Amna Ateef is not the ordinary 14 year old girl. Despite her young age, she’s managed to figure out what she’s good at and spends a lot of her time doing what she loves. She has a variety of hobbies and projects that occupy her time. After learning about her and her various interests and projects through a Facebook group for Muslimah bloggers, I asked her to do an interview with me for Muslim Mother Source readers! Through interviewing this teenager, I thought parents can get an insight on how to guide, discipline and approach their teenagers to be more productive, discover their talents and take steps in doing what they love to do at younger ages.
Asalaamu Alaykum Amna! Before we get into the questions, please tell us a little more about yourself; where you’re from, school, your favorite hobbies currently and any other things you would like to share.
Walaykum Salaam! I am Amna Ateef. I am 14 years old. I am a blogger, artist, musician, nerd, graphic designer, writer, reader and photographer. I love reading something that will increase my knowledge and traveling. I am from Lahore, Pakistan. Currently I reside in Karachi, Pakistan. I am a student of O-Levels (University of Cambridge [CIE]). I am going to be a ninth grader after vacations. I started blogging at the age of 13 when I was in 7th grade. My blog is named Crafty.
Can you tell us how you got into all of these different things and how your parents influenced you to be more productive and take advantage of your time and youth by doing what you love?
My parents have always told me not to waste my time because it won’t come back. They encourage me to take advantage of my free time and spend it meaningfully. They tell me about activities which I can take up in my free time, and the best part is that those activities are related to my interests. Also, I have a very small friend circle which gives me more time to concentrate on other aspects of life.
Besides always encouraging me, my parents influenced me directly because both of them are interested in some of the things I’m interested in, namely, arts, reading and technology. Here’s a breakdown of how I was influenced by my parents.
Arts: When I was about 2 years old, my mother used to draw things and used to tell me to copy the same thing. I was kinda ‘home-schooled’ before actually attending the primary school. By the time I was 10, I started to draw almost perfect sketches. My mother always supported me whenever I needed her help in this area. I usually craft and make things as soon an idea hits my mind or I find something really worth trying.
Tech (I.T.): My father believes that children living in today’s time should have access to every kind of technology with supervision from the parents, of course, whether the child is a girl or boy. Technology is a big part of our lives and when we know how to fully operate the various electronics we own, we will know how to use it to our advantage.
When I was seven, he bought me a desktop PC which was solely mine. I didn’t know much about computers at that time, so I usually just played games or watched movies on it sometimes. When I was 11, my father got me an iPad. One of my cousins jailbreaked it (it allows you to have a deeper access to the system). I became obsessed with it, instead of playing games; I tweaked the system very heavily. Tweaking iOS isn’t easy compared to Android; it is not supported by default. At the age of 12, I got an old iPhone which was used by my mother. I got it jailbreaked too and I tweaked it even more intensely (eventually, I restored the device).
At the age of 13, I got my own laptop. I started developing my own jailbreak tweaks and themes; I turned it into a server, a hotspot. I am currently emulating (running many OS) Mac OSX Mavericks & Yosemite, Ubuntu 14, a whole Wii console, a whole PSP console, a whole PS2 console, Android 4.3 Jellybean and Windows 10 (technical preview) on the same laptop.
I am also an Apple Developer (though I have given up on developing an app for now because it was too hectic) and a Microsoft Windows Insider. I have also been able to tweak my laptop to extreme limits and successfully removing serious viruses, which are not quite easy. I am considering getting some certifications regarding I.T. in near future. Currently, I am learning various programming languages. You can have a hint of my HTML skills on my blog.
Writing: Writing eventually became a hobby when I started blogging. Currently I am writing a book. I am not very confident about writing extremely inspiring books, but I am trying to get better in this area. I cannot write philosophies, all of my content is based on reality. My parents do encourage me to write but I discovered this hobby by my own self. One of my most noticeable works was a post for BuzzFeed which got 50K views and was featured on the website: 19 DIY Chevron Tutorials To Jazz Up Your Life
Reading: When I was 4, my mom got me a bunch of books meant for high school students. My mom explained to me what these books were about and I was fascinated. At the age of 8, I had read 3 encyclopedias, each 4 inches thick. I am currently focusing on reading new content related to science and history, as they are my major focuses and my favorites.
Graphic Designing: It’s just art in a digital form. My Photoshop and Illustrator skills are self taught. Currently, I designed a charity pamphlet for an NGO supporting special children, for free. It’s just another hobby, but I may make it a ‘secondary’ career in my life, as it can pay me very well.
Photography: I don’t own a DSLR, but I try using my P&S to take superior shots. Sometimes, I even managed to fool people into thinking that my photos are taken with a DSLR! Again, all the skills here are self taught.
We know that people of all ages get distracted by social media and the various electronic gadgets they have at home now days so how did you find the focus and discipline to be involved in so many projects?
People, sadly, use these gadgets for worthless and useless things. Most of my work is based on gadgets, but I don’t waste my time in talking to people 24/7. These gadgets have amazing uses but people don’t use them to such extents. I have some people my age, who chat 24/7 and constantly check out Instagram. People stalk others, I mean what’s the fun or use in it? By using the same gadgets people can spread great ideas around the world, but no, they are more interested in checking out their likes, follows and comments. I think it’s an ‘abuse’ to gadgets.
How do your parents make sure that you’re not neglecting your education because you have so many other things you’re doing on the side?
I consider myself gifted. I have always been the top student of my class. Alhamdullilah, I just got my school year’s exam results and I passed with straight As, alhamulilah. My parents still do ask me to devote more time to studies. They are, however, satisfied with my overall studies.
Are there certain rules that you must follow that your parents have put in place in order for you to keep doing your favorite hobbies?
I do have rules to follow. The rules I have to follow are to devote 3 (or sometimes 4) hours a day to studies, keep up with religious duties lQuran and to go to bed by a specific time.
Do you think you will turn your hobbies and the things you’re into now such as crafting or graphic designing into a career when you grow up?
I do think of keeping I.T., graphic designing and writing as my ‘secondary’ careers. My main aim is to become a neurologist. Other hobbies will remain hobbies, although I think I will earn through them, as I am currently thinking of setting up an Etsy handmade shop, but these hobbies are not my main focus in future.
MashaaAllah, Amna is a very bright young girl! May Allah keep her protected and guided to everything that is best for her in this life and in the hereafter, Allahuma Amin!