A Nature smart person is one who admires the beauty of the flora and fauna around him. We reflect on the verses of the noble Qur’an that connects us with nature as well as the ‘green hadith’ that reminds us of our duty to grow plants. Today in the urban cities, this type of learner needs to be nurtured. Go ahead, bring the nature smart person in you.
Who is a Nature Smart Person?
Watching ants being industrious on the playground, noticing the different flowers that grow in a garden, making sure nobody cuts the trees down or simply looking at the birds flying in the blue sky – Welcome to the world of nature. If you love being amongst animals or plants, talking about the different species that exist, exploring the deep ocean, visiting a zoo, an aquarium or the museum, you are being nature smart.
Think about the verses from Surah Ghashiyah and how they affect the relationship between man and nature. Imagine a Bedouin reflecting on the verses as he is riding his camel? What profound effect would it have on his mind! In the surah, Allah speaks about reflecting on the very camel that he is riding, then he is asked to look around the mighty mountains as they stand representing pegs for the Earth and the vastness of the open sky which is supported without any pillars and the huge sea of sand all around him.
Thus, the Qur’an helps us connect to our Creator while connecting us to the beauty of Allah’s creation at the same time.
Being a nature smart person is not just about admiring animals and smelling the fragrance of flowers but also includes caring for the environment and standing up the injustice that is done.
You can have an elocution competition in your school where you talk about a very relevant topic in a modern cities – “Where are the sparrows?” The disappearance of these tiny little birds that used to inhabit every house is the sad truth of our urban planning. Depending on which part of the world you live in, you might spot a squirrel, crow, lizard, pigeon, iguanas, cats, horses or even elephants. Are you going to help protect them?
Speak about topics that are relevant to wildlife, from hibernation to camouflage. If you are interested, you can do a research on Ramadan Zoo on YouTube- a seminar that connects our Ramadan lifestyle with the animals. This will be a hit among children and adults alike!
Imagine all the things a child living in a city is missing when it comes to connecting with nature. But that does not mean that the child be deprived of the amazing relationship that they can form with the flora and fauna. Here are some ways that we can make a nature smart learner in our house:
- Join an urban club.You can work in a garden or get your own patch where you grow whatever you like – perhaps some tomatoes or berries.
- Go to farmers market often to buy fruits, vegetables and flowers.
- Check out nature museums, science fairs or exhibition in your city.
- Get a kit and build your own worm farm or an ant farm. That sure looks like a challenge but believe me, it is great fun.
- Remember to always do the 3 R”s – Reuse, Reduce and Recycle. If there is a recycling program around your locality, make sure you join one. In-fact, start a recycling program at your school.
- Read books about animals, which can be fiction or nonfiction; or stories where animals are the characters.
- Plant a tree or make a movement where planting a tree becomes a regular event in your locality.
- Simply take a break and look at the sky. Study the stars and pay attention to the weather.
Have a collection of all the hadith where the Prophet mentions the benefits of nature and growing of trees.An example of this is the hadith that says those seeking knowledge will even have the fishes in the ocean supplicating for them. 1 What an amazing reflection!
I remember visiting a school in Kuwait, which was growing an organic farm. How interesting would this be for little children having herbs, which they use for salad from their own organic farm or making a fruit juice or vegetable salad, which are really the “fruits of their own labor.”
Caring for Animals
How do you know you love animals? Nature’s encyclopedia! If I ask a 7 year old, which is his favorite bear and instead of answering, he bombards you with “You mean polar or grizzly or koala or panda?”, you are definitely meeting a nature smart person!
If WWF does not stand for World Wrestling Foundation for you but World Wildlife Fund, you understand nature more than you understand people. Here is an amazing fun fact – the WWF logo is a black and white print of a Panda. The cute Panda was chosen for two primary reason. One: it is on the list of the endangered animals and not protecting it would make it extinct. The second beautiful logic is when folks use the black and white print, they are consciously printing in black and white tone, thereby, saving trees and conveying the message to children and adults.
A great way to connect with the real world is an activity we play during the classes. While teaching Surah Takathur that speaks of human greed, we connect it with the poaching of animals.
For example, the hunting of elephants’ for their tusk or rhinos for the horns or tigers and crocodiles for their skins is all because of human greed. Thus, you are creating a spark in young learners and giving them tools to become the environmental fighters and forest Rangers early on.
So where do children end up with a lot of nature around them? Well, to begin with, you have some amazing professional opportunities to choose from. From being an animal trainer to an archaeologist or an astronomer or a biologist, even a celebrity chef and finally an entomologist, the choices are numerous. An entomologist is someone who studies bugs. Remember, bugs life can be more interesting than studying human life.
- Connect the young learners with the verses dealing with nature in the noble Qur’an
- List the ‘green hadith’ that encourages planting tree and protecting the environment
- Plant a tree or join a movement that cares for the environment
- Contemplate and reflect on the nature around you or over you!
- Have an elocution competition on a topic related to nature.
It’s all about how choose to unlock the potential in your child and how you decide to get him close to his Creator. Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.
- Abu Dawood ↩