The foundation for success in life is the good culture imbibed in childhood. This is the most valuable and imperishable form of wealth that any parent can bestow. Actually, parents should put in effort to inculcate proper culture in their children even before they are born. Expecting mothers should be careful.
They should avoid circumstances prone to inducing emotional disturbances because disturbances can adversely affect the physical and mental health of their unborn child. That is why it is said that during pregnancy women should be happy, observe spiritual practices, listen to spiritual discussions, read good scriptural texts and so on. In this way, the culture of the expecting mother is uplifted and the positive energy generated will have a beneficial effect on the child as well. In due course the child will also awaken to good culture.
As soon as a child comes to an age where it can begin to remember, it should be taught dharma through good stories. While listening to stories from cultural epics, scriptures and stories formulated around moral lessons, good values will become established in children even without their knowledge. Most importantly, parents themselves should live lives of dharma, values and good culture. How can those leading adharmic lives raise children to be dharmic?
In the olden days, there were grandparents and other relatives other than a child’s parents living together in the home. Today, many couples get their own homes and start living separately. As a result, their children miss out on the enriching environment of various family relationships. They also miss out on the moral tales narrated by grandparents. When both the parents are working, it is best if the grandparents are entrusted with taking care of the children. They will take care of the children with more love and care than any nanny. Furthermore, the presence of the grandchildren will spread joy in the grandparents’ lives as well.
It is from the culture received until the age of five that one’s individuality is formed. During this period, a child should remain with his or her parents. Today, with the prevalence and popularity of putting children in daycare, children miss out on the benefits of being raised by people who do so selflessly, with hearts filled with innocent love. To compensate for this loss, when parents return from work, they should focus on their children. They should find time—even if they have to take holidays to do so—to spend quality time with them.
Both affection and discipline are necessary. Children who grow up without affection often have difficulty opening and expanding their hearts. But if there is only affection and no discipline, children become weak and lazy. Children should not be harshly punished when they make mistakes. Parents should patiently point out their mistakes and explain to them the reasons why what they have done is wrong.
True love towards one’s children isn’t found in taking them to movies and amusement parks, but in cultivating wisdom and culture in them. Only this will help our children gain the strength needed to stand strong when various difficult circumstances arise in life. The foundation of a nation’s progress and auspiciousness is the purity of character of its individuals. A good society and public can be created only through the cultivating and nurturing of good culture in children by every parent.
The writer is a world-renowned spiritual leader