It is said that parenting is the most important role in life, as well as the one for which there is the least amount of preparation! It is only natural to wonder how to be a good parent, to seek parenting advice, or to inquire into how to discipline children. Parenting teenagers requires the strongest parenting skills - and an almost endless supply of parenting tips..
In the book "Generation Gap", Gnani Purush (embodiment of Self knowledge) Dada Bhagwan offers one of the most unique and best parenting books among the myriad of spiritual books available.
Dadashri offers spiritual behavior modification techniques in support of good parenting and living for love in one's family relationships.
For anyone facing child behavior problems, undertaking teen parenting, or simply seeking a positive parenting program, this book will prove an invaluable resource.
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PARENTS AND CHILDREN
Questioner : Here, living in America we have money but we are lacking in moral values. What should we do when we have to live in such an environment?
Dadashri : Parents themselves should develop moral values that result in a loving family environment. The love from parents should be such that their children would not want to leave them. If you want to improve your child, the responsibility lies with you. You are bound by your duty to your child.
Parents should instill the highest moral values in their children. Many parents in USA have complained to me about their children eating meat and indulging in other unacceptable activities. I asked the parents whether they themselves indulged in similar activities and they told me that they did. I told them that children would always imitate the moral values of their parents. And sometimes the children may behave differently outside of the home also. But your duty as parents should be to instill good values in them and you must not fail in this.
You have to be careful and make sure that they do not eat non-vegetarian food. If you are eating non-vegetarian food, then after receiving this Gnan you should stop. (Gnan is the process by which Pujya Dadashri imparts to the aspirant the knowledge of the Self and separates the non-self from the Self). Children will follow your conduct.
Questioner : When these children grow up, how are we to instill our religious values in them?
Dadashri : Children will learn whatever they see in you. So if you become religious, they will too. They learn from watching you. If you smoke, they will do the same. If you drink alcohol or eat meat, they will too. Whatever you do, they will imitate. They want to imitate and even go beyond their parents' deeds.
Questioner : Will they not receive good moral values if we place them in a good school?
Dadashri : Children will only receive good values from their parents. They may receive some from their teachers; friends, peers and other people around them but the major part will come from the parents. Only when the parents are morally upright do their children also become morally upright.
Questioner : If we send our children away to India for schooling, are we not forgoing our responsibilities?
Dadashri : No, you are not forgoing them. You can provide all the financial support needed. There are some excellent schools in India where even people of India send their children.These schools also provide good quality boarding and accommodation.
Questioner : Dada, please give us your blessings so that we may lead a peaceful and a happy family life.
Dadashri : Your children will become good and virtuous by observing you. Children's behavior has degenerated through observing their parents' behavior. Parents behave inappropriately in the presence of their children. They often make suggestive gestures in front of them, so naturally the children become spoilt. What kind of impression will the children receive? There should be some restraint in your behavior. Just observe the effect fire has on a child. Even the child respects the boundaries of a fire.
Nowadays, the minds of parents have become fractured and restless and their speech has become careless and hurtful, which is why the children have become bad. Even a husband and wife use hurtful language towards each other. What is the role of a good parent? They should mould their child in such a way that by the age of fifteen, all the good moral values are instilled in them.
Questioner : Nowadays the moral standard is declining. That is where the problem lies.
Dadashri : No, it is not declining; it is practically gone. But now that you have met a Gnani Purush, the fundamental moral values and virtues of good human behavior will return in your life. Every young adult has the potential power to help the entire world. He just needs the right guidance and support. Without such guidance the youth has turned selfish and has a very self-centered view of life. They will prey on others for their own worldly comfort and happiness. He who renounces his own happiness can make others happy.
There was a wealthy businessman who was preoccupied with making money so I asked him, 'Seth you are so busy making money, do you realize that your household is in ruin? Your daughters and sons are running around and so is your wife. You have been robbed from all directions.' He then asked me, 'What should I do?' I told him, 'you have to understand and know how to live life. Don't make money your only pursuit in life. Take care of your health otherwise you will have a heart attack. Be attentive to your health, your money, to a moral upbringing of your daughters; you have to clean all the corners of your home. If you keep cleaning only one corner in the house, what about all the dirt and dust that collects in other corners? You have to clean all the corners.' How can you live life this way? So maintain good interaction with your children. Instill good moral values in them. If you have to suffer in the process it is fine, but give them good moral values.
Questioner : We make every effort to improve them, but even then if they do not improve, should we as parents leave it to fate or destiny?
Dadashri : You make these efforts in your own way, but do you have a certificate to prove that your efforts are correct?
Questioner : Our efforts are based on our understanding and intellect.
Dadashri : I will give you an example of what your intellect is like: What kind of justice prevails when a person himself is the judge, the lawyer and the defendant? Your intellect will always be on your side, even if you are wrong.
Do not abandon them to fate, ever. Take care of them and keep an eye on them. If you abandon them, there will be no hope for them. Children bring with them their personalities at birth, but you have to help and nurture them so that they flourish.
Questioner : Yes we do all that but ultimately, should we just leave them to their fate?
Dadashri : No, you cannot leave them like that and if it comes to that then bring them to me and I will bless them and help them. You cannot just let go of them. It is too dangerous.