There is a golden saying that is absolutely true:
Children dont come from you, they come from God through you.
How does one teach children?
From the day they are born, we must learn from them.
Young children are the true face of Brahman till their spirit gets corrupted by their elders and they start going to school to get an “education”.
We dont even know what True Education means, and we force our version of “education” on pure and unconditioned children.
They are inborn and naturally endowed to be the highest ideal of mankind.
We get distracted by their crying, but remember the saying:
Only the crying baby gets milk.
But if you disregard the crying, they are much better than adults who have already been corrupted by the “wonder” of our FUKUS based education system.
We should value and treasure and honour our children.
People say we should spend all the time with our children.
It is not the quantity of time you spend with a person but the quality of time.
Remember the sayings of Swami Vivekananda:
The position of the mother is the highest in the world, as it is the one place in which to learn and exercise the greatest unselfishness. The love of God is the only love that is higher than a mother’s love; all others are lower. It is the duty of the mother to think of her children first and then of herself. But, instead of that, if the parents are always thinking of themselves first, the result is that the relation between parents and children becomes the same as that between birds and their offspring which, as soon as they are fledged, do not recognise any parents. Blessed, indeed, is the man who is able to look upon woman as the representative of the motherhood of God. Blessed, indeed, is the woman to whom man represents the fatherhood of God. Blessed are the children who look upon their parents as Divinity manifested on earth.
A son should be lovingly reared up to his fourth year; he should be educated till he is sixteen. When he is twenty years of age he should be employed in some work; he should then be treated affectionately by his father as his equal. Exactly in the same manner the daughter should be brought up, and should be educated with the greatest care. And when she marries, the father ought to give her jewels and wealth.
Do you ask anything from your children in return for what you have given them? It is your duty to work for them, and there the matter ends. In whatever you do for a particular person, a city, or a state, assume the same attitude towards it as you have towards your children — expect nothing in return.
Learn to love your children like nurse in the kindergarten loves them – she is taking care of them, she is teaching them things, feeding them, making sure they are safe. But when the time comes that they move on, she lets them go. She loves them without attachment.
As Rama said in the Yoga Vasistha:
The child is exposed to countless happenings around it; they puzzle the child, confuse the child, and arouse in it various fantasies and fears.
The child is easily impressionable and influenced by the wicked: in consequence, the child is subjected to control and punishment by its parents.
Childhood seems to be a period of subjection and nothing else!
Though the child may appear to be innocent, the truth is that all sorts of defects, sinful tendencies, and neurotic behaviour lie hidden and dormant in it, even as an owl lies hidden in a dark hole during the day-time.
O sage, I pity those people who foolishly imagine that childhood is a happy period.
Young children approach life with wonder, even the sight of a common crow fills them with joy.
They have no notion at all of religion, class, wealth, caste, colour or gender.
They never have lustful thoughts and are not ashamed of their nakedness or seeing others naked.
They willingly play and make friends with anybody. Children love and trust unconditionally. Children are friends even with strangers.
A child may be quick to cry and fight, but is equally quick to again laugh and jump with joy and make friends and forget about past fights.
A child has no notion of lying, cheating and stealing.
They do not have any concept that a girl is inferior and that girls and boys should not play together.
They do not have any concepts about “religion”. That one should not touch dogs, one should bow before an idol, one must memorize scriptures and practice rituals and go on pilgrimages.
Children have no notion about heaven, everything they see around them is cherished and enjoyed by them, so why do they need to learn about heaven and paradise.
Do not teach them any scriptures or mantras or rituals or Gods.
Do not ever tell them to “pray” and worship, especially in public religious places.
Do not condition a child’s pure, undistorted and unconditioned mind with the ideas of your own conditioned, distorted and rigid mind.
Let children find out for themselves with their more powerful pure, unconditioned and undistorted minds.
As Jiddu said:
“The understanding of what you are, without distortion, is the beginning of virtue.”
If all children were not corrupted by the wicked thoughts of their elders, and if the elders learnt from the pure thoughts of their children, this world will be a much better place.
The practice of ध्यान must only be done after 7 years of age.
Until then let the natural spirit of the child develop to its fullest which is usually done by their 6th year.
However the practice of Dharma should be developed right from 20 months.
I have seen this myself in the young children who I am closely associated with.
Even a child as young as 20 months has a concept of good and bad and right and wrong.
Hence it is important to involve them into the true meaning and practice of Dharma and SEVA even from an age as young as 20 months.
Involve them into the values of compassion, honesty and integrity.
Involve them into the value of hard work, patience and perseverance.
Involve them in what real wealth is and how to earn it.
Involve them into how it is most important to have an open mind and a willingness to listen.
Involve them, do not just tell them or show them.
As an old Chinese saying goes:
“Tell me, I’ll forget. Show me, I’ll remember. Involve me, I’ll understand”
But this involvement and teaching should in the form of reward and absence of reward.
It should never be in the form of punishment or threat and fear of punishment.
It is a proven fact not only among children, but also adult humans, and even among animals:
People perform the best and give their heart and soul when given the promise of a reward.
People perform the worst and will usually always fail and rebel when given only the threat of punishment.
Children learn best when they are shown what to do and then made to follow.
Children are thoroughly confused when told what to do and not followed by those who told them to do it in the first place.
So you must show them yourself what to do, before they learn what to do.
You learn by seeing and following those around you, not by being told what to do and not followed by those who tell you what to do.
DO AS YOU SAY AND SAY AS YOU DO.
HOME IS THE BEST SCHOOL.
EXTRAORDINARY CHILDREN CAN ONLY BE RAISED AND INSPIRED BY EXTRAORDINARY PARENTS.
As Sadhguru said:
“Children don’t listen to you; They observe you.”
There are places on my website where I mention this useless way of “modern” “education” of memorization and rote learning and conditioning children to become qualified candidates instead of decent human beings.
There is a better way.
The way of True Education.
The way of encouraging the open mind that comes naturally to a child.
You should not be testing them, they should be testing you. They should ask the questions and you should answer, never in anger or disrespect, but answer in a perfectly calm and respectful manner.
If they talk back in anger talk back to them in a perfectly calm and respectful manner and try to make them understand and follow you.
But before you tell them to follow you, you must be sure that you are acting unselfishly and in their best interests, not your best interests.
Are you acting for a selfish purpose, or because you love them unselfishly?
In fact do you really unselfishly love them?
One becomes dear from an adequate cause. One becomes a foe from an adequate cause. This whole world of creatures is moved by the desire of gain (in some form or other).
One never becomes dear to another (without cause). I do not know any kind of affection between any persons that does not rest upon some motive of self-interest.
When the time comes for it, one should make peace with an enemy; and when the time comes, one should wage war with even a friend.
Do not give them video games and TV and Facebook and facebook friends.
Encourage them to go out a play in the real world with real children.
This whole culture of video games and TV and Facebook is a huge waste of time and resources and a huge danger to the well being not only the quality of life of future generations, but also the survival of a nation and this world.
So is the culture of gambling and adult entertainment.
In fact even our mainstream culture has so much gratuitous sex and violence, unwarranted and unnecessary.
Not everyone needs to be a lawyer, software engineer or MBA.
For many aspirants the sole reason for this is money.
Once money is out of the equation, it will be love of profession that will drive children to choose their careers.
I am willing to bet that most of them will choose farming, fine arts, writing and music, teaching, engineers, doctors, soldiers, policemen and nurses.
These are the most joyous of professions.
I believe that the things that one learns as a young child (especially in the ages of 2-10 will eventually show up in them when they are adults) especially if it is taught to them by their parents or grandparents.
I especially believe that the way a child is treated between the ages of 2-10 will ultimately decide how they grow up to be as adults.
That is why it is very important to treat young children with love, tolerance, patience, non discrimination and kindness and then they will do the same to others when they grow up.
Walt Whitman said:
There was a child went forth every day, and the first object he looked upon and received with wonder or pity or love or dread, that object he became, and that object became part of him for the day or a certain part of the day….or for many years or stretching cycles of years.
My mom taught me read a lot and to never lie, cheat or steal.
More importantly she told me to be calm and patient. I always remember what she told me when I was very young:
Patience is virtue, virtue is grace, put them together and you will have a pretty face.
My father taught me to read a lot instead of watching TV.
My father taught me the power of determination, the importance of hard work and the value of money.
But there are also a lot of very important things I learned not to do from the mistakes in character and actions of my father both in his business and personal life.
There have been many times my Father has only shown me Fish Love, Not True Love.
Most of the things I have written in the things I have figured out come from observing the flaws in my father, not only in himself, but also because of his bad judgement and disappointments with other people who fool people who havent figured things out.
Someone once said that children do not value their parents until they become parents themselves.
I think this is absolutely true. I know most parents including mine love their children since they created them.
But most parents in Bharat are extremely selfish in their so called “love” toward their children.
They only show them Fish Love, not True Love.
There is a saying about true love:
If you really loved someone and have true love, you would do for them what they want to do.
It is not really love at all when you would do for someone what you want them to do.
Most parents in Bharat think that they own their children and try to direct every facet and choice of their children’s lives.
They dictate what their children should wear, what to eat, how to “worship”, how to “behave”, what to study, what career to pursue, whom to marry and many such fundamental things, which should in my opinion should be left to the pure undistorted unconditioned minds of their children.
I know parents who force their children to go to IIT coaching from 4th standard.
They use the blackmail of withholding money to force their selfish intentions and dreams on helpless children who have still not qualified for a living to become independent themselves.
Most parents especially in Bharat, want their children to live the parents dreams not their children’s own dreams.
Parents should never force children to get married to someone the children don’t even know or like.
In the same way, the children also should not get married based on just looks, talking and money.
Most young children who are foolish enough to get married at a young age based on the above criteria, usually have problems in their marriage in their 30s.
Marriage is not about looking and talking good and having fancy cars and money, marriage is about feeling good and being there for each other even in the worst of times.
Here is a good song about love and marriage by Jim Reeves.:
Here is my article on the keys to a successful marriage.
More research should be done to figure out why teenagers and young adults, especially boys, rebel, are so horny and sometimes do stupid things like drugs and drinking and drunk driving??
Boys and girls if made to interact, play and study together ever since they are infants will have healthy relationships with each other when they grow up.
There is a certain age when children become adults and figure things out for themselves.
This point of inflection differs and is a really complex issue.
Some children have things figured out by the time they finish their 6th standard, some children do not have things figured out even after they have children of their own.
I have very mixed views on child labour.
If the child is not willing to study and wants to take up a job out of their own free will and fully informed and fully aware unforced consent, I dont think there is anything wrong with that but it is not acceptable if a child does so because of trafficking and extreme conditions like poverty, sickness and death in the family
We must ensure that these child labourers are properly paid and work out of their free will, are well looked after and not exploited. But all children must learn to read, write, count and have basic education upto 3rd Form (it was 3rd form in pre-independence and I think it is 8th standard in today’s times).
Crimes by Children/Juveniles
Children indulge in mischief a lot especially pre-teen and juvenile boys.
During the follies of my youth, the boys on our street have shot out street lights, bombed postboxes of neighbours we hated during Diwali, sprayed Holi on their curtains and on their walls, did full tank and meter downs (only those who know me will understand this), shamed people to pick up fallen wallets tied to strings, delayed traffic by pretending there were Diwali bombs on the road, instead of just agarbhattis, carjacked parked cars, autos and even tonga horses for joyrides.
Looking back some of the things we did are almost criminal, but we did this because we never got caught for what we did and most importantly because nobody told us it was wrong to do such things in the first place.
We stopped bombing postboxes and shooting out street lights once the police paid a visit to our road and warned us not to do it.
Hence I think for minor crimes of mischief children should by treated by the law for juveniles.