Possessing a flute does not make you a flutist, similarly, possessing a child does not make you a parent. True parenting is a great challenge, specially now, when immature children are vulnerable to the early onslaught of electronic media. Parents often asked Swami Chinmayanandaji how they could instil ethical and spiritual values in growing children. Swamiji always answered, “By living them yourself.” Let children see how nobly you live your life, how you respect and care for the elderly in the family. Parental attitudes and behavioural patterns easily shape the personality of children. A child understands childlike language. When a Scientist father explains the phenomenon of rain to a child, the child is perplexed at the terminology, but when a loving grandmother cradles the child on her lap and with drama and wonder explains how the RainGod along with his elephant draws up the water in the elephant’s trunk and then spews it down on the earth , the child is transfixed with wonder at the RainGod ‘s miracle. So children have to be taught nobility, generosity and truthfulness at their level of understanding. Dance, drama, stories, craft and play are powerful mediums. Questioning is part of growth, but the ancient myths need to be reinterpreted in terms of modern day thinking. Our ancient scriptures are treasure houses of learning. If explained correctly, the electronic age children very quickly and intelligently relate to the practical wisdom inherent there in. A boy questioned Swami Chinmayanandaji, “No one has ‘seen’ God, how can I believe that I will see Him?” Swamiji counter questioned “Can you see a beard on your face? No? Yet you believe that it will appear on your face when you grow up. Similarly, the Lord is hidden in you and will manifest to you when you spiritually grow…keep calling Him.” A sapling if protected and nourished lovingly grows into a big and strong tree to protect and nourish others. Let us nourish our children with love care and noble values.
Prarthna Saran President, Delhi Chinmaya Mission.