For every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction.

This is a simple scientific fact learned by most children in school. But among the Sorani Kurds, problem solving isn’t a sought after skill!

As a young girl, S was not taught to look both ways before crossing the street; if a car was coming, Allah would either protect her, or not. It didn’t matter what she did – it was up to God.

As a young teenager, S was taught not to hurry across a street; she was taught to just step out, and stroll her way across. If Allah willed it, she would not be hit – if she was hit, that, too, was Allah’s will, and if she died, well, it was just her time. She was taught NEVER to appear to be in a hurry – that was shameful.

Consequences for behavior weren’t something she every thought about. She was taught to always expect  others to either get out of her way, stop whatever was happening, or “fix” whatever went wrong. She had no teaching regarding consequences to her own personal behavior.

So, when she became a mother, it came as quite a shock to her when one day her young son hurled a piece of brick at her, giving her a bloody nose. Her husband wanted to know what she had done to provoke the young boy to this action. She didn’t think about the fact that she had never taught her son NOT to do that.

Another day, she and her baby buggy stopped directly in front of a moving sidewalk so she could answer her phone; she couldn’t believe it when a few minutes later, another mother with a baby buggy ran over her foot – actually inflicting a small cut. She was outraged that the woman could be so careless and rude. It didn’t cross S’s mind to think about where she was stopping – she stopped where she needed to.

When S burned the lunch rice one day because she was busy entertaining and chatting with unexpected guests, her mother-in-law called her stupid and lazy. Neither woman thought about one action intersecting with the other.

Imagine S’s shock and disbelief when she recently heard that God holds her responsible for her actions, for her own personal salvation, ultimately for her own destiny – she can’t blame her husband – she can’t blame her mother-in-law – she can’t blame her parents – she can’t blame Islam. It is her choice whether or not she accepts Truth! AND that that choice comes with consequences.

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