Parenting and Child Rearing – Are We Creating Morons or Mental Patients?
It is very difficult for working parents to manage their children along with their job. A lot of readers write to me seeking advice, suggestions, and opinion about parenting and child-rearing. I am not an expert in parenting. But I can share what I have learned from my mistakes and others’ experiences.
The complaint list of parents is pretty long. Some parents even talk about psychological disorders in their children – depression and bipolar disorder, anxiety, suicidal tendency, eating disorder, addiction – substance addiction, autism, conduct disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, learning disorders, and initial stages of Schizophrenia.
“What are your children learning during childhood?” I asked one of them.
She mentioned some nursery rhymes. All those nursery rhymes have negative connotations!!!
– Humpty, Dumpty had a great fall.
– London Bridge is falling down.
– Jack and Jill went up the hill (eventually Jack broke his crown and Jill came tumbling after …)
– Twinkle twinkle little star – a goal where you can NEVER reach…
From the very childhood, everything here seems to promote pretty negative connotations, with things falling down and getting hurt.
“You are teaching kind of scary things. Why are you teaching your young toddlers about such negative things? Don’t you know how this will impact them when they grow up?” I asked.
Yes, you can substantiate the teaching of those rhymes by pointing your finger at children of Western countries. “There are no such problems among those kids,” you would say. I don’t know but I suggest you learn a bit about DNA, genetics, symbiosis, surroundings, etc., and then compare.
As I said, I can share my experience, my mistakes, and what I have learned from our ancestors. (Website: ” udaypai.in “)
The child should learn culture, morality, and life from their own home and parents and not from people who make their living out of exploitation – like those priests. Most parents fall into such a trap.
“We send them to Sunday Church moral classes too…” said one parent.
“Udayji, we take our children to temple every day and perform all rituals…” Another parent.
“Our Imam advises them how to live according to God’s commandments…” yet another one.
“Uday sir, our Guru takes special classes for children in the Ashram…”
Beliefs are good when you are grown up – it provides a shield from stress for many. Some of those beliefs will definitely have a placebo effect on you.
The belief and superstitions instilled in childhood would create mental conflicts in them when they grow up. It could be dangerous too. The conflicts create insecurity and fear in the subconscious of the child (That’s exactly what every priesthood needs!).
Once I heard a father telling his daughter that God will punish her if she is not obeying him.
“Who is God?” the child asked.
How will you answer this question? You will explain all those religious beliefs and superstitions that you had learned from the wrong sources. Or, you probably may not know how to explain God scientifically. Later, when children learn science they will come to know that there is no such thing as a personal God. This will create a great conflict in them – internally or at a subconscious level. Any conflict in mind will lead to stress.
Recently I heard one of my friends tell his son: “The entire universe and we are all created by God”
The son asked: “Dad, who created God then?”
I couldn’t help laughing aloud. My friend gave an angry look at me and his son.
“Answer him. I also want to hear the answer,” I said.
“God has just sprung out from nothing…”
“In that case why universe can’t spring out from nothing on its own? Why should there be a God to create it?” I asked.
How can you teach your child such irrational things? Can’t blame you though. I have seen even superstitious scientists! Educated people may have more superstitions.
My mother was a primary school teacher. Her qualification was just the tenth standard plus a 2-years of the teacher training course (TTC). She had advised me: “Uday, don’t believe in something that science cannot explain.”
Even if we were living on a shoestring budget, she used to buy magazines and books to develop a scientific temperament in me. Science helped me to develop healthy disrespect towards all scriptures and holy books when I began reading those.
Meanwhile, my mother also told me to follow all our rich traditions and rituals. Yes, but only if that can be explained rationally and logically. I worship Gods that I can explain using science, logic, and rationale.
Even during my Brahmopadesha (Upanayanam), I asked our family priest to explain it to me. My luck – the then priest explained everything to me before I got into the mandap. After that, I have learned the importance of Shodasa samskaras (sixteen rituals) in our tradition.
If you cannot explain the ritual, tradition, ceremony, etc. with rationale and logic based upon applied science, please don’t ask children to follow it. Our tradition is based upon love, compassion, sympathy, equality, co-existence, etc. If you don’t teach your children the science of Dharma, you are making them selfish and self-centered from childhood itself. Later, there is no point in blaming them for the setback.
“Udayji, we are treading on unsure ground. You know the rapid advancement in technologies and devices made our lifestyle very dynamic. The gap between parent and child is widening. In this situation, how can we ask our children to learn those ancient and pre-historic things?”
“Uday sir, we do not know much about the science of Sanatan Dharma. And we don’t have time to learn it now. So, what’s the way out?”
“Even our own Gurus and priests do not know how to explain things logically according to modern science, Udaymam. It is very difficult to understand…”
“Uday, the way you explained the concept of Vishnu, Shiva, and Brahma can stun any hardcore atheist. But everybody cannot do it.”
I reply to them: “I know. If you do not know Sanskrit, there is no point in reading Vedic scriptures as most of the translations are adultered with intentions. So, for ordinary people like us, our ancestors developed Puranic stories. Puranas can be called ‘Vedic literature for Dummies’. It is very simple too…” I said.
There was a tradition in most of our families that had a story-telling tradition. Grandparents would tell puranic stories that helped children to develop their brains in the right direction and grow up with powerful neuro-linguistic ability and outstanding brilliance.
(Remember, Indians were considered as the world’s topmost in software programming and mathematics till the late 90s when the floodgate of market-media killed Indian brain).
The strength of our civilization was inquiry (seeking truth) and openness. It wanted every child to learn for himself/herself. Unfortunately, we are now converting our children to blind believers by following the guidelines of priest-controlled religions.
A BELIEVER CAN NEVER BE A TRUTH SEEKER. HE/SHE WILL BE CONDITIONED WITH BELIEFS AND NEVER CAN SEE THE TRUTH. So, let’s develop the seeker in every child.
You are already blind with beliefs and superstitions and you know very much how much stress and tension you are facing in your life – do you want your child to inherit that complex situation with compounded interest?
Teach them puranic stories as stories. Teach them Panchathantra, Kathasaritsagaram, Puranas, Ithihas (history like Mahabharata and Ramayana). There are millions of stories to develop their brain in the right way.
Meanwhile, as a parent, let’s try to learn Dharma Sastra. It’s not tough – those scriptures are available in many resources. The Dharma Sastras explain clearly how to conceive and give birth to a child and bring it up and how the entire process is taken as naturally as it treats the highest thoughts of philosophy.
“Okay, but Uday, what will our child learn from our Sanskrit or tradition?”
“Your children will have a reverence toward and desire to protect the environment, tolerance towards others considering the whole world as one family. They will solve conflicts through non-violent means. They will understand the power of non-violence and a Sattvik diet and lifestyle. They will understand Dharma as a cosmic system of divine justice. They will want to practice yoga and Dhyana for a healthy lifestyle. And most importantly, they would personally want to experience divinity.”
Let them choose any religion when they reach maturity. It is high time that, similar to the voting right in India, practicing religion should be made strictly based upon age. Let them choose a religion at the age of 18 or let them be atheists. Till then, let them follow only the science of Dharma.
Make a Chatrapati Shivaji or Rani of Jhansi or Abdul Kalam out of your child – brave, strong, and compassionate. Let’s don’t make a terrorist or a mental patient like Osama or Qureshi by injecting blind beliefs, superstitions, and hatred from childhood. (Sources: My books: Why Am I a Hindu? The God Illusion, Mantras, and Rituals and The Secret of Krishna)
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