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The Yogi Character in Child raising

Raising a child is about the best opportunity made available to us by the Universe to look into ourselves and our subconscious patterns, our thought patterns and our behavior patterns that we have imbibed although not our fault. Bringing up a child and interacting with his instinctive behavior without being able to explain anything to him can be a daunting task and I must say that most of us fail at it rather despairingly. When we are required to take on a child and the child’s logic how many us can stop our minds for a moment and try to grasp what is behind the child’s thinking and demeanor and follow it up with controlled non-aggressive understanding responses?

I cannot relate in words the pleasure it gave me when teaching my child to ride a cycle, swim and roller-skate. The attention, the focus and the patience I had to exercise. The need for me to forget myself and focus on the need of the child in terms of time, attention and pace. If done with sincerity, this is what the yogic character is all about.

I delight in my child. The smile on her face transposes me to ecstatic heights. I am her friend and assistant. She recompenses me with kisses and embraces and of course with cries of Papa whenever the world is not going her way.

I just love it. Whatever this word means in today’s world.

 I had a very pleasant experience the other day. A neighbor stopped me in the park and complimented me on the time and effort I was putting in the raising of the child and said that it was visibly paying off because it was there for all to see how smart the kid was shaping up.

Cuddles and the security of your presence are more important than all the wealth of this world.

When I see her romping all around us, supremely happy with her condition and smiles at me, tears of contentment well-up in my eyes.

Letting the child play is the first lesson in raising a well-balanced and rounded personality of the child.

A very important point is that everything is play to them. Whatever they will see us do they will want to do both at home and in the playground. This is one reason I did not agree to have nannies or servants bring up my child. I tried for a few days when fatigue was overtaking me sleep deprivation was seriously affecting my health but within four days we found that the child had become silent and the eyes had lost the sparkle. Then we observed closely how the servant maid was behaving with her. Not only that we also observed how the other children in the park were being chaperoned by their maids.

It was the same story with all of them. They would take so much care of them and protect them so much that they would keep the child in their arms and refuse to let it get into any activity lest it get hurt or dirty the clothes. I asked one of them why they were denying the child the freedom to play and explore and they said quite logically that they would be blamed if anything happened to the child. They could not risk their own job as no one is going to listen to their side of the story in case of a mishap so they had no choice but to be careful and play safe.

The result was a constant barrage of “You will fall down” – “you will hurt yourself” – “I said NO” – “Come here, play with this ball” – from what I could see there was a focus on disaster as if we were inviting it. And what were the children learning from it? The way I see it they were instilling fear in every word an action as they would simply not let the child do anything for himself. If he wanted to climb on the slide they would pick him up and do it for him. If he ran they would hold him lest he fall; and many other idiotic reactions that I could never agree to.

Then there is the possessive attitude that we end up inculcating in children. I could hear parents and/or their maids constantly warning the children NOT to play with the toys of other children with sentences like “This is not yours. Give it back” – “Play with your toys” – “Don’t cry, we will buy you another one” and often comments like “You have all the toys of similar kind at home” as if trying to tell everyone around there that they were not beggars. The parents should not feel ashamed for the actions of the child and simply laugh it off when he does something that we in the adult world would consider improper.

I wonder why these parents with no time for their kids ever have them. Seems they have children more out of tradition than love for a child. Or is it an accident that happened. I talked to many of them and they all replied that they were not really aware what child bearing would entail and one of them was candid enough to say that she was just raising them up as a responsibility thrust on her and did consider them a nuisance although with time she learnt to love them and be attached to them but as I could see it was more as an extension of herself. They knew fully well that all their capers would result in a child but never expected that it would be downright slavery to the little imp.

I would advise to all would-be parents to think well before having a child. Because once you have one, you are on the burner and if this does not appeal to you, don’t have one. What has the child done to you to merit a fate of neglect?

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Pradeep Maheshwari