Growing up isn’t easy. There is a reason the term “growing pains” was coined after all, right? Add to these adulthood growing pains the element of parenthood, and you are left with an even more complex layer of responsibility – which basically entails raising the next generation of the inheritors of this Earth!
Too dramatic? No. It is very easy to forget this immense responsibility as we get caught up in our every-day routine. Life in the UAE, in particular, can be very enamoring with its wide array of children’s activities, weekend getaways, new mall openings (Yas mall anyone?!), lazy beach days, and pretty much anything else that can distract you from reality.
One of the most important life lessons that my parents taught me was to be an active member of my society. This is something that is part and parcel of the Mom’s Guide mantra as well. We believe in everyone’s potential to be a leader in their society, which can come in a variety of forms.
As your resident Sheikha Love, I want to offer you a way to bring you closer to your spouse by engaging together in being active members of your community. My husband and I are always trying to push ourselves to find ways to get involved, even when all we really want to do is just slump on the couch and relax! I cannot stress enough, though, how important it is for your growth as a couple to develop a deeper understanding of what you both want to contribute to this world and to work on doing that as a team. In doing so, you will not only be enriching your lives and the lives of those around you, but more importantly, you will be showing your children through practice, and not just preaching, the value of being active members of society.
Assembly lines packing backbacks at the Dubai Cares “Rebuild Palestine. Start with Education” Initiative
If your schedule is completely slammed, you can find local charities whose mission you feel drawn to, and consider giving a simple donation to one of their programs. Get your kids involved by having them come up with an activity to raise money to donate to a charity. For example, one friend’s young daughter came up with the idea of making greeting cards and selling them to her friends and family. Her cards became such a big hit, that she now does it annually, generating thousands of dollars to donate to charity each year.
The flags of the countries being represented at the Small World UAE Grand Event
There are also a number of charity initiatives that encourage children to participate, especially those aimed at helping other less fortunate children. We recently volunteered in the “Rebuild Palestine. Start with Education” initiative held by Dubai Cares (www.dubaicares.ae), where hundreds of volunteers assembled school backpacks filled with essential school materials for the children of Gaza. In only two days, volunteers had packed 50,000 backpacks! What was especially heartwarming to see was the large number of young children brought to participate in the initiative. Taking your children to participate in such initiatives is not only a valuable family activity, but it is also the best way to plant the seed of volunteerism and giving back to the community.
If you like to attend glitzy, glamorous events, there are many charities that hold annual fundraising galas, which offer a nice opportunity for you and your spouse to have a date night for a cause. Not only do you get alone time – and some needed adult socialization – but you get to do it for charity! You can see in the pictures below a beautiful international night event that my husband and I attended, organized by Small World UAE at the National Theater, where representatives from a variety of countries presented their culture through traditional dance and musical performances. Small World UAE annually hosts a lavish fundraising event that generates thousands of dollars in donations, which are then delivered to charity organizations worldwide that help educate children in need (www.smallworlduae.net). Guess what else? It was born out of the vision of its founder, Mrs. Salam Hamzeh Ghaith, a fellow mother looking to make a positive impact on society!
Traditional Arab “Dabkeh” Folklore Dance at the Small World UAE Grand Event
Try to keep looking for (or creating!) ways to play an active role in your community – whatever works for your schedule. No matter how small of a contribution you think you are making, it is the fact that you even took that step to be proactive in your society that will have a lasting impact on your relationship, your family, and the world around you.