Children and spirituality

Children have no sense of judgement. They feel that whatever their parents do is always best. Children are often exact prototypes of their parents. It is true, to a certain extent, that if the parents don’t tell lies, the children don’t tell lies. The parents don’t have to say, “Don’t tell a lie,” because the children don’t know anything else but truthfulness. If the parents like something, immediately the children like it. If the parents have some good friends, saintly friends, the children immediately become friends with them. Children always, in the beginning, try to imitate their parents. Imitation is really good, and the parents should always behave extremely well in front of their children. If the parents misbehave, the children will be totally ruined. If the parents tell a lie or do anything wrong, then the children will follow their parents’ radiant example in their own life.

Early in the morning, if you get up and pray with folded hands, for a few days your child will remain fast asleep while you are meditating. But on the third day, a sweet sense of competition will come into him. If his father can meditate, what is wrong with his doing it? And then the child will sit beside you and meditate. The best example is the parents’ own life. The parents’ life is the child’s ideal. When the child grows up, then he may have different goals. But in the beginning, the parents should always encourage their children to pray and meditate if they have accepted a spiritual path. They should always encourage their children to be like them.

Anything you feel is nourishing, you give to the child. If the child does not want milk, you will say, “You must drink.” But when it is a matter of spirituality, many parents think, “Who knows, one day the children may not like our path, so it is best not to make them pray and meditate. When they are fifteen, let them make their own choice and become Guru’s disciple or someone else’s disciple.” This is no good. When the children are growing up, if you don’t give them milk, they will die before they become old enough to make the selection themselves. In the spiritual life also, children will die spiritually if you don’t give them inner nourishment. You are not injecting anything into them, only you are giving them food. They may not like that particular food, but they have to eat or they will die. In spirituality also, what you feel best for your child you should give him in the beginning. Then, when he grows up, that very thing he can continue if he likes. Otherwise, he may give it up and follow some other path or he may not follow spirituality at all.