“You reap what you sow” – This saying is very relevant when it comes to parenting. Let us be honest and fair, parents cannot be blamed for everything. Raising a child is not just the Parent’s responsibility but a collective social responsibility, as the influence of neighbours, friends, school, teachers, media, movies, and entertainment industry are equal or more on a child’s mind to that of Parent’s influence. Hence, the Parents’ burden is reduced if a child finds a good conducive atmosphere for holistic development. But, to the contrary, challenges of parenting in Indian homes increase multi-fold if the prevailing circumstances are not in favor of good parenting.
So, in a way, it’s a catch-22 situation where good children build a good society and a good society produces good children. Parents get to deal with it, good or bad. In Bharat we are lucky to have some visionary Saints like Sant Shri Asharamji Bapu who has not only observed these problems but came up with some practices which can help fight these challenges and guide children on their path to cultural life.
Parenting – A Challenge
It is a well-known fact that good parenting has become a challenge globally these days. While Western societies are seeing repercussions of their own cultural influence boomeranging on their younger generation. It is sad to see even India falling prey to the same unthoughtful, haphazard Western culture. The Parenting scenario in Bharat is even more challenging. This is due to more significant influence of media and entertainment on an child than in Western countries and superimposed effects of west being induced on them. Helpless Indian Parents have to run pillar to post to impart a decent cultural base and good moral value education in their child’s mind.
Parenting in Indian Homes – Past
Parenting was a walk in the park in those days where Gurukul education system took the major brunt, by disburdening Parents’, in providing an extremely conducive environment with competitive Gurus to accomplish the overall development of a child. The education back then was life-centric and not just survival-centric. At home and Gurukuls, a child was taught to respect elders, to value morality & integrity over wealth, and to nurture positivity, contentment & happiness. In the past, the strong social fabric of joint families helped in a child’s upbringing. India was thriving with cultural fine arts, like classical music, dance, sculpting, painting, etc., which also helped in blossoming a child’s concentration, dedication, and devotion. Overall, it was too good to be true for both parents and children.
Parenting in Indian Homes – Present
From then till now, Parenting has been spiraling downwards and the snowball effect began with the introduction of Macaulay’s education system by Britishers, who had an ill intention to meticulously destroy Gurukuls and Indian Culture. To most extent, they have succeeded. Convent schools teach only in English Medium, which changes the mindset of a child. It enslaves a child to think and act like a Westerner and develop a distaste towards Indian Culture. To add fuel to the fire, the media and entertainment industry are bombarding alien cultures, like Homosexuality, Transgenderism, pre-marital live-in relationships, Valentine’s Day, etc., non-stop into a child’s brain. In such a scenario, Indian Parents are caught between a rock and a hard place trying to save their children from this moral & cultural degrading trends . Sigh! It looks like a herculean task parenting these days!
Art of Parenting in Indian Homes – Future (Tips to get there)
Although it appears that we are in an adverse situation, there is no reason to lose hope or give up. There is always light at the end of the tunnel. Saints like Sant Shri Asharamji Bapu and have taken it upon themselves to provide a social fabric, knowledge and tool kits, which will revive our culture and bring back the glory of the past. We just need to follow their guidance step by step for good parenting and help in building a strong nation.
Here are a few wonderful tips provided by Bapuji.
Live By Example
Children learn things very quickly from their role models. As a Parent, we must walk the talk and do what we preach, so we become their role model. Sant Shri Asharamji Bapu has shared many tips in his discourses and literature that can guide children to boost their moral values, physical well-being, and cultural development. As parents, we can follow these simple actions to instill in them the same principles. For instance, we should wake up early and encourage them to practice meditation, yoga, chanting etc. We must follow the same diet that we want them to follow. We just need to be willing to sacrifice the extra time and effort to change our life style to nurture children from an early age.
Children pick up their Parents’ habits and behavior from a very early age. Hence, it becomes our responsibility as a Parent to be vigilant on how we behave in front of Children. Such vigilance needs to start right from when they are toddlers. Bapuji says Books are friends for life time and good literature not only induces good thoughts but it nurtures good character as well. As we know Children are very fond of stories. Hence, we must read them the stories from our epics like Ramayana, Mahabarata and Puranas. This includes stories of our brave kings like Chatrapati Shivaji, Rana Pratap, Lakshmi Bai and others.
Teach them the importance of our festivals, traditions and values from an early age. Parents often shy away from discussing the importance of celibacy and treat that as a personal topic. But, in the era we are living in, it is imperative to counter the ill effects of the film industry, porn industry, and Valentine’s Day culture. We must expose teenagers early on to literature that can enlighten them about the importance of celibacy. Bapuji has provided a lot of literature and books covering this topic; one of them is ‘Divya Prerna Prakash,’ which is also available online and details the importance of celibacy in one’s life.
To summarize, we must fill them with sense of pride for our culture and reverse the damages caused by the Western Culture influence.
Adapting Vedic Style of Education.
Schools are second home for the children. The learning and growth they experience in school surpasses what we can teach them at home. We should strive to send children to modern-day Gurukuls like Sant Shri Asharmji Gurukuls. These educational institutes offer a blend of contemporary education and Vedic knowledge. Such mix is very important for the holistic development of the students. Here, students not only acquire academic knowledge but also learn values, relationships, spirituality, and much more, which proves invaluable during the tussle with real-life hurdles.
Take Support from Spiritual Organizations
Sometimes, it is not possible to send kids to Gurukuls. In such situations, there are several Bal Sanskar Kendras of Bapuji available as an alternative. These are run by knowledgeable volunteers on weekends and holidays. Sending kids to such an atmosphere will help them increase their knowledge about our culture and tradition. Such learnings are interspersed with proper reasoning and practical experience. They not only learn good habits here but also build a connection with the moral realm. All this helps them become good citizens of Bharat.
Sant Shri Asharamji Bapu Ashram organizes events like Vidhyarthi Anushthan Shivirs . Here, students experience an atmosphere of cultural values, spirituality, and real-life knowledge. These events make them independent, inculcate respect for families, and nurture their minds for their holistic develoepement.
Experience is a better teacher
Children learn quicker when they are exposed to situations than verbal teaching. Hence, we must spend time to device practical experience for kids. For instance, if we say that going to temple and Ashram will bring peace in your mind. Then we must spend time at least once in a month to experience them with that peace.
Parenting in Indian homes and elsewhere has become crucial in this age; otherwise, children can veer down the path of degradation. To shield them from this trajectory, we should inspire them to cultivate good habits under the guidance of Sanatan Saints. This task cannot be accomplished alone unless kids share the same faith and respect for their parents. Visionary Saint Sant Shri Asharamji Bapu initiated Parents Worship Day celebration on 14th Feb. This festival not only serves as a barrier against the obscenity created by the adverse effects of Valentine’s Day. But it also strengthens the bond between parent and child by reviving their love. This will prove to be a solution for parenting issues as it will create an environment where society will be contributing to the moral upgradation of the children and their holistic development.