By Adesike Abioye
All around the world, parents and carers have a duty to take their children/ wards to school in the morning and pick them up at the end of the school day. Depending on how long the commute is, this may end up being a chore or a joyful routine to fit into a parent’s schedule.
Two consecutive Monday mornings, same place, same time, I walked past a father and his young daughter in her school uniform, obviously on the school run. What I observed on both occasions provoked some thoughts in me, as well as an admiration for this father. The first week, from a distance, I guessed from his appearance that he would be a Muslim, but I only became certain of that as they both got close enough for me to hear a bit of their conversation (without any intention to eavesdrop, by the way).
It wasn’t the regular conversation one usually hears going on with a child of that age (5/6ish thereabout) – he would recite a couple of words in Arabic, which I imagine were verses from the Quran, and she would repeat them after him, back and forth they carried on as they walked along, eventually their voices faded away as the gap between us widened.
I was so intrigued that morning, I assumed I wouldn’t forget that encounter so quickly. But I was wrong, in a few days, the amazement had been displaced by more recent events happening around me… Until, 7 days later, I sighted the duo – father and child, hand in hand, walking towards me along the same path! But this time around, it was the little girl reeling off, sentence after sentence in Arabic, the man was quiet. I couldn’t hold back a word of praise to both their hearing, as I was yet again intrigued. I wondered to myself if this happened on a regular basis. I really cannot tell, but my hunch is that the answer is Yes.
But beyond that, through the action of this father, I was reminded of my responsibility as a Christian parent. The Bible advises us to teach God’s words to our children.
“How ever long or short your school run takes, may I urge you to redeem that time, because at the end of the day, it really isn’t just a commute, but a good opportunity indeed. And to that parent who is already in the groove, I doff my hat!”