Hey you. Yeah, you teens hiding in the masjid parking lot. No no no, it’s okay, I won’t bite. I just have to tell you two things
Last year during Ramadan, I was given the very special responsibility of babysitting the teenagers. I was given my very own key to a classroom and was told to round up any girls walking around, intermingling, etc, and bring them back to the classroom. I was to pray tarawih in the classroom while the teens prayed, chatted, sat there angrily pouting as to why I kept them from talking to their ‘Brother in Islam’. I believe my favorite part of the whole experience was when the mothers would come to me, yelling about how I was preventing their innocent, God-fearing daughters from praying and you know, fearing God. Naturally, when the teenager topic came up again this year during our pre-Ramadan meetings, my reaction was somewhat similar to this
Classic Teen Types
As I’ve mentioned before, thanks to my time at the masjid, I’ve come across a wide spectrum of people. This includes not only aunties, but the younger generation as well: teens, tweens, lip gloss wearing 7-year-olds who think they’re teens. Here are just a few of my favorites.
Really, I have absolutely no idea what it feels like to grow up in a house in the suburbs, go to middle school and high school, do homework, and be expected to fast and pray all at once. How do you manage to survive? I can only admire and respect your sheer ability to get out of bed in the morning. I know I would never have been able to have handled all of that.
I realized that I was an idiot when I was younger. I followed silly things like rules and stuff. It would never have crossed my mind to outright defy an elder type person after she expressly requested me to behave at the masjid. See, when I was younger, I honestly thought that the masjid was there for praying, classes, and the occasional eating. Apparently, I had it wrong all these years. No wonder I’m still single…
I wonder how I ever managed to do anything when I was ten. I didn’t have a cell phone, an iPod, an iPad, a laptop, and the ability to bring all of these things with me to the masjid. I really would just freak out whenever I covered the solar panel of my calculator, and the numbers disappeared. Oh, and the first time I learned to write the word hello upside down in numbers, I thought I was king. I also had this thing, it was like a whole bunch of pieces of papers bound in one place, and the papers had words on them. The really cool thing about the words? Sometimes, if you read them in order, they would tell you things, kind of like a a real live app for story telling. I think it was something called a b-, a bo-, a book?
I believe my favorite group is the passive aggressive angry teens. I thrive on their ability to tweet about their unadulterated hatred for me. I live to see my name in one of their angry Facebook status updates. The more likes, the better. I mean, you could just come up to me and tell me in person as to why you don’t like me and why I’m making your life miserable, but that’s just weird. I’d much rather be the trending topic for the week.
Teens, I get it, I understand. I mean, sure, my life probably wasn’t anywhere near a normal teenage life. I was the social loner: friendly with everyone, close with very few. I wasn’t the typical girl doing the whole boys, shopping, and makeup thing. I didn’t have to think about staying above the influence and all of that. But I did have worries and traumas and life or death battles, so I can somewhat relate. Life is hard, unfair, and slaps you when you least expect it. That’s why we’re so blessed to have this amazing month of fasting. Ramadan is the month where you have a closer connection with Allah (swt) than any other time of the year. Turn to him with your worries and woes, and He’ll be there for you.
If you don’t want to do that, that’s completely your own choice and nobody has the right to force anything on you that you don’t want to do. I will however ask that you have a little bit of respect for the volunteers and adults that may say a few words to you. I will also make a bold request and ask that you show some respect for the house of Allah (swt) and try not to get up to any of the usual antics while your parents pray. You want to chill with your friends? Cool, go ahead. Just don’t disturb others around you when you do it. And please, for the love of all things that are holy, please try to keep it halal. Hashtag Masjid, Ramadan, Modesty, Decency, Respect