I have been an avid reader of Sangeetha Sriram's fascinating blog on conscious parenting . I posted a question in her blog recently. I was so enthralled by her answer that I felt strongly to share it with the readers of my blog.
Venky: A question came into my mind while I was watching one day few kids playing with their mother in the train. The kid in his playful mirth was enjoying the sights of the train. His mother was feeding him some rice packed in a small box. The kid picked some rice and started rubbing them in the mother's skin. The mother immediately rebuked saying, "Aren't you a good boy?"
As I heard this line, I began to wonder, isn't this how we were brought up. Defining the world in terms of good and bad until we grow up and evolve and see that there is nothing good or bad and these polarities are indeed causing a lot of trouble in the world. So my question to you is: How do we ensure that kids' minds aren't conditioned in these polarities? Have you faced such situation before? How did you handle it?
Sangeetha Sriram:I'd tell the child 'I don't feel good when you do that to me!' and violation of someone else's space / peace is a bad act. That does not make the person bad. And it is possible (and necessary) to give children feedback about what they are doing: what was ok and what wasn't. And also ask them (when they are calm) how they felt about and what they thought about what they did. To help them get in touch with it without judgment. Read what 'The Mother' said about this here.
I think what is causing trouble in this world is developing aversion to the 'bad' and attachment to the 'good'. i.e. when our 'psychological thought' uses them. it is possible to use good-bad in a state of equanimity, good meaning 'that which allows the flow of life' and bad meaning 'that which obstructs the flow of life. A related post here!
A beautiful excerpt from the book "How to grow up a child?" by "The Mother"(reprinted from her blog)
There is a quality that must be cultivated in a child from a very young age: that is the feeling of uneasiness, of a moral disturbance which it feels when it has done certain things, not because it has been told not to do them, not because it fears punishment, but spontaneously. For example, a child who hurts his comrade through mischief, if it is in a normal, natural state, will experience uneasiness, a grief deep in its being, because what it has done is contrary to its inner truth.
For in spite of all teachings, in spite of all that thought can think, there is something in the depths which has a feeling of a perfection, a greatness, a truth, and is painfully contradicted by all the movements opposing this truth. If a child has not been spoilt by its milieu, by deplorable examples around it, that is, if it is in the normal state, spontaneously, without its being told anything, it will feel an uneasiness when it has done something against the truth of its being. And it is exactly upon this that later its effort for progress must be founded.
Read more of Sri Aurobindo's and The Mother's writings on conscious parenting here.