I D Soni
Khalil Gibran once said, “Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you. You may give them your love, assist them in their manners, train their minds and shape their morals but not your thoughts. For they have their own thoughts”. Expenditure on child-education is really an investment. What we spend today will return to us a thousand fold in the future. Pay well, secure able teachers – men and women of true education and character. The child’s unfoldment proceeds, partly, on the line of imitation. Therefore be careful in the choice of teachers. Every child is a specific element within the whole of the manifest divine Being. Whenever children find themselves alone, as a natural reaction, they start looking for company. Whenever they are in trouble, they look for someone to help them. Whenever they reach an impasse, they look to someone to show them the way out. Every recurrent anguish, longing and desire finds its own special helper. There exists a divine power that can lift them up from confusion, misery, melancholy and failure, and guide them to their true place. Children, therefore, need proper guidance being our most precious possession.
It was a great horticulturist who said, “We pay greater attention to the growth of plants than we do to the growth of our children”. The responsibility of the parents begins the day the child is born and keeps on growing with a passage of time. Not many seem to realise the tremendous responsibility that is theirs as parents of children. We do nothing to take care of them. We pay no attention to their upbringing. We do nothing to inculcate in their minds, qualities of character which alone lend a meaning and value to life. We do not train them to grow in the love and fear of God.
I recall having read how 15-year old boy in France, was sentenced to hard labour. He heard the sentence coolly. Then he asked for silence and shouted at the top of his voice, so that his words could be heard by all present in the courtroom. He said, “I forgive the judge, for he has sentenced me justly. I forgive the guard, they have done their duty. However, there are two persons in the Court-room whom I can never forgive. They are my father and mother. They paid no attention to my upbringing. They did not object when I visited Cinema houses, where seeds of crime are planted in young hearts. They did not take care of the company in which I moved, with the result that I have grown full of vice and crime. The fault is theirs, though I have to pay for it by going to the prison”.
Not many parents seem to realise their responsibilities towards the children. It was William Tame who said, “Men are generally more careful about the breed of their horses and dogs than of their own children”. And of Plato – the Great Greek Philosopher, it is said that he found a child doing wrong, he went and corrected his father.
Fathers usually feel that they have no share of responsibility in bringing up their children in the right way. They believe that it is mother’s job. They come and go in the house as boarders with no active interest in the welfare of the children. It must not be forgotten that no amount of piling of the earth’s treasure can compensate a man for the loss of his incomparable jewels – his children.
A stage comes in the life of every growing child when what he needs is a friend more than a parent. It is at this stage that the parent must learn to play a double role. In addition to being a parent, he/she has to be a friend. When a parent offers unsolicited advice to a growing child, specially a teenager, it may be mis-understood as interference. When a friend advises a teenager, he/she immediately responds. If we would wish to influence our children, make friends with them. It is only as friends that we can advise them and lead them to purity and perfection. Let us lead our children to the Pure and the Perfect and we will have done our duty by them. Make friends with the child – and the generation gap will disappear. Make friends with the child – and he or she will have no secrets from us: his/her life will be to us an open book.
True education is not by words and ink. Education is an atmosphere. Try to create an atmosphere at home which is not merely mental but aims at drawing out the higher innate emotions of the children, their inner sense of simplicity and service, of purity and prayer. When we pray together – we stay together. The deeper spirit of Humanity should move above creeds and communities in the said atmosphere. They may be taught at home to cultivate love and reverence for the “race of hero-spirits” who, through the ages, “pass the lamp from hand to hand”.
We, as parents remain worried when our child shows no interest in books. Our child does not mingle with his peer group and we wonder what kind of social life our child will lead. Then there are other worries: how should we inculcate good manners, etiquette, communication skills. How can we make him/her confident and independent.
But do we realise that our worrying is doing more harm than good to our child? Consciously or subconsciously our tensions and worries are being transferred to our child. And this can have an adverse effect. Our tensions will ultimately strain our child and mar his/her natural abilities. So if we want to be effective parents who intend to nurture a happy and successful child, first relax and let go. Shed our worries, analyse what best we can do for our child and then get into action.
BE A CHILD WITH HIM :-
Splash about in the water tub, imitate animals and birds, have a pillow fights, make castles in the sand, get soaked in the rain.
SEE THE CHILD IN HIM:-
Laugh aloud at his/her silly jokes, visualise talent in his/her messy drawings, encourage his /her creativity with paper and glue, relish the fun he has in jumping about, acting silly.
LOVE THE CHILD HE IS:-
Every child has some unique qualities. Be proud of those special qualities in our child rather than focus on what he does not have.
TELL STORIES OF GREATMEN/WOMEN:-
This is an other way, which has been used time and again for generations together. Each child is in love with stories.
LET US GO FOR PICNIC:-
“Let us go for picnic”, brings in an atmosphere of entertainment for the child. A picnic need not be an extravagant outing. Any place we may go to, with packed lunch can be called a picnic.
TELL THE CHILD I HAVE AN IDEA:-
“I have an idea”, this statement literally switches on a bulb in the child’s mind. Our idea may be as simple as “Let us get dressed fast then we will have milk in a saucer today”. We will be amazed with the results.
TO HELP THE CHILD TO WORSHIP AND ADMIRE:-
We appreciate that a child is a threefold entity of body, mind and spirit – not twofold one of body and mind only we know that any organ of the body that fails to carry out its assigned function will tend to atrophy and grow weak and useless, so it is important that, in the child all three of these aspects should function in balanced harmony if he/she is to grow and develop to the optimum wholeness of body, mind and spirit. The function of the body is to eat and work. The child’s body should be protected from destructive foods. Most of the children do receive plenty of mental stimuli, plenty of food for their minds. It is the duty of the parents to provide opportunities for mental exercise by showing them toys and pictures and by encouraging responses from them. Mind needs to be protected from wrong and ugly thoughts so, too, should his/her spirit be protected from false values which may assault and hurt it. This can be possible to satisfy the deep seated need of the spirit by helping the child to worship and admire some thing other than self. The need of the spirit is to love and worship. These are the functions of the spirit and the parents should foster without in any way becoming involved in religious dogmas
TAKE CARE OF CHILDREN’S SANGA:-
If the parents want to sow good karma – take care of their sanga. If their company is right and good, their actions will also be right and good. Good company will lead them on the path of virtue. Bad company will lead them to evil.
Managing child through positive parenting
I D Soni