Listen, listen, listen

I’ve always felt that it is fruitful to speak to very young children, even infants, about what I am doing for them, or what is happening around them, or what is coming next, throwing out the idea “they can’t understand.”  And I have observed that children who are engaged in this way behave differently as a result of it.

And I have been told on several occasions that even very small children choose to listen to my stories again and again, even though I can’t imagine how they could possibly “understand” the story.

So I wasn’t entirely surprised to read this note from a friend, although it made me really happy and grateful, and I was glad she gave me permission to put it here.

I just wanted to share with you something I think is amazing ) I’ve been playing the Miraculous Happenings CD for a few days straight and noticed that my daughter has actually memorized parts of the story, and she is only 18 months old!!

I was doubtful at first so I’ve kept playing it every day so I could pay attention. When the part comes where you say “and he drank long and greedily…” Nafeesah says “Ahhhhh!” before Abrahah does. Then when you mention he stuffs a handful of grapes in his mouth she makes smacking sound with her mouth. The part when the soldiers start whispering to each other, she starts doing the “whispering” sounds before they start on the recording. and I’ve noticed that before some dialogue is about to come up Nafeesah seems to be imitating the sound of the voice of the person who is about to speak, only in babble of course.
I can tell she has memorized parts of the story because her actions usually precede the sound effects/dialogue that she seems to be imitating rather than afterwards.

Fortunate little girl!

We know that a fundamental developmental factor in language acquisition is

listening.

A child  is listening already in the womb. In fact, if a child is born deaf, he will very likely not go on to speak, even if there is no physiological problem with his voice, without sophisticated equipment and help.

The  very first word of the Masnavi, the phenomenal work of Mevlana Jelalludin Rumi is

listen.

One of my favorite songs growing up was:

Listen, listen, listen

to my heart’s song.

Listen, listen, listen

to my heart’s song.

I will never forget you, I will never forsake you.

I will never forget you, I will never forsake you.

The poet Caroline Forche wrote,

We are listening, help us to understand.

Muhammad, may Allah bless him and give him peace, said,

Be an ear.”

InshaAllah.

MEHDED MARYAM SINCLAIR

Nur al Qasas, The Light of the Spoken Word

When you hear, you’ll see

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Published in: on January 20, 2009 at 1:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

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