Amma’s teaching on how to look after our children “When your children indulge in mischief, explain things to them lovingly. Childhood is the foundation of life. If we don’t pay attention to our children and show them love and affection, they may go astray. Parents should remember to be especially loving towards their children when they are very young, just as you would water a tender, young plant. Once the children are grown and have found jobs, the parents should entrust them with the family responsibilities, and retire to an ashram life and do sadhana (spiritual practices) in solitude. Purify the mind through service. It is unwise to cling to your home and children until your last breath. When the children are grown up, the desire to see your grandchildren and to help with their upbringing will become strong. All living beings on earth manage to grow and survive, don’t they? They are not waiting for help. Leave your children in God’s hands. That is what loving parents should do. That is true love.”

~

“In most families today, there is both a father and a mother. With the correct understanding about family life, and about life as a whole, they can play their parts properly. The mother can try to impart in the child virtues like love, patience and forbearance, and the father can lovingly prevent the child from doing things which would do harm to society, his family and his own life. The father can teach him obedience and respect for others. In some cases, a single parent becomes both the father and mother. It is possible if one tries. In all cases, the parents are the first ones to set an example, to show their children how they want them to be. If a good example isn’t set, it is an impossible task to raise children properly. A father can also be a good mother and a mother can also be a good father. But this balance cannot be attained unless one does proper sadhana (spiritual practices).”

~

The parents are the first gurus

“The parents are the two gurus which the children see from birth until they come into contact with the world. If the seed of love is not sown at home, it cannot sprout or blossom.”

~

“Children express what is taught to them and what they have experienced while growing up. Therefore, you should be very careful and cautious for your children’s sake. Be careful about what you say. Be careful about what you do, because each word that you utter and each deed you perform creates a deep impression in your child’s mind. It goes deep into his heart because those are the first things that he sees and hears. They are the first impressions indelibly imprinted upon his or her mind.”

~

“Parents should always set an example for their children in words and deeds. They are their children’s first teachers. Remember that by fighting and arguing with each other in front of your children, you are setting a bad example and spoiling their future as well. If you cannot straighten out your own difficulties, that is your problem, but why should you create problems in your children’s lives too?”

~

“Parents should be very careful when they deal with their children. Don’t give whatever they ask. They have no discrimination. If you do not use your discrimination when you fulfil their wishes, you are leading them to destruction. When you nourish their body, don’t forget to nourish their minds by disciplining them properly. Give some physical work to your children as well. Let them sweat and toil a little every day. Otherwise, they will become lazy and good for nothing. Give them a chance to know the value of work.”

~

“The first thing parents should attend to is the character of their children. They should teach them good behaviour, and this means instructing them in spiritual matters. The parents should tell their children stories that teach moral principles, and they should train them to do japa and meditation. By doing sadhana (spiritual practices), the intelligence and memory of the child will greatly improve. They will also be well behaved. They will progress spiritually and will also be materially successful in life.

~


Teach your children love and patience

“Children will not have an opportunity to learn patience and love from anybody else if they do not learn these qualities from their parents.”

~

“Children, a mother must have great patience in bringing up her children. A mother has to put into effect the moulding of the child’s character. The child learns his first lessons of love and patience through his mother. A mother must be patient – patient like the earth.”

~

“A father is just as deeply involved in rearing the children as the mother. A father, too, must have patience.”

~


Discipline with love, not fear

“Creating fear and respect in order to teach obedience cannot be called disciplining, which is what we like to call it. True, constructive disciplining takes place when love is allowed to blossom. If love is absent, any reverence or respect will be based on fear.”

~

“The other day a family came to see Amma. They had a seven-year-old son. He was sitting on Amma’s lap, and just to make him happy and to make him talk, Amma asked him several questions: his name, what grade he was in, about his friends, the games he liked, etc. Each time he was about to answer a question, the boy would first look at his father, as if asking permission to speak. The boy would answer each question only after being given his father’s consent. When Amma asked what his name was, he immediately looked at his father. Only when his father said, ‘Tell Amma your name,’ did the boy dare say his name. The boy was afraid to speak. You cannot even call this respect — it is plain fear. If you threaten a child saying, ‘Obey, or I will punish you,’ you don’t know how much harm you are doing. The child closes up and cannot express himself. He will carry this fear within him throughout his life. He may become a wealthy man, highly educated, holding a top position in society, but the fear will still be there, deep within him, and it will make his personal life a living hell.”

~

If parents really love their children…

“Mothers will say that they love their children. In fact, do they? If they love, why are they not loving the children of the neighbouring houses? Therefore, what they really love is “mine.” Mother would say that even the birth of a child is accidental which occurred during the course of the parents’ effort to satisfy their lust and other selfish motives. If the parents really love their children, they should make their children understand and assimilate spiritual truths which would give mental strength and control in order to confront the challenges of life, instead of throwing them into this world without giving proper spiritual education and forcing them to lead the same kind of life as themselves.”

~

Your children are not your real companions

“The children whom you rear are not your real companions. Once the daughter is married, her mother’s place is second to her husband’s. For the husband as well, the wife comes first and then only his mother. All of them will get off at their respective bus stops along the road of life. Therefore, everything should be entrusted to one’s beloved deity. Your children also belong to God. What power does a servant have in the master’s house? He will be satisfied with whatever is given by the master. The master makes the decisions and asks the servant to execute them. He has no right to question. Similarly, we are the servants and God is the Master. He is the one who gives the remuneration, the fruit; so let us work sincerely and be content with what He, the Master, gives. The real Self, the essence, should be known. Children, all power belongs to God, not to us. We are puppets in His hands. If we work with the attitude of surrender, He will protect us.”

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Category : Householders / Teachings
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