23 Mar Hansaji Talking on ‘Bringing Up Children’
The topic for the Hindi Satsang on Sunday, 16th March, 2014 was ‘Bringing Up Children.’
Following is the transcript of the speech made by Smt. Hansaji Yogendra on the topic.
Listen to the Audio:
“It is very important to understand this conflict that Dr Jayadeva is referring to.
Our age old traditions (Samskaras) that have been developed by extremely wise people of those times very clearly tell us what we should value in our lives – love, togetherness, good behaviour, a good character – a child should be exposed to such values since the very beginning, and here I will refer to a joint family where the grandparents, parents and children are all living together – where the elders are being respected and asked for their advice – where a decision is taken jointly keeping everyone’s suggestions in mind. A joint family does not allow pampering of likes and dislikes of any one individual or catering to one person’s whims and fancies or mood swings. A joint family encourages the importance of living together, where every person has their own value and one feels the need of everyone in the household.
It is not that we have to take care of the grandparents, instead it is that we are here because of the grandparents, it is because of the grandparents that the family is progressing – they are here and that is why we are able to go out for our work, they provide for our values and they provide us time – the point is that every human in every phase of his/her life contributes in some manner to the family and is therefore extremely important to the family unit – this should be expressed. No individual is useless. The presence of even a sick bed-ridden person in the house is important for the development of the child because he learns how to prioritize, how to let go of one’s desires and take care of one’s physical health – such an all-round development happens when one lives together in a joint family.
The impressions of the external environment are stronger on the child in case of a nuclear family whereas the impressions of the internal environment are stronger on the child in case of a joint family.
In a singular / nuclear family, the management is different, an individual’s whims and fancies decides the actions, the western culture gains prominence – such things may influence the child. It is not a question of culture of the west or the east but are we incorporating the good of both the cultures.
I remember when we visited London a long time back, we reached in the early hours of the morning, we went to the washroom and were surprised to see an attendant, completely fresh and alert, willing to attend to anyone who walked in. The attendant was not sleeping or even half-asleep. He was alert and duty conscious. I was very happy to see such sincerity towards one’s duty and I see such all over the west – sincerity towards one’s duty. There are many such good traits that we can learn from the west. The point is do we know what to pick up for our own good and incorporate it into our lives.
The west looks at the east for guidance on spirituality. Today Yoga is gaining popularity all over the world (under various labels) and we have people coming to India from so many different places to learn Yoga but our very own people do not value it and are looking towards the west to learn their form of yoga – Power Yoga / Kick-boxing Yoga etc. The traditional yoga is being learnt by foreigners and our people want to learn yoga from them. Students share their feedback with us how they had never been taught all of this – how to live their lives, how to take care of themselves, how to think and behave.
The point is that we should be open and willing to accept the good ways of the world. And we should not forget our basic culture – to live simply. Learn to live with the minimum, you will be a better person because of that.
I remember we had a visitor once – Panditji who had lived on dry bread and water in his early days and now is a very rich man. He said that he would not like his children to live the difficult days that he lived through. We told him that firstly do not think such thoughts. Secondly, understand that difficulties do not harm you, instead they make you stronger and a better person. Pain, struggle, hard work will always be beneficial. Providing comfort to children at all times will spoil them silly.
Because we have struggled, we now want to live in comfort. When children see their parents living in comfort, they learn the same – using private vehicles to go even short distances, living in certain hotels, eating at certain restaurants etc. Therefore simple living is advised so that kids see and learn to live accordingly. The owner of a successful business empire sent his children and grand-children to the Yoga Institute to learn simple living. Therefore we have to become creative in our existing circumstances and teach our kids values that will last them a lifetime.
Even if we are unable to live together in a joint family, we should be caring, compassionate, grateful and respectful towards our elders. Simple living and some amount of physical discomfort is necessary. Always thinking for the good of everyone is important.
Children observe very closely and they learn from what you ‘do’ and not from what you ‘say’. Hence it is extremely important to become a good role model yourself. If one has children in the house then one has to be even more careful – refrain from speaking loudly, refrain from reacting to situations / people, refrain from taking decisions by yourself etc. In some cases, families follow a ‘Guru’ and follow his word even if that may be against one’s own personal desires.
Personally I that if one does not have time for children, then one should not conceive them at all. If it’s a nuclear family and both parents are working then it is better not to bring the children into this world because then the child is being raised by strangers and may end up learning wrong habits thereby harming families and society at large.
One should think about this before conceiving. Raising a child is a full-time job and a child needs full-time attention. One may work only when the child is at school. Else, life may take a difficult turn. So please think about this.”
– Smt. Hansaji J. Yogendra