TheFace: Mona Al-Turief, Saudi educator

Mona Al-Turief with her family. (AN photo by Ziyad Alarfaj)
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Updated 17 January 2020

TheFace: Mona Al-Turief, Saudi educator

  • I seek to base my relationship with my children on love and understanding
  • Being an educator taught me that there was always space for me to learn something new

I was born and raised in Al-Malaz in Riyadh, where I studied at a public school until the sixth grade, when my family decided to move to Unaizah.

I continued to perform well academically due to my parents’ dedication toward my educational endeavors. My father, may God have mercy upon him, instilled two prominent values in me: Commitment and responsibility. These principles have affected every aspect of my life, especially as the youngest child in a conservative Najdi home.

Surrounded by my older siblings, my childhood was shaped by the multitude of lessons that I learned from them.

My love for children began when I watched my siblings’ kids fill our home with love and energy – a huge part of my adolescence went into taking care of my nieces and nephews.

It made me confident in my ability to deal with children, knowing how to win them over and guide them, which I later put to the test when I finished high school, returning to Riyadh to major in early childhood studies at King Saud University, ultimately graduating with honors.

Following my graduation, I got married and kick-started my professional career as a kindergarten teacher in different private preschools in Riyadh.

Within a few years, I was working as a teacher at Kingdom Schools, dropping my eldest daughter off at the school’s nursery each morning to go and tutor other people’s kids across campus. Over the next seven years, I was blessed with the birth of my three other children.

After years of being simultaneously a mother and a teacher, I decided to put a pause to my career and concentrated on raising my children. This decision was a product of my strong belief in investing in humans through dedicating time and effort toward raising well-mannered individuals and building stronger familial bonds.

Being an educator taught me that there was always space for me to learn something new. I learned a lot from my children, particularly as I remained involved in their school and extracurricular activities, and collaboratively navigated their interests and hobbies.

My prior knowledge of child-nurturing practices helped me form a unique relationship with my kids. The bond between parents and children grows stronger, I found, when parents acknowledge that they are role models and remain aware of their behavior and manners at all times.

Furthermore, it is crucial that parents avoid three harmful, yet common, practices: Criticism, comparison, and blame. These create toxic environments that negatively impact a child’s confidence, sense of self, and self-esteem.

I try to be considerate of my children’s feelings by avoiding harsh or public criticism and focusing on their personal progress, only comparing them with their own selves. If they face a difficult situation, instead of blaming them for it, I encourage them to think about the moral behind the incident and discuss takeaways to be implemented in the future.

I seek to base my relationship with my children on love and understanding by spending a lot of quality time with them and considering their diverse personalities, especially as I returned to the workplace as a school principal and subsequently, an academic supervisor at the Ministry of Education. Those quality times are what remains in a child’s subconscious in the long run.

Later, while pursuing my master’s degree in gifted education at the Arabian Gulf University in Bahrain, I learned about the importance of enriching my children’s interests, whether through helping them explore playing a new instrument, enrolling them in dance courses and soccer academies, presenting them with a book on their to-read list, or accompanying them on outdoor activities.

Sharing these experiences opened new doors for all of us. When my eldest daughter went through the college application process, where she is now pursuing a degree in geology at Brown University, in the US, she opened my eyes to the required preparation for her younger siblings.

By the time they reach her age, they would be prepared with the requirements for applying to esteemed institutions, if they decide to follow a similar path.

Encouraging my older son to follow his passion for the outdoors, through hiking around scenic Saudi nature areas with him, resulted in him climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania, at the age of 14.

Our trips exposed me to the beauty of my country, where I visited fascinating historical and natural sites, had meaningful conversations, and gained valuable friendships.

I was motivated to contribute to the positive changes taking place in the Kingdom by sharing these momentous experiences with others.

That is why I decided to begin the process of acquiring a tourist guide license from the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage. That in turn gave me a chance to solidify my knowledge of my country and, at the same time, share that beauty with the rest of the world via my podcast, Dharf Makan, and my Instagram account (@mona.alturief).

Saudi Cabinet congratulates security forces for thwarting terror cell

King Salman chairs the virtual meeting. (SPA)
Updated 30 September 2020

Saudi Cabinet congratulates security forces for thwarting terror cell

  • King Salman thanked international leaders and officials for their messages of congratulations to the Kingdom and its people on the occasion of its 90th National Day

RIYADH: The Saudi Cabinet on Tuesday congratulated the Presidency of State Security for its work in identifying and apprehending the suspected members of a terror cell in the Kingdom.

Some of those who were arrested allegedly trained at sites in Iran run by the country’s Revolutionary Guards. A cache of weapons and explosives was also seized.

Ministers expressed their appreciation for the efforts of the presidency’s employees in tracking down those who threaten the security and stability of the Kingdom and the safety of those who live there.

Majid Al-Qasabi, the acting minister of media, said that while reviewing the latest regional and international developments, cabinet members reiterated the Kingdom’s call during the recent International Atomic Energy Agency General Conference for the international community to adopt a firm stance on Iran, and take steps to address its violations of international agreements relating to its nuclear-research program. They also reaffirmed Saudi support for efforts, in partnership with the international community, to make the Middle East a nuclear weapon-free zone.

The virtual meeting was chaired by King Salman, who began by passing on his condolences and sympathy to the people of Kuwait and the family of its Emir, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, who died on Tuesday. He also congratulated the emir’s successor, Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah.

King Salman thanked international leaders and officials for their messages of congratulations to the Kingdom and its people on the occasion of its 90th National Day. He also briefed ministers on his recent telephone conversation with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during which the two leaders reviewed bilateral relations and discussed opportunities to further develop them.

The cabinet commended the king for his speech during the UN’s 75th General Assembly in New York, during which he emphasized the his country’s continued commitment to assisting the international community in efforts to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and address its humanitarian and economic implications.

Ministers also noted that his speech reflected the Kingdom’s dedication to security, stability and prosperity as a strategic choice, its call for peaceful coexistence, moderation and solidarity among all countries and peoples to address humanitarian challenges, its support for political solutions to conflicts, and its efforts to combat extremism in all its forms.

Al-Qasabi said that the Cabinet welcomed the announcement by the Kingdom that the G20 Leaders’ Summit will take place as planned as scheduled on Nov. 21 and 22, albeit virtually as a result of the pandemic. Saudi Arabia hold the presidency of the G20 this year.

Ministers also expressed their appreciation for international efforts, led by G20 countries, that have resulted in the provision of more than $21 billion to support the production of diagnostic and therapeutic tools during the pandemic, and the development and distribution of vaccines. In addition, more than $11 trillion has been allocated to protect the global economy, and more than $14 billion to mitigate the debt burdens of less-developed countries and help fund their health services and social programs. The Cabinet also reviewed the latest local and international developments in the pandemic, along with preparations for the safe resumption of Umrah.

Ministers reiterated the Saudi call, during an emergency meeting of the Council of Arab Ministers Responsible for Environmental Affairs, for urgent action to avoid an environmental catastrophe in the Red Sea as a result of the deteriorating condition of the oil tanker Safer, which has been anchored off the coast of Yemen, near Ras Issa port, since 2015.

The Cabinet also expressed its concern over developments in the dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and urged both sides to agree a ceasefire and resolve the conflict peacefully in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions.