Children, 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 their children are born. Expecting mothers should be careful. They should avoid circumstances prone to inducing emotional disturbances because such 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 upon the child as well. In due course, the child will also awaken to good culture.
As soon as a child reaches an age where he or she can begin to remember, he or she should be taught dharma through good stories. While listening to stories from cultural epics, scriptures and tales formulated around moral lessons, good values will be established in our 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 soon as possible. 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 parents are working, it is best if the grandparents are entrusted with taking care of the children. They will take care of them with much more love and concern 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 its parents. Today, with the prevalence and popularity of putting children in daycare centre, 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, they become weak and lazy. They should not be harshly punished when they make mistakes. Parents should patiently point out their mistakes and explain to them the reasons why and 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 and the need to stand strong when the various difficult circumstances that come in life arise.
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 cultivating and nurturing good culture in children by every parents.
The writer is a world-renowned spiritual leader