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A health-visitor came to check on the baby and noticed that my nearly-3year-old's speech is below her age level. Apart from referring us to a speech therapist, she told me to encourage her to look at the pictures representing actions and describe what is happening. Like, "An elephant is watching TV", making a sentence where a subject and an object are tied by a noun.

The same day I was reading some mail and came across a hadith where the Prophet (PBUH) always asked a little boy, what did his toy bird do.

It occured to me there was a number of educational lessons in this hadith.

The Prophet (PBUH) was talking to the boy exactly the way the health visitor told me to talk to Amal.  He was asking the child to tell a little story, consructing proper sentences.  Such little fantasies would encourage his imagination too.

This seems to indicate that developing speech and imaginative thinking should be the focal points in education of a small child.

An important lesson is that the Prophet (PBUH) was not ignoring the child, like adults often do.  The Prophet's (PBUH) behavior in this and many other cases completely contradicts the idea about children who are seen but not heard.  The stress is on improving a child's self-esteem, not adult's convenience.

Of course, I am stating the obvious, but it was so much more fresh and impressive when I notice it myself, not read in someone else's words. (10/99)