Good tips for teaching children

The present society is facing increased problems of children lacking gratitude for their parents. Do you have any recommendations in teaching our children to become good and grateful people? https://dmc.tv/a3498

Dhamma Articles > Question and Answer for Life
[ Sep 17th, 2006 ] - [ read : 13483 ]
Question:
Dear venerable Luang Phaw, the present society is facing increased problems of children lacking gratitude for their parents.  Do you have any recommendations in teaching our children to become good and grateful people?
 

Answer
by Venerable Dhattajeevo Bhikku
 
The fact that the current children are not grateful to their parents and elders is due to these two points.

1. They cannot recognize the kindness of their parents.

 2. Once they recognize it, they don’t know the appropriate ways to express their gratitude.

Parents are important to their children in three ways.

1.  They gave us life.  When they were pregnant with us, they could have decided to end the pregnancy through various methods of abortion that are currently being performed. I don’t need to expand on this. Our parents chose to give us life and allowed us to open our eyes to this world.  The first act of kindness is in  giving us life to see the world.

2.  They gave us the genetic makeup necessary for us to be born a human being.  This perfect physical form enables us to do good deeds that other animal forms cannot.

3.  Once we were brought into this world, they taught us to be complete humans by teaching us to be aware of virtue, evil, right and wrong, and merit and demerit.  They were our models.

Well some of us lost our father before we were born, and have never seen him at all.  Even if that was the case, we are still indebted to him. How? They gave us life, otherwise we couldn’t have been born.  They gave us the blueprint that allowed us to be born human.  Giving us these two features is immeasurable.  But people these days are unable to recognize these acts of kindness.  They pay attention and give importance only to trivial things.  They’ve given us wealth, inheritance, an education, etc., but these secondary things.  The important thing is the fact that they gave us life and the human physical form. This is what we have to remember. Also, they gave us virtuous minds. These are the precious gifts that they bestowed upon us.

 So what can we do to make our children understand about gratitude and want to repay this kindness?  It is necessary to have a prototype for this behavior.  Earlier I mentioned that we received the prototype for this human form, but what does the prototype for behavior look like?  This requires parents to actually perform acts of kindness to their grandparents and other relatives so that their children can witness this.  Start teaching your children these practices when they are at a young age.  Once the children know how to do this, the parents need to take them to  pay respect to their grandparents, if they live at a different place.  If they live in the same house, have your children bow to their grandparents, at their feet, properly before doing the same to the parents before going to bed.

That is still not enough.  If your parents live with you, remind yourself each morning to do what your parents did for you when they fed you milk and food before they fed themselves.  Now that we are adults we need to treat them in the same manner.  Before having breakfast, we should bring the food to our parents because they are the arahants of our family.  This also includes our other elders.  Show your children how we treat our parents when, they are still very young, so that they can see it.

When the children are a little older, bring food to your grandparents. This is a practice.  In addition to teaching them we need to show them what to do.  Then urge them until they know how to do it.  If we did it this way, why would our children not have gratitude for their parents.  It is a problem because most of the present families are small, and parents and  children live in different places.  Sometimes our parents live in one province and we live in another, or sometimes we have to work in the city.  Then we start a new family in the city where our children are born, so they never see how we treat our parents.  Therefore, they have no clue about what to do.

In this case, if our neighbors’ families members are close in age to our parents, or if they have grandparents in their families, take your children over to see how they treat their grandparents.  Since our Thai society considers our friends’ parents and grandparents, like our own, we should take care of them as if they were our very own parents or grandparents. When you have a chance,  bring your little children with you too so that they will know their duties.  This will let them know how to treat us when we are old.

So, for certain, when we have a chance, we should bring our children with us to visit their real grandparents and elders, and we have to take the best care of our parents so that our children can witness it.  Beyond that, if it’s possible we should invite our parents to stay overnight with us and treat them the best that we can and make our children help their grandparents too.

If done in this manner, we will be able to exhibit the goodness, virtue, precepts and gratitude from one generation to next through this simple method.  Let’s start doing it today.  Whichever way we want our children to treat us, we have to perform it first properly with our parents.  Then we will not be disappointed.


http://goo.gl/PhBfk


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