Beauty and well-being

By Noorjehan Arif

Home Improvement

Though it’s a truly thankless task, cleaning behind your fridge will keep it running longer and more efficiently.

An almost fool-proof tip for removing pen (ink) marks from clothing or carpet is hairspray. Just spray on, leave for a few seconds and wipe with damp cloth.

Home Remedies

Heartburn

Don’t lie flat on your back. Heartburn is caused by the acid in your stomach moving upward to your esophagus. So if you are flat on a bed, it is a little more difficult for the acid to go down.

Coffee and chocolate can inflame heartburn – so avoid them, if you can.

Bladder stones

Boil 2 figs in 1 cup of water. Drink daily for a month.

Personal Grooming

Facial cleanser: Mix 2 tbsp cornflour, 2 tbsp glycerin, and ½ cup water until smooth. Heat in a small pan placed in a water bath inside another pan. Heat until thick and clear; it will have the consistency of pudding. Do not boil. Cool completely. Use in place of soap to cleanse your skin. (If mixture is too thick, you may thin it by adding a little water – 1 tbsp at a time, until you reach the desired consistency.)

Yellow teeth: Mix salt with finely powdered rind of lime. Use this as teeth powder frequently.

Working with Shy Students

Shy

Class sessions have resumed. You walk into the halls looking for the right room. Your stomach turns; your throat feels tight: “Is this the right room? The number is right, but is it the right room?” You are still wondering: “Is this the right class?” In your body every nerve is on alert. The teacher walks in – yes, you are in the right class, whew!

But now the teacher will check the roster – the agony starts again because you actually have to say something. Your face feels hot and you are sweating. You fidget and can barely focus on what the teacher is saying. When will this agony end? Then other issues arise: how about that fear of what others may say, if you finally get the nerve to speak up? What if your answer is wrong?

If you have never suffered from this, then as a parent, teacher and/or student you may have witnessed it and can consider yourself lucky for not experiencing it first hand.

Rehana, a teacher, says: “There are a variety of students in the classroom. There are not only the positive and cheerful ones but also the negative and quiet students in the class. We should not call on students who are shy, as we may hurt their feelings by doing so. We should call on students, after we understand their character well. I still think so. It is of great consequence to call on students, because they get better practice by speaking in front of other students. I think the only thing that we can do for shy students is to accustom them to their surroundings and try to know them well. As a result of this, they will try to speak up themselves.”

Evans (1987) recorded the language of children during ‘sharing time’ sessions in nursery school, where individual students take turns in telling the teacher and classmates about things they have done or seen. Shy students introduced less topics and spoke less words about each topic. Their main length of utterance was shorter. Their contributions were simpler and tied to objects that they had brought with them. Shy children volunteered less information. They were more likely to offer no response or only minimal answers to a teacher’s questions. This tended to elicit further questions from the teacher and resulted in a stilted conversation.

Guidelines for parents and teachers to combat a child’s shyness

If you’re the parent of a shy child, you’ve probably already encountered adults, who see shyness as a character flaw or a problem waiting to be fixed. But, please, understand – shyness is not a character flaw.

  1. Sometimes people talk about shy children in front of them, as if they were somehow invisible. Such words as ‘withdrawn,’ ‘introverted’ or ‘inhibited’ can hurt the youngster. People probably assume kids don’t understand. Note that children are experts at reading tone of voice and facial expression.
  2. Some researchers claim that shy children are more visually perceptive than outgoing children. And as they are taking in more, seeing new things can seem overwhelming at first. Eventually, they may even join in. Watching can assist a child who is shy to understand new situations.
  3. You can help a shy child in learning so that he can handle novel events, if he is willing to do it gradually. If kids are pushed to join in, when they feel uncomfortable, then the situation usually backfires. Urging your son or daughter to go play in a group should be done gradually by accompanying him/her into the group. That is helping him/her getting involved with a group and then stepping back a bit. He/she might play for a while and then return to you, but the experience would have made the situation more familiar and thus more inviting.
  4. Establish a classroom environment that supports all students. Never make fun of students. Don’t put students on the spot and keep them there, while every person watches them squirm. Get to know the students and have individual conferences with them.
  5. Make students write papers in which they discuss their strengths and weaknesses as communicators. Do not ask them to read these out loud or share them with peers.
  6. Assist students to set a goal for improving themselves as communicators. Goals should be small and realistic. Talk to students privately, for example: “Rashid, why don’t you try to ask or answer one question in class tomorrow?” Teach Rashid how to prepare for participating in class – for example, have homework done, make notes of questions while doing homework, etc.
  7. Change the social environment. Assign the student to sit next to or work in groups with children who are outgoing. This will give the student a safe and inviting opportunity to break out of his/her shell.
  8. Check in daily. Engage the student in a private talk. Once he’s established a relationship with you, he will be more inclined to become actively involved in class.
  9. Put students in groups and record their thoughts.
  10. Attempt to make the groups small enough, so that the quiet students have to contribute. Have the students change responsibilities within the group throughout the semester (recorder, moderator, speaker, etc.), so that everyone practices a variety of skills.
  11. Students may talk more, when their thoughts become a text for the class (when they are recorded and put in context by the teacher or others). When notes are kept on the board, students tend to take notes as well. This training privileges student contributions, indicating that they are valuable.
  12. Assign special activities, such as encouraging the student to move around the room and interact with others, collect papers or hand out class materials. Such activities will increase their social confidence and make them feel special.
  13. What do we have in common? Students should be paired up and given the job of finding out, what they have in common. When working with younger children, it’s a good idea to give them some ground rules (e.g., only positive comments are allowed) as well as potential topic areas to explore (e.g., favorite food, hobbies, places they’ve been, etc.). Creative responses aside, this training is particularly useful because it challenges children (shy and non-shy alike) to see what they have in common and is the precursor to more adult versions of small talk.

Shyness is certainly not a personality flaw and can be overcome by effort and encouragement. Effort is a must on part of the person and encouragement is a necessity on part of people around him.

Dealing with Jealousy

Vol 4 - Issue 4 Dealing with JealousySarah took a two-year break from her job to attend university. When she came back, she discovered that her juniors had now reached higher posts and she would have to join as a subordinate. She couldn’t help feeling a strong sense of resentment towards her ‘juniors’. The resentment continued to build up.

Having just switched to a new company as Head of Operations, Amir looked forward to higher pay, a newer car and the chances of working with a dynamic team. The newly-appointed Head of Sales was fifteen years his senior. Amir had an introductory meeting with him that morning and got an uncanny feeling that he wasn’t going to be of much help as the Head of Operations.

No one is safe from jealousy. Either you are a victim of jealousy or a victim of someone else’s. You’ve also probably been in a sticky situation as a team-leader, when your subordinates are nurturing feelings of jealousy towards each other. Problems are being created but you find yourself at a loss as to how to deal with the issue.

Can the above stories be dismissed as myths or does jealousy really exist in the workplace? Let’s see what research has to say.

What does research say about jealousy?

A survey on the role jealousy plays in organizations was conducted by Frederick C. Miner Jr., Ph.D., and the results were published in the April 1990 issue of the “Personnel Journal”. It was found that more than 75% of the respondents reported observing a jealous situation in their work environment. What was really surprising was the fact that more than 50% indicated that they were directly involved in such a situation, and over 25% of the group admitted that they were jealous of someone else during the past month. In more than 33% of the situations, jealous people tried to undermine the co-workers they were jealous of by spreading rumors, acting destructively and so on.

In another survey on jealousy, the results were reported by “Notre Dame Magazine” in the summer issue of 1996. The survey conducted by Professor of Management Robert P. Vecchio cited that 77% of employees surveyed had witnessed jealousy around the office within the past month, and more than 50% admitted to being directly involved.

The above results point to the fact that jealousy is common in the workplace. Let’s see what guidance Islam gives about this very destructive emotion.

What does Islam say about jealousy?

The Prophet (sa) said: “Beware of jealousy, for verily it destroys good deeds the way fire destroys wood.” (Abu Dawood)

In another Hadeeth, the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “There has come to you the disease of the nations before you, jealousy and hatred. This is the ‘shaver’ (destroyer); I do not say that it shaves hair, but that it shaves (destroys) faith.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Abu Hurairah (rta) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (sa) said: “Two things cannot be gathered in the heart of a believer, Iman (faith) and envy.” (An-Nasai)

It is very clear from the above Ahadeeth that jealousy should not be nurtured, and one should make an effort to cleanse one’s heart of this destructive emotion. Not doing so would put our faith in danger.

How to deal with jealousy?

Here are some tips on dealing with this emotion, and with people, who might turn green at the mention of your name.

If you are jealous of someone…

1. Say Salam and shake hands with him

Jealousy breeds hatred and the word of Salam spreads love as we know from the following Hadeeth: “By the One in Whose hand is my soul, you will not enter Paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another. Shall I not tell you of that which will strengthen love between you? Spread (the greeting of) Salam amongst yourselves.” (At-Tirmidhi)

2. Say a prayer of blessing for him

Upon feeling the pangs of jealousy, immediately say a prayer of blessing for that person and ask forgiveness from Allah (swt).

3. Ask for contentment from Allah (swt)

One of the causes of jealousy is discontentment with the blessings given to you by Allah (swt). You can read the following Masnoon prayer to seek contentment: “O Allah! Make me content upon what (blessings) You have granted me and bless me in it; and be the Best Protector (and Guardian) for me (in my absence) of whatever is hidden from me.”

(Hakim)

If someone is jealous of you…

Seek protection from Allah (swt)

Say a prayer seeking refuge with Allah (swt). Recitation of Surah Falaq (Chapter 113) and prayers of protection would save you from the harms of the person who is jealous.

You could recite the following prayer: “O Allah! Indeed we place You before them (our enemies) and we take refuge in You from their evil.” (Abu Dawood)

If you are a manager dealing with jealousies among your subordinates, then you should:

1. Throw open the doors of communication

Understanding the reasons for an employee’s negative sentiment and trying to arrive at a solution to the problem would possibly result in curtailment of jealousy.

2. Boost employee’s morale

By focusing on each employee’s positive aspects and abilities you could shift the attention away from destructive tendencies towards constructive efforts.

If you are a co-worker, then you could:

Convey to your colleague that jealousy is destructive

Tell your colleague that jealousy will take him down the drain both in this world and in the Hereafter; plus, the company will likely suffer.

Last Word…

Allah (swt) has said: “It is We Who portion out between them their livelihood in this world, and We raised some of them above others in ranks, so that some may employ others in their work But the Mercy (Paradise) of your Lord is better than the (wealth of this world) which they amass.” (Az-Zukhruf 43:32)

It is clear from the above verse that the reason for some people getting more of this world than others is due to Allah’s (swt) wisdom and planning. Therefore, instead of rushing to get more of the possessions of this world, our sights should remain on the Hereafter. The fires of jealousy will then subside, Insha’Allah!

An Advice

Al-Hasan Al-Basri said: “Umar Ibn Khattab wrote this letter to Abu Musa Al-Ashari: ‘Be content with your provision in this world, for the Most Merciful has honored some of His servants over others in terms of provision as a test of both. The one, who has been given plenty, is being tested to see if he will give thanks to Allah and fulfill the duties which are his by virtue of his wealth.’” (Ibn Hatim)