All praise is due to Allah subhana wa ta’ala, Lord of the worlds.
Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh, my dear brothers and sisters.
I’ve been reading Anthony Robbins’ powerfully succinct book, ‘Awaken the Giant Within’ on and off over the past few months. It’s very well written and in my opinion, written by a man whose intention is to empower as many people as possible with the knowledge, skills and attitude that would make them realise just how great they truly are inside.
In his book, he talks about how a teacher, Marva Collins, helped her students believe in themselves and push their own abilities beyond limits and succeeded magnificently. He went to her school and interviewed a four year old boy who told him he just finished reading ‘Of Mice and Men’. (Wow! Masha’Allah, I only read that book in my late teens!)
This story reminded me of a friend, who owns quite a number of kindergartens together with her business partner. She is a Khalifah Method trainer and implemented the method in all her kindergartens. The four year old students have memorised Surah Yassin and interact with each other exactly like khalifah to one another. If a student is misbehaving, it is his friends who remind him and correct his behavior. Masha’Allah. It is truly amazing to see these children!
In my years at Khalifah Model School, I had been blessed with the opportunities to work closely with students and see the transformation that took place. If they were noisy and disruptive before, now when I go into class, all of them are seated and quiet, with stationery and books ready on their tables. If they were fighting and teasing each other before, now they treat each other with empathy and gentleness.
I took the final year students out for a treat recently, for bowling and lunch. I reminded them that when they are with me, they have to remember that my standard is the khalifah standard so in everything they do and say, it has to be as khalifah. So, that is how I found them to be praying Zuhr in jema’ah before we went into the bowling alley. And sharing plates of food with each other instead of ordering individual meals. Alhamdulillah, there wasn’t any food wasted at all and some even brought home food for their siblings.
This is one of the principles Anthony Robbins talks about in his book; holding ourselves to a higher standard and as a muslim, this standard is the khalifah standard: doing everything as how Allah Almighty instructed us to through Al Quran and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.
During my time at the school, as I reminded the students of their role as khalifah of Allah Almighty, I always helped them see for themselves that they are more smarter, stronger, kinder, hardworking, patient than they or anyone else thought they could ever be. What I received in return was nothing short of a miracle… The students became smarter, stronger, kinder, more hardworking and patient! This brings me to the second of Anthony Robbins’ principle; empowering them with new, positive thoughts about themselves so that they begin to become those positive thoughts. These kids really just needed someone to believe in them.
We did several overnight, motivational camp programs at the school called ACE Camp, which had been featured several times on national television. I designed the camp module to equip the students with basic life skills like cooking, organizing, money management and cooperation. The result was students doing everything for themselves! Any parent who says their child is lazy did not see their child at this camp. They prepared food on their own, under my supervision, from scratch to finish, served it, washed up after, swept the floor, tidied the kitchen and even planned all the meals themselves! I’m talking about kids as young as 7 year olds here…Even at this young age, Anthony Robbins’ principle of having life skills can be learnt and understood by them.
At the subsequent camps, the students were so familiar with the module that they didn’t need any instructions from me. All I had to do was to show up for the sessions and meals! They had gotten everything ready before I came. A few parents came back to me with feedback about their kids after the camp. One parent said her daughter gets up early on Sundays and prepares breakfast for the family. She was 9 years old.
Looking back, the experiences and discoveries I made during my time teaching has truly enriched me. I now know that children, given their khalifah potential in an inspiring and motivating way, having people around them believing in their khalifah potential and teaching them skills that would enable them to fulfill their khalifah potential, will do just that: become a khalifah of Allah Almighty.