A healthy child will have three kinds of trust - Trust in the divinity, trust in the goodness of people and trust in one self. A healthy child will not think that everybody is a thief or everybody is bad. He/ She doesn’t get into this sort of paranoia. A healthy child knows that people are good. A healthy child has trust in himself/ herself and trust in the unseen power of God, Divinity, some higher power. These three types of trusts can make a child genius .These are the ingredients to make a very talented and genius child. To nurture them, we need to bring about these tendencies in them.
If you keep telling children that everyone is a cheat, the child loses its trust in the people around and the society in general. Their personality, talents and communication skills will shrink. Their interaction with people will suffer a great deal. They become unsuccessful business persons, unsuccessful professionals and unsuccessful artists. They may have talents but this is the result you will get if trust in people and in the goodness of things as they are is taken away. Today, you have many young people who want to be entrepreneurs, but they are not successful. You know why? This is the reason. They don’t trust in the goodness of people nor do they trust in themselves. As parents we have to build these things in a child. Do you encourage if they come to you with complaints? What do you do? Do you encourage the negativity? Or you mould it to something positive. You have to play a balanced role. Sometimes your child comes to you and says so and so is so good, and you know that that friend of your son/ daughter is not so good. Here you have to point out their mistakes and bring them to the center line sometimes. They get swayed away by somebody and you know their habits are not so good, then you have to tell the negative things. But if they are telling you negative things about somebody, then you have to point out the positive. So, you have to have a balancing act whenever a child swings too much to the left or too much to the right. Do you agree with me? We create an atmosphere around us. If we create an atmosphere of trust and children grow in that atmosphere, they become brilliant. But, if we create an atmosphere of negativity, distrust, or dejection, they are going to reflect and bounce the same thing on us. Having come here today, I want to give you an exercise to do which I want you to do every day. When you come back from work and meet your children, the first thing you do is clap with them, or play, or laugh. It may look little artificial for one or two days. But later on, it will become a breakthrough for you and your kids. Sit and have food with the whole family, as much as possible, at least 3 to 4 times a week. And while having food, don’t tell them they are bad. While serving them food, don’t put down their moods. There is a time to tell them when they are wrong, never on the dining table.
Close your eyes for 30 seconds. Just suppose that everyone is telling you that they don’t trust you. Think no one trusts you. How do you feel?(After 30 seconds) Open your eyes. Bad, sad, unhappy! You know this is the atmosphere we create- ‘I don’t trust you, I don’t trust you’ .It is an effort to create an healthy atmosphere, I understand because your life is not only your own children. You have so many other things; you have to interact with so many other people. When you have no control over your own moods, it is difficult to make a mood or create an atmosphere just for the sake of children. But we need to make an effort. So, let us quickly go over once again. Have dinner with the kids atleast 3-4 times in a week. And when you are having food, don’t point out their mistakes or blame them. See that their mood is uplifted. See that their personality is developed such that they don’t feel the generation gap. They interact with elders as well as youngsters. Give them some responsibility of youngsters and sometimes some responsibility to do something for older ones by which you can bridge their generation gap.
Make sure that they have little bit of both science and arts. If you find your child is too much oriented towards music and arts and doesn’t care for science, then you put in little effort to take them to science museum or make them do some mathematics. Encourage them a little bit towards science. If they are too much into science and mathematics, give from musical side as well. It is not difficult to put them on musical side, because they always have musical or artistic side to them. But especially boys, you will have to encourage them a little more .Girls naturally have an inclination towards arts.
Engage them in some project where they are contributing, they are giving rather than acquiring or possessing. We need to do something to inculcate this tendency in children. Just small things, it doesn’t have to be anything big. See that they have three types of trust. Trust in the goodness of people. Tell them the stories or good happenings in the world not just only the negative things. Trust in themselves, encourage them. Sometimes they say, “I can’t do it”. Encourage them and tell them that they can do it. And then trust in the goodness in the society. If they grow up with the feeling of mistrust or fear, there will be paranoia. Their personality will start shrinking, they can never blossom, they can never be good communicators in the society. Trust the society and trust in divinity. A little bit of ritual is essential to create an atmosphere for children. Make them sit and do some chanting. Ask them to light a candle a lamp, some little bit of ritual is good for them to hold on. Make them to break a coconut or go to temple. It is important to root a little bit of sanskara about something that is supernatural. Don’t you think it is necessary? A faith in the unknown can take them a long way. Not too much, though, just a little bit. Make them read a few shalokas. These things will develop their personality.
When children are very positive about their friends, give them a little caution, but not too much. If they are very negative about some friends, show that that there is something positive coming out there also. In this way, you are pushing them to the center, not letting them fall on either side.
Learn from them. Don’t always stand up as a teacher. But participate with them and learn from them.
Q: How to cope up with child’s expectation when they compare themselves with others and demand those things that others have? They say that so and so is groomed well and they also want same kind of stuff.
Sri Sri : You have to tell children that you can only give that much and they shouldn’t compare themselves with others. But it is important that you don’t give them any false hope. At the same time, we can give them a dream. If you pass or do this, may be you will get it. Here lies the importance of bringing them up with that sensitivity and belongingness. That is why I said if you participate instead of teaching them, they will not even ask you. They should be a participant in your life. Then they will be sensitive towards you, rather than putting a demand on you. Before you become a good father or mother, you need to become a good uncle or aunt. Are you getting what I am saying? You should communicate more with friends of your children. They will listen to you. Suppose, if your son’s/daughter’s friends have any wrong habit, you can influence them to change. They listen to you more than their own parents. Similarly, other parents can take care of other’s children better than their own children.
Q: There is so much competition in society that kids have no time to relax. There is a fear that they will not fit into society. How do we handle this situation? What is the mantra for excellence?
Sri Sri: I think you shouldn’t push them too much. You should teach them to relax. That is why I said music, meditation, some games will all help.
Q: Children don’t care about their parents when they grow up. So many old age homes are there. Where do we fail as parents and what is your advice to parents so that this situation could be controlled?
Sri Sri: That is why I am saying these three types of trust are very important – Trust in oneself, in goodness of others and in the Divine. A little bit of religion, moral and spiritual values, and the way you treat your parents and ask them to treat their grandparents can make an impact on them. So, you tell your children to take care of their grandparents. They will start doing that way.
Q: How can spiritual practices strengthen academic progress?
Sri Sri: Definitely. you know there has been a research recently from England that the children who study Sanskrit excel in mathematics and linguistic function of their brain become so much better that these children can learn any language from Chinese to English to Russia easily. Researchers worked for 15 years and they find out these results. Three schools in England have made Sanskrit compulsory in the school. They also did research why India is Excellent in IT. Indian brain is more suitable on computer. This is because of the background of Sanskrit language. So, it is good to have your children study Sanskrit. Apart from this there are number of researches which show how doing pranayama enhance the performance of children. They feel more calm, attentive, and more alert. They are able to perceive and digest better. There are number of such benefits that have been proved. You can look into the yes+ website for the benefits that a child gets in academic field.
Q: Today, children are getting more attracted to western culture. My son gets annoyed if jeans is washed after one wear. We have to pay an extra amount to get torn jeans, that is how he loves to wear it. How can we bring a change in this attitude?
Sri Sri: You know, all these fashions keep on changing. So, don’t worry. None of the fashion can stay forever. You create such awareness in your children and their friends. You inspire them to adopt some different styles. That is why I am telling every parent has to be a good uncle and aunt. You can’t care for your children only. You have to care for their friends. You should have at least six parties for your children at home in a year where you should interact with friends of your children. Call them all over to your house, have a pajama party, sit with them, talk to them, share stories, find out from them. If you spend one Saturday evening in two months, you can make a great difference.
Q: Please give guidance on parenting special children. What can be done for them through the ‘Art of living’?
Sri Sri: You simply serve them. Don’t pity them. You know, people with special needs, their soul is in a different state. They are not in a sorry state. They have come to this planet just to take service. With this attitude, you do service. Never have sympathy – ‘oh poor child’. Children with special needs have come just to take service from you.
Q: How do we know children are into drugs or just moody?
Sri Sri: This you can find out. That’s why it is important for you to know them and their friend circle. You will get to know what they do, where they go, keep a tab on them, especially teenage. It is very difficult time. They are undergoing such a biological change. So, they are not just satisfied with the love of their parents, their body is discovering new things. They are looking for some love from outside – an emotional support, a physical pleasure. Their mind is in such confusion. So, to deal with teenage children is a big task. That’s why we have this yes and yes+ course, which is for teens. I tell you, these courses have opened up children in such a way which I cannot even describe.
In one of the courses in New Delhi, 1000 youths participated. We asked a question, “whom do you hate foremost?” 80 percent said their professor, 75 percent of them said the second most hated is their parents. In this country where we say, Maatra devo bhava, pitra devo bhava, aacharya devo bhava, atithi devi bhava, Mother, father, teachers and guests are considered such ideals and manifestations of Divine. It is appalling to see them start hating them. We don’t want violence and stress in our education system at any cost. We do not want gun culture as is happening in America. There is so much violence in class rooms there. Present year report says that campus violence have tripled in America from what it was in 90’s. So, it is very dangerous and we do not want this thing in India. That is why we need to bring moral and spiritual values, ethical values of compassion, friendliness and love.
Q: youth is so aggressive. We give them everything they ask for, yet there is no satisfaction. They are so hyperactive. How to mellow down such hyperactive kids especially when they are hurting others?
Sri Sri: Just bring them to yes and yes+ course. When these kids in Delhi do the course, their parents were wondering what we had done to their kids. They have become so nice. They never thought about the kind of transformation that they saw in their kids after the curse. The same kids who earlier said they hated their parents started caring about their parents, sending them notes expressing their love for them, and asking them what can they do for them. There was total transformation in these kids. In 43 universities of America, yes+ clubs are there. In Cornell University and several other, it is credit now. So if you do yes+ course, do meditation, practices, you get credit. World is recognizing this now and better India start doing it. We will have to teach them meditation and ways to manage their own negative emotions.
“That which you cannot express is Love.
That which you cannot reject/renounce is Beauty.
That which you cannot avoid is the Truth.”
That which you cannot reject/renounce is Beauty.
That which you cannot avoid is the Truth.”
~ Sri Sri Ravishankar
© The Art of Living Foundation