movie, video, song, or image with a few taps on a device. Zayd had access to whatever he was curious about in his pocket. Like most parents, his mother and father wanted him to have and do better than they did in order to avoid struggle. The hustle and bustle of daily life, being divorced, and caring for a special needs child is difficult on any parent especially when trying to sustain the house when the economy is in the tank.
Zayd didn’t really have an interest in the masjid because he hardly went except when he was enrolled in the Muslim school. He wasn’t exactly popular nor was he an outcast but he sat somewhere in the middle. As happens with teenage boys or should I say young men, his hormones began accelerating as was evident in his height, lower voice, and even the peach fuzz that began developing. Needless to say that ages 14 and 15 for any person going through puberty is a tricky time.
Zayd is growing into being a young man physically and society knows it even though he won’t be allowed certain rights until he’s 18 years old. You see Zayd was fully assimilated to the traditional way of thinking for far too many high school age kids. A little puff, puff, pass (smoking marijuana), drinking, or developing friendships with those that seem to have lived through some of the “thrills” and “excitement” that he’s only seen on TV shows like COPS or played on video games was okay with him. Sad thing is that his mother saw some of the company he kept and didn’t like it but she figured it’s only one bad kid with a potentially bad background. She suspected her son of smoking weed and even bought drug tests to test him.
Well she noticed his behavior changing over time and ignored it but did make dua for him. There wasn’t a support system in place of other Muslims and even if it were she was too embarrassed by his behavior to reach out. She chose to be naïve and took comfort in ignoring what was in front of her and there wasn’t much other than his name to remind her that he is a Muslim.
On a cold winter day about one year ago, several gunshots rang out in an apartment and the police were all over the neighborhood. Zayd’s mother picked him up from one of his “friends” houses and Zayd was acting very nervous so she asked him “what’s the matter?” Zayd’s body was fidgeting, his breathing was shallow, and he was looking down at the floor of the car as she drove and kept peeking in the rear view mirror for police. He ignored her questions for a few minutes and clammed up as she continued driving home.
Stay tuned for Part 3
Don't be AVERAGE, that is simply the TOP of the BOTTOM and the BOTTOM of the TOP!
Remember a WISH changes NOTHING but a DECISION changes EVERYTHING!
Nazir binNaseeb Al-Mujaahid
Author of Muslims Parenting on Purpose Vol. 1
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