Fatimah Jackson-Best shares how teamwork is essential to a successful Ramadan at home and at work.
There is something about Ramadan that makes me feel especially thoughtful and generous. Perhaps it’s the fact that I know there are millions of Muslims across the world who are also sacrificing their meals for a higher and more spiritual purpose.
Or maybe it is because I know that the good deeds we do in this month are magnified in the sight of Allah. Whatever the reason, noticing that people do more kind deeds in this month than in others makes me feel great.
One thing essential to Ramadan is developing teamwork or lending a helping hand to people who need it. This help can be given to your family, friends, colleagues or even strangers. The reality is that when we give someone assistance it makes enduring the long days of fasting much easier and more pleasant.
For example, think to a morning when the last thing you wanted to do was get up and make sahur for yourself, much less your significant other or your family. Mornings like this would be much easier if we established in our households a schedule that clearly outlines who is responsible for sahur and who is in charge of waking up other members of the family. This can be a daily or weekly schedule – just distribute the responsibility evenly so that it isn’t centred on just one person.
If you have a large family, or cannot plan all the meals on your own, try to work as a team. Get together with your sibling, spouse, mother or father to organise sahur. The most important thing is to communicate with one another, so if you have been doing all the meal preparation so far, make sure that you let your family know that it is becoming a burden and you need their help. Ask how they can assist you and also let them know what you need. Sometimes people need a little nudge towards acting selflessly, so remember this and don’t be afraid to be vocal.
Teamwork is also a helpful approach for iftar time. From my personal experience, it can be difficult to come home at 5pm after a long day of work and begin preparing iftar at 6.30pm. It is so much easier knowing that dinner will be prepared by my spouse and that I can take some time to relax after a long day. Again, work it out between your family members to arrange a schedule that works for everyone involved.
Teamwork isn’t only limited to sahur and iftar time- try to adopt the same approach at work and in any other environment that you may be in during Ramadan. I always let my colleagues know when Ramadan has arrived and that while I may have my usual energy high in the morning, by late afternoon I will have slightly slowed down. I ask that they assist me by taking care of duties that aren’t pertinent to my job area, and to limit meetings in the afternoon. As a result, there are more morning meetings and less work on my plate.
When dealing with students at work, I advise them to take the initiative with small tasks like emailing their peers and diffusing classroom situations amongst themselves. This benefits me and it also helps them to learn conflict mediation skills and general good behaviour. As we spend a good portion of our day at work, it is important to make our environment as pleasant as possible.
Finally, a teamwork approach is integral to the ways we give back during this Ramadan. As I’ve written before, this is the month to give, give and give some more! Offering a helping hand through charity work will help people in need and this is the best time to do it. Find a cause and do some work with them on the weekends since this is a great way to see the direct effects of your efforts.
Nothing feels better than helping another person, and knowing that you are not doing it on your own is the icing on the cake. Our dreams work with teamwork!