Out of Control
Self-control is the ability to regulate oneself especially in difficult situations. It is choosing to give up what we want for something we want more, choosing what’s best in the long-run despite the short-term temptations. Self-control is Islamic by nature; whether it’s praying, fasting, or earning money, we are constantly striving to align our actions with our intentions and purpose. In this book, we share two lessons on why self-control is so fundamental to a person’s success in this world and the hereafter.
The first lesson focuses on having the discipline to get things done on a continual basis. Self-discipline is important because it brings stability and structure to one’s life, enabling a person to achieve better results. As Prophet Mohammed (SAW) said, “The deeds most loved by God (are those) done regularly, even if they are few” (Bukhari, Muslim 783). When a person practices discipline, they are able to control their impulsive behaviors and their desire for instant gratification. This is the awareness that Amin gains in our first story, “Proper Practice,” after suffering a frustrating and painful experience in his karate class.
Our second lesson highlights the importance of managing strong emotions. Though experiencing strong emotions is normal and natural, responding in a poor manner typically leads to harm for one’s self and others. Practicing self-control is a struggle, even for adults. However, our duty is to raise children with an understanding that experiencing emotions such as frustration, embarrassment, or anger can be channeled in a constructive way. As our faith teaches us, “The strong man is not one who is good at wrestling, but the strong man is one who controls himself in a fit of rage” (Bukhari, Muslim). In our second story, “Iron Girl,” Shireen learns what it means to have true strength in the face of her anger.