Connecting Devotees Worldwide - In Service Of Srila Prabhupada
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"Chase Life, Create Joy", "Life Isn't About Finding Yourself, But Is All About Creating Yourself", "Live Life Without Limits", "Eat, Drink, And Be Merry.....
These are among the zillions of notion that the present world urges us to follow. At present, virtue is considered vice and vice as virtue, or in simple words "Bad is the new Good". Undoubtedly, every individual are influenced by such glamour and show bottles and young children are the immediate victim. In such a scenario, it is important that the growing youngsters are kept on the right track.
Young children are like sponges. They soak up Krishna consciousness and there is practically no need to expose them to anything but Krishna consciousness. Children should be protected from worldly pleasure by cultivating a joyous Krishna conscious atmosphere in the house so that the children are completely satisfied and their creative abilities are properly channelised.
Do The Necessities
Every living being is a child of Krishna and has an independent free will. One cannot force one’s child to serve Krishna. But certainly one can do the necessities. The first and the foremost being as perfect an example as possible in one’s own life. Research shows that children are extremely observant. They observe the manner in which their parents conduct themselves. Parents must preach to their children and do everything in their power to attract them to Krishna. The children will take the parents instructions seriously to the degree that they see them seriously following the principles of Krishna consciousness in their own life.
Secondly, the parents must give sufficient affection and time to the children otherwise there might be some feeling so emptiness in them even in a Krishna Consciousness environment. Srila Prabhupad writes in his letter to Arundhati, "Child-worship is more important than Deity-worship. If you cannot spend time with your child, then stop the duties of pujari. These children are given to us by Krishna. They are Vaishnavas and we must be very careful to protect them. These are not ordinary children, they are Vaikuntha children, and we are very fortunate we can give them chance to advance further in Krishna Consciousness that is great responsibility, do not neglect or be confused."
Parents should not subject their children to excessive academic pressure. Every child has God given intelligence and ability. The parents should constantly endeavour to create the right conditions for a child’s physical, intellectual and spiritual progress and make sincere efforts to inculcate good values in life.
Parents should not humiliate the kids and compare them with others. It is a general tendency of every child to be considered better than others. So it would yield better result if the children are complemented for their every endeavour instead of odious comparison.
It will be a great asset if the children get attached to friends who are devotees. The parents should try to place them in an environment by which they can closely associate with devotees and become pure devotees of the Lord. This can be done by holding Krishna Conscious gatherings at home, celebrating festivals like Janmastami or carrying the children along with the parents to spiritual feasts. In such get-to-gatherings, the get great spiritual taste and leave deep samskaras in children’s mind.
With love and affection children can be trained to rise early. They can develop quality of determination. If the children get up early then they can be trained to chant, recite slokas etc.
Just as clay is easy to mould when it's soft, so are the children when they are young and tender. Parents must try to sow the seed of Krishna Consciousness in their young kids soon after their birth. Parents should try to engage their growing kids in activities like sravanam, kirtanam, etc. Also parents must make some provison so that the kids always get to hear spiritual vibration. They can do so by carrying out kirtans regularly and constantly playing some spiritual recordings.
As the children grows up and learns to read and write, parents must give them spiritual books to read and make it a regular habit.
As much as possible, parents must avoid food other than Prasadam for the kids; as such they will develop sattvic qualities and will be spiritually inclined.
While we can use everything in Krishna’s service, we should be careful that technology does not distract our Krishna Consciousness. Turn off mobile phones during Arotik and kirtana performed at home /temple and while honouring prasadam. Use internet only when needed in work or in Krishna’s service. Avoid T.V. altogether, if not practical, use it wisely and train children to watch T.V. in a responsible way.
Check Your Own Track
It is advised that before we become eligible to guide others to the right direction, we ourselves should know and follow the right path. If the parents do not have time for their own sadhana, do not have time to attend satsangs and associate with devotees, they will not be able to inculcate a high quality Krishna consciousness in their child.
Parents should not fight or argue in the presence of the child and also not criticise other devotees. As mentioned already every child has a natural instinct for admiring his\her parents and often a child regards parents as role models. Therefore, one should not have arguments in the first place and most certainly not in the presence of the child.
The family should develop deep attachment to Krishna’s devotees, especially, advanced devotees, keeping in mind that devotees’ mercy is an essential element in advancing in Krishna Consciousness. This could be accomplished, as mentioned above, by inviting sadhus and advanced vaishnavas home for prasad, organizing satsangs etc.
As far as is practical, grihasthas should follow the standards of Vedic culture. Even if all the culture is not there, there should be peace and Krishna consciousness which will please Guru and Krishna.
Samskar means “purificatory rite.” Garbhadan samskara: Purification of a human being starts even before his birth and this samskara is called Garbhadan samskar. Intelligent, pious and God-conscious children are born by the strength of performance of Garbhadan samskara. Srila Prabhupada has said that before performing this samskara, the husband and wife should each chant 50 rounds of Hare Krishna Maha mantra and throughout the day, engage in various devotional services, like reading and hearing. This will help purify their consciousness.
The Concluding Words
Parents should orient their children in the right direction and place them in a proper environment by which they become pure devotees of the Lord. However, it must be realized that as a child gets older and reaches his mid-teenage, he may develop a sense of independence and will want to do things according to his own whims. As mentioned already, parents can't really force kids toward Krishna Consciousness. The parents have to use their intelligence and assess whether by enforcing discipline the child is coming closer to Krishna or going away from Krishna. If the children are fixed on materialistic association, the best thing the parents can do is through their words and example, point out to their children what is best for them and what will be the consequences of their going astray. Parents, can also, try making the environment Krishna Consciousness in a very pleasant and attractive way and can substitute the materialistic interest of the child with spiritual ones. For instance, if the child like music, the parents can substitute it with bhajans etc. Anyway even after all such endeavours if the children are still mislead, the only choice the parents are left with is just pray to Krishna sincerely so that they follow the right track and realize that Krishna Consciousness is the matchless gift. Haribol!