Every night we say prayers. This was the prayer that Hammad gave (and Hassaan then echoed) tonight:
Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Raheem,
Please take care of Daddy and keep him safe and help him be brave and help him get better because he doesn't feel good.
Please take care of Uncle I and keep him safe and help him be brave and help him get better really soon because he's really really sick and I want him to get better.
Please take care of Mommy and keep her safe and help her be brave and give her patience.
Please take care of me and my brother and keep us safe and help us be brave and help us be good.
Please take care of all the people in Japan and help them use their bravery because it's really scary there right now and they need lots of help.
And please take care of everyone else in the world who doesn't have a warm comfy bed, or good food for their tummies or a house to live in.
We weren't big on prayers a couple of years ago. When they were little little, I'd say a prayer with them before they went to sleep, but them saying prayers wasn't something we normally did. We started doing bedtime prayers the night that Abdullah went to prison. For the first little while, they even blew hugs and kisses in the geographic direction that Daddy was in.
Hammad is insistent that prayers have to be done every night. Hassaan not so much. Getting him to say prayers the last month or so has been like pulling teeth, so now I ask him "are you going to say prayers out loud or are you going to say them to Allah in your head?" Many nights he'll say them to Allah in his head - and I know he is because I'll usually hear whispering or see his lips moving!
But we always watch the news at my parents' house, and often watch it at my house. So the boys know what is going on in the world and we discuss it, so that it takes a lot of the scary out of things that they might see. But I want them to grow up like me - watching the news, knowing about world events, able to discuss them (and even debate them) with knowledge. Unlike my wonderful husband who doesn't watch the news, doesn't read a newspaper, and until a couple of years ago thought that the Amazon was in Africa because they both started with A. (I am soooo serious on that one *sigh*) So tonight they saw pictures from Japan, and we talked about it, and since we were at my parents, my parents also talked with them about it. The discussion continued after we got home and were getting them into bed.
That we could MAYBE have an earthquake where we are, but that it would NEVER be like what they get in Japan.
That a tsunami would NEVER happen here because Lake Huron does not have enough water to do that (and that we'll look at how a tsunami works on the computer tomorrow).
That they were talking about a nuclear power plant having bad things happening because certain things must work a certain way in order for it to be safe. And that the nuclear power plant that Mommy works at does not have a problem with earthquakes and tsunamis, and that Mommy is very, very safe when she goes to work (mostly because she's no where near the reactors!)
But I have incredibly empathetic kids. Hammad had to compare it to Haiti, because they learned about Haiti in school last year. We talked about how the earthquake in Japan is worse in terms of how big, but Haiti was worse in terms of devastation because Haiti is so, so poor. That Japan needs lots of help too, but that it will be easier for Japan to be fixed because Japan has people that know what they're doing, and that Japan is a rich country. (And knowing Hammad, I'm surprised that the next question wasn't "well, if Japan is rich and Haiti is poor, then why doesn't Japan just share with Haiti?" because that would have been much more complicated!)
So please join with Hammad, Hassaan and myself and keep the people of Japan in your prayers. An earthquake is bad enough. To add a tsunami and potential meltdown of a nuclear reactor is a situation that no one should ever have to face. Insha'Allah it will all work out.
And we'll continue to keep them in our bedtime prayers.