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Raising Children As Good Hindus

Raising Children As Good Hindus

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Published by: thapas on Sep 06, 2011
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  d  i  n   o  d  i   a
 M
any Hindu amilies visiting our Hawaii monastery, particularly those with youngchildren, ask i I have any advice or them. I usually respond with one or two generalsuggestions. I always stress the importance o presenting Hinduism to their children in apractical way so that it inuences each child’s lie or the better. Hindu practices should, orexample, help children get better grades in school and get along well with others. O course,there is not enough time in a short session to present all the many guidelines that a parentwould nd useul. Thereore, I decided to write up a ull complement o suggestions to behanded to Hindu amilies in the uture who want to know ways to present Hinduism to theirkids. You hold the results in your hands: the parent’s guidebook o minimum teachings toconvey to children. It is based on the teachings o my satguru, Sivaya Subramuniyaswami,ounder o 
H
induism
T
oday
,
distilled rom insights he gained rom over 40 years o closelyworking with hundreds o amilies in a score o nations. This booklet presents a gridwork o character-building designed to augment any tradition or denomination. The key is this: startteaching early and don’t stop until your children leave the home. Even i you did nothingmore than what is outlined in these 16 pages, that would be enough to send them on theirway as good Hindus, well-equipped to live as happy, efective citizens o the modern world.
Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami 
Raising Children As Good Hindus
 
Parent Are te Frt Gr nRegon an Caracter Bng
  d  i  n   o  d  i   a
Working together on projects is anideal way to pass on your values,insights, skills and wisdom.
302
what is hinduism?chapter 37: raising children as good hindus
 
303
chapter 37
 
PART ONE
TEACh ANd PRACTiCEhiNduism iN yOuR hOmE
Take responsibility or being the primaryteachers o Hinduism to your children.
I is wondful  mny mls v in l duionl o-gms fo  you   bo ffiv nd oul. howv,i is imon fo ns o v  iud  s ogmssulmn bu do no l  nd fo m o  hindu-ism o i ildn in  om. pns  indd  sguu. ty  in mny diffn wys, su s by xml, x-lnion, nd giving dvi nd diion. t ild’s dsimssions om fom w  ns do nd sy. tfo,if  ns follow  sysmi o o ing  ildhinduism s  o s gows u, Snn Dm will b fullyingd ino is o  lif, mking i lss likly o b sidlindo bndond in dul ys.
Without your help, there is no guarantee thatyour children will ollow their aith as adults.
Look ound   young gnion of hindus nd you will ndmny wo v no ins wsov in iing  hinduligion. On undd ys go, bfo movis, lvision ndomus, in  iis nd villgs of Indi nd hindu ommuni-is in o ounis,  hindu ml ws  mos insingl in own. Bsids  fsivls,  w dms, dns ndmusil ons. t ml ws  soil nd duionl ns wll. In ou modn wold w do v movis, lvision ndomus, nd mny hindu ildn would mu  sndi f im njoying m wi i finds  n bing  ml. Wy is is? t  mny sons. Fmilis no so los nd using. and i usd o b f si o g il-dn o om o  ml, sin i ws  n of villg lif.tims  diffn, nd ody’s ildn ofn onsid  mlboing omd o  ll-vsiv ndv mo omlling sul foms of n-inmn   vilbl. So, ns llngd mo n v o nswkids’ uzzling quis—s gndns didno v o do—by giving snsibl, g-mi xlnions o ml wosi ndhinduism’s i y of ulul nd mys-il is. Kids ody wn nsws mk sns o m. ty  no ll onn wi “t’s  wy w vlwys don i.” Wn ns  unblo m is llng, hinduism dos nobom  mningful nd usful  of i ildn’s livs. Mny you ody dono viw  i of i fi s im-on o mking i lif i, moligious nd mo sussful. tis is llng vy hindu n fs. Bull is no los. Nw gnions  go   lofy us, nd os usn b xlind in wys  ngg ndinsi young sks, ounblning owfully mgni inuns of modn wold.
Establish a shrine in the home.
hinduism is in no wy mo dynmillysngnd in  livs of ildn nd fmily n by sblising  sinin  om. t om sin woks bswn i is n ni oom. t wy i nb sily svd fo wosi nd mdi-ion, unsullid by woldly lk o oiviis. tis is  idl. howv, wn is no ossibl, i sould  ls b qui on of  oom, nd mo n siml slf o los.Nully, s imon s ving  sin is wo-siing  dily. In  sin oom off fui,ows o food. Visi you sin wn lving om, nd uon uning. Wosi in -fl dvoion, ling  inn nnls o Godnd  Gods, so i g ows owd you ndlovd ons. Mk  sin  fug fo ll fmilymmbs, w y n nd  nd sol,w y n onn wi  Gods nd offi is, ys nd il nds. tin youildn o wosi in  sin bfo ny imo-n vn in lif, su s  mjo xm  sool, own fd wi  sonl llng o oblm.Following is siml, diionl i in  s-d s wiin  om will do mu o mkhinduism lvn o m on  dy-o-dy bsis.
Worship together in the homeshrine each morning.
a oul sying in englis is “t fmily ys og sys og.” In hinduism, idllyis fs o ll mmbs of  fmily ii-ing in  moning wosi in  om sinbfo bkfs. t ildn n b ind olwys bing n offing of  ow o  ls lf. t x ouin followd dnds on fmily’s ligious bkgound nd ling. tyilis inlud  siml
 arati
o  long uj,singing dvoionl songs, ing  mn, d-ing siu nd n mdiing o fomingsiml
 sadhanas
nd yogs. as  ildn gold, y n k on g sonsibiliis du-ing  moning wosi. a numb of hindus vold us  w k m  sun, iinghindu, dsi xosu in i you o oligious diions,  sool nd lsw, ws f   ni fmily id hinduismog in  om.
   a  l  l   p  h   o  t   o   s  b  y   d  i  n   o  d  i   a   a  l  l   p  h   o  t   o   s  b  y   d  i  n   o  d  i   a
Parents can consciously and systematically develop key qualities in their children that will helpthem to be happy, religious and successul when they reach adulthood. A wise mother wrote tome once on e-mail saying, “I truly believe we live out part o our karma through our children, andwe grow and improve as they do.” Though parents may think they are just helping their childrenbe more happy, successul and religious, in truth parents cannot separate themselves rom their
children. The child’s growth and spiritual evolution is the parents’ as well. There are nine key quali-ties we want our children to possess. We will explore each o these to see what children should be
taught, or not taught, by parents to develop that quality. The nine qualities are:
1.
develop
 
 a 
 
positive
 
self
-
concept 
Positive Self-Concept
Perceptive Self-Correction
 
Powerful Self-Control
 
Profound Self-Condence
 
Playful Self-Contentment
 
Pious Character
 
Prociency in Conict Resolution
 
Parental Closeness
Prejudice-Free Consciousness
A positive sel-concept arises when wethink o ourselves as a worthy individualdeserving o a wonderul lie. Howis this accomplished? It is throughbeing generous with your praiseand appreciation, making childrenknow they are loved and valued,that who they are makes a di-erence and lie is ull o promise.
Unortunately, many children reach
adulthood with a negative sel-con-cept, eeling that others are better
than they are and lie has little to ofer. A
negative sel-concept is developed through
verbally running down a child through teasing, joking orinsulting remarks. This, o course, needs to be stopped andreplaced with encouragement and praise. When it comesto correcting misbehavior, it is wise to distinguish betweenthe person and the behavior. The behavior was oolish, notthe person. For example, you can tell your children when
they misbehave, “What you did was very oolish, but you are
smart, and I’m sure you now know better and won’t do thatagain.” Parents should also not allow their children to calleach other names, such as “at” or “lame.” Having a positive
concept about one’s outer sel allows the child to accept the
Hindu teaching that one’s inner sel is a divine being, a radi-
ant soul. My Gurudeva wrote: “Praise your children. Celebrate
their Divinity. Enjoy them and enjoy good times with them.”
ChARACTER BuildiNG, PART ONE
CulTivATE NiNE sPiRiTuAl quAliTiEs
304
what is hinduism?chapter 37: raising children as good hindus
305
kids learnprimarily throughobservationyour exampleas a parent iswhat they learnfrom the most
 
Worship together as a amily at alocal temple once a week.
anding  uj   ml vy wk llows us o xin blssings of God nd  Gods on  gul bsis. tis lsk us u s wll s song in ou ligious ommimns. t -ligious vibion of  om sin is lso sngnd by going o ml gully. Silly, som of  ligious mosof  ml n b boug om wi you if you simly lign oil lm in you sin oom wn you un fom  ml.tis sd  bings dvs wo w   ml ig ino om sin oom, w fom  inn wold y n blss llfmily mmbs nd sngn  ligious fo ld of  om.
PART TWO
TEACh ABOuT ThE sOul ANd OuR PuRPOsE ON EARTh
Teach that lie’s purpose is spiritual advancement.
t hindu viw of lif is  w   divin bing,  soul, woxins mny livs on e, nd   uos of ou b-ing  is siiul unfoldmn. Ov  iod of mny livs wgdully bom  mo siiul bing nd  us bl o x-in siiul onsiousnss mo dly. tis vnully ldso  ofound xin of God onsiousnss wi bings o onlusion ou n of innion on e. tis is lldmoks, libion. a g ldy sin of No Indi, anndmyiM, sd  gol of God rlizion qui buifully: “Mn is umn bing only so mu s  sis o Slf rlizion. tis isw umn bi is mn fo. to liz  On is  sumduy of vy umn bing.”
Teach the our traditional goals o lie.
t fou diionl hindu gols of lif  duy (dm), wl
(artha),
lov (km) nd libion (moks). t hindu s sm mbiions s do os. h o s wns o xin lov,fmily nd ildn, s wll s  ofssion, wl nd s.Dm njoins  hindu o fulll s mbiions in n ons,viuous, duiful wy. aloug dm,  nd km  ofnsn s nds in mslvs, i gs vlu is in oviding nvionmn nd xins wi l  mbodid soulmu ov mny livs ino n v dning God onsious-nss–ulmining in moks,  fou nd nl gol: libionfom  yl of bi, d nd bi.
Teach that, among humans, there areyoung souls and old souls.
e soul is mnd fom God, s  sk fom  , nd usbgins  siiul jouny wi vnully lds i bk o God.all umn bings  on is jouny, w y liz i ono; nd, of ous,  jouny sns mny livs. On mig sk,if ll  on  sm jouny, wy n is  su  disiymong mn? clly som  lik sins nd os  lik sin-ns. Som k dlig in ling i fllow mn wil osdlig in ming im. t hindu xlnion is   of ussd  jouny   diffn im, nd us som  youngsouls,   bginning of  siiul , wil os  oldsouls, n  nd. Ou
 paramaguru
, Jnnguu Siv Yogswmi,in sking o is dvos, dsibd lif s  sool, wi somin  M.a. lss nd os in kindgn. Knowing  diff-ns in siiul muiy,  gv o  odingly. hindusdo no ondmn som mn s vil nd xol os s good bu s ll s divin bings, som young, som old nd som in inmdiy sgs. If ildn  ug is nl hinduinil, y will b bl o undsnd nd   o-wis onfoundingly wid ng of diffns mong ol s of God’s osmi ln of siiul voluion.
Teach about man’s threeold nature.
Mn’s nu n b dsibd s -fold: siiul, inllulnd insiniv. On o mo of s ss domin uniqu-ly in  of us oding o ou muiy nd voluion. t sii-ul nu is  u, suonsious, inuiiv mind of  soul.t inll is  inking, soning nu. t insinivs of ou bing is  niml-lik nu wi govns ysil body nd bings fo song dsis nd low moionssu s ng, jlousy nd f. t gol is o ln o onols niml insins s wll s  miions of  inllnd  id of  go nd o mnifs on’s siiul nu.I is  insiniv nu in mn  onins  ndniso m os, disgd  udn lws of soiy nd si ungiviy wiin  om,  nion nd byond. tos wo xssing su ndnis  young souls wo v y o lnwy nd ow o nss  insiniv fos. I my k su son mny livs o is o  ig onsiousnss nd liv in issiiul nu. tus  hindu o o su  mn, wiildn n b ug fom n ly g, is no o lbl im s vil,bu  o fous on sining is ufulnss nd ling imln o onol s insins nd imov is bvio.Guudv dsibs is in n insigful wy: “pol  in vilwys wo  no y in ou wi i soul nu nd liv o-
  d  i  n   o  d  i   a
 
Perceptive sel-correction is evident whenwe are able to quickly learn the lessonrom each experience and resolve notto repeat our mistakes. How do par-ents develop this quality in children?By teaching them that making mis-takes is not bad. Everyone makesmistakes. It is natural and simplyshows we do not understand some-thing. It is important or the parent
to determine what understanding the
child lacks and teach it to him withoutblame. When parents discipline throughnatural and logical consequences, childrenare encouraged to learn to reect on the possible eects o their behavior beore acting. Such wisdom can be nurturedthrough encouraging sel-reection by asking the child to
think about what he did and how he could avoid making that
mistake again. Perceptive sel-correction enables young ones
to quickly learn rom their inevitable mistakes, rene their
still-developing behavior accordingly and thereby make more
rapid progress on the spiritual path. Gurudeva observed:“Children are entrusted to their parents to be loved, guidedand protected, or they are the uture o the uture. However,children can be a challenge to raise up into good citizenship.There are many positive ways to guide them, such as hug-ging, kindness, time spent explaining, giving wise directionand setting the example o what you want them to become.”Powerul sel-control is the ability to restraindestructive emotions, such as anger, whenwe are tempted to express them. How issuch control cultivated in children? It is
through parents’ never expressing such
emotions themselves: children learn,by observing their parents, whetherit’s acceptable to behave emotionallyor not. It is by reerring oten to theten restraints (
 yamas
) o Hinduism’s
Code o Conduct, nding illustrations o these ideals in daily lie, on television and
in movies. The
 yamas
are noninjury, truth-
ulness, nonstealing, divine conduct, patience,
steadastness, compassion, honesty, moderate appetiteand purity. Sel-control is also cultivated through empha-sizing, rom an early age, the traditional Hindu imperativeto maintain chastity until marriage. Sel-control leads tosel-mastery, enabling one to be more successul in achiev-ing outer and inner goals. Gurudeva noted: “Children whosee their mother and ather working out their dierences in
mature discussion or in the shrine room through prayer and
meditation are at that moment given permission to do thesame in their own lie when they are older. They becomethe elite o society, the pillars o strength to the commu-nity during times o stress and hardship. These children,when older, will surely uphold the principles o dharmaand will not succumb to the temptations o the lower mind.”
2.
develop
 
perceptive
 
self
-
correction
 3.
develop
 
powerful
 
self
-
control
306
what is hinduism?chapter 37: raising children as good hindus
307

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