Q&A – How do we best raise our children in these difficult times?

Mohanji: Welcome to Mohanji Speaks. These are answers to questions from listeners. Thank you for sending them, keep sending them. I will try to answer them as best as I can.

Speaker: This question is about parenting small children, especially in the current times. The question really centers around, how do we keep spirits alive and help them realize the beauty and goodness in the world, despite having to constantly remind them not to hug others, not to touch articles outside, not to meet friends? And for this person, it’s breaking the heart to see the child indoors, alone at home.

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Mohanji: The question is about how to bring the children up the way you expect them to be. First and foremost, every child born in the world is the responsibility of society, not only the parents. First of all, try to get your ownership away from children. When you do not have ownership, then you have a better connection. When you have ownership, you have flavored connection. You own the person. This is my child. I want this child to be like this, etc.

You have to gently bring them to this awareness of how they should be in the world, and you have to lead by example. You cannot avoid the pressure or the presence of the society from the lives of your children. Not even you. That presence and pressure will affect everybody; in a good way or a bad way. Do we have any control over our children? They came through us; that’s okay. But they don’t belong to us. Every child belongs to only themselves. They don’t even belong to the society; but it’s the responsibility of the society, which is a conglomeration to take care of each child. And what we have in the society, what is the mental structure, collective consciousness; that’s reflected in each child of the society – every child.

Parents, teachers, society, if you take all these three, the highest and the most important in the society; then comes parents and then come teachers. All these aspects have to be equally understood. A child is a complete character. A child comes to this world with a character, a constitution, a particular inclination, tendency, and a set of desires. It’s obviously not the same for everyone; each person has their inclinations, tendencies, likes and dislikes, desires, all distinct, even in the same family. What contaminates a relationship is the ownership and what enriches a relationship is freedom.

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Freedom is the best message you can actually deliver to a child with your own life. Freedom is not freedom of the senses and mind; it’s freedom from the senses and mind. If you live that in your own household, and if you demonstrate that on an everyday basis, not as a teaching, but as a lifestyle, children will pick it up. If we demonstrate the power of compassion, kindness, unconditional love, selflessness, caring, sharing, every day; and bring your children along with you while you demonstrate it in your own life; not to teach them but to show them that this makes heaven on Earth. Then the child will start connecting to it at some point in time, even if they get influenced by the bad effects of the society for some time, they will have this in the back of their mind that there is a possibility of heaven on Earth. This is within us. We have that power; we have that means and stability to bring forth. So, this is the thing, when we talk to a child, don’t try to give them lessons, instead, try to give them awareness. The best way to give them awareness is through the life stories of great Masters. When I say Masters, do not think they are saints or spiritual people; Masters is somebody who has exercised their purpose against all odds and found success.

Again, as I say, according to me, success means the contentment factor; satisfaction over life. Every moment satisfaction, not like a satisfaction at the time of death, or to the latest stage of life, not like that. For me, contentment is much more important than possessions and positions. For me, richness means contented life. This is real richness; having a contented life is real richness for me. It’s not about what I have. It’s about how I perceive life, how I accept life, how I live my life. Even if you have billions, you can only have one breakfast, one lunch and one dinner; you can only sleep in one bed. You can have any amount of luxury but how would you use it? So, contentment factor is not connected to materials; it’s not connected to relationships. We change relationships quite often to find the right relationship; but mostly we are not contented. It is not about changing relationships; it’s not searching outside, it’s searching inside. You search inside and find yourself. You are contented, and that gives contentment to everything outside.

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These are fundamental things which we can guide children into with our own life, not through teachings, not through messages, not through punishments. I hate punishing children; there’s no need to do that. Instead, you can live a great life and show this to children. For a small child, the father and the mother are great personalities. They admire them, they should admire them with their own lifestyle. And don’t ridicule or gossip or talk bad about any spouse in front of the children. When you say that “Your father is not good”, or when the father says “The mother is not good”, the child develops conflict within. The child doesn’t understand; he feels that there is a betrayal going on here. (Not exactly in those words but that’s the effect) A child looks at a relationship, in terms of love, (a small child) hug, love, feeling, kissing, very much understood; but disparities, enmities, revenge, not understood. And if a child grows up seeing that; how can you expect a better society? So, it’s important!

A child is the responsibility of everybody, the society, as well as the parents as well as the teachers, in a different order. When we consistently show compassion, kindness, love, the child will be stabilized in that. By the time the child is five or six, he would have established himself in love. And he will not choose any other option because there’s no better option than love. So, this is the point, when a child comes up in love, basking in love, swimming in love, filled in love; he will not express anger, hatred and jealousy, in the world outside. Even he would probably transform the world with love. And this possibility is always there.

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So how do you groom your children? Very simple, you have to lead by example. You have to be love, you should never pretend, no hypocrisy because children catch it very fast. You got to live it yesterday, today, tomorrow, day after; that means, every day, live the same thing; love, compassion, kindness. And always understand that discrimination of any kind, including racism, speciesism, and all kinds of ‘isms’ which discriminates people and beings and every creation; is not understood by a small child. They don’t see the life that way. But as we grow up with our conditionings, we start looking at things in that way. So, don’t bring this to children. You should live a life beyond every ‘isms’; beyond man-made barriers that will give stability to a child.

We need a society rooted in absolute compassion. We need a society away from corruption, selfishness. We need a society rooted in selflessness. “How can I help you?”, should be the question. “Can I help you? How else can I help you? How else can I serve you?” This should be the question, and let the child see you performing this all the time. And the child will transform itself into a powerful personality, filled with compassion, with kindness and love. This is the best thing you can give to the world – great child, a great son or daughter rooted in compassion, kindness and love, with the ability to transform the society with it. There is nothing more powerful than love. And here, you are creating legends, great personalities. You have the capacity, every parent has the capacity. Do not restrict the children, do not bind them. Instead, give them freedom; as I said, again, freedom is not freedom of senses; it’s freedom from senses, and give contentment, with what you have. Love as you are, and leave the world better, much higher than you got the world from the past.

Thank you for listening to this podcast. Do contemplate on it, do discuss with your friends, and let me know what you feel. If you have further questions, do send them to me.

Thank you. This is Mohanji for you.

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Transcribed by Ulla Bernholdt

Proofread by Padmini Ravikumar

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