Instilling a Love of Meditation in Our Children

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Meditation for Peace
Instilling a Love of Meditation in Our Children
Meditation is the most effective way to train the mind to focus.
Meditation is the most effective way to train the mind to focus.
Meditation is the most effective way to train the mind to focus. The practice helps to strengthen the mind so that it will not be easily diverted. Children who have been well taught in ethics, but lack training in meditation, are still susceptible to temptations because they lack that extra fortification.
Parents should start to inspire their children to love to meditate from a very young age. When their minds are focused, they will be able to absorb guidance readily. The ethics instilled in them by the parents will flourish and they will be able to deal with uncertainties with clarity.
Yet there are a number of parents who believe that children should be left free to think and that training them to meditate when they are two or three years old is too restrictive. In this regard, there is an explanation by a senior monk on what effect meditation has on young children:
“First of all, let me ask you this; is there anybody in this world who does not want to be a good person? No, there is none. Even a robber wants to be good, but unfortunately, he thinks that robbing is a good thing. A person has to comprehend the difference between what is good and what is bad. Without this notion, society will be in chaos.
“All parents want their children to grow up to be good people, but leaving them to their own devices, hoping that they will naturally grow up to be good, is not the right way, Parents will have to set good examples while teaching them, for instance, using polite speech, showing humility, and training them to bow at the feet of their parents and grandparents.
Parents should start to inspire their children to love to meditate from a very young age.
Parents should start to inspire their children to love to meditate from a very young age.
“Initially the children may not understand the reasons they have to be respectful, but at least they are being shown good manners. And when they are old enough to understand, we should explain to them why they should be respectful to parents, grandparents, and teachers. If we do not teach them to bow at their parents’ feet while they are young, they will most likely not do it when they are older. They may know that it is a good thing to do, but they will be too embarrassed to do it. Some adults who have never been taught to bow at their parents’ feet will feel every uncomfortable to do it, and even the parents are too embarrassed to be bowed to, just because they are not used to it.
“Bowing is a sign of respect, which means that we are aware of the goodness of the persons we bow to. And it has to be deep respect, so much so that we just cannot stay idle without showing our respect for those persons. Recognizing the goodness of those persons, the next thing to do is to observe and imitate them.
“If we have never been trained to bow since we are young, we will grow up with large egos. Some snobbish people can’t even recognize virtue in others.
”These days we can see that lots of people possess this negative attitude, always searching for defects in other people, the students at the teachers, and vice versa, the supervisors at the subordinates, and colleagues amongst each other. The sense of community and harmony deteriorates. The only way to reverse this trend is to teach respect and to see virtues in others.
“Therefore, if we want our children to grow up to be good citizens, the process should start very early. As soon as they learn to talk, they should be taught to say only nice words. Bring them to the temple, and let them learn to meditate by visualizing the Buddha image. When they grow up, we can be sure that our children, when facing problems, will stay cool, calm and collected.
“Can meditation really change a human being? When we open our eyes, we see other people, but not ourselves. If we want to see ourselves, we have to close our eyes.
“If we know how to meditate, and are able to still our minds, we will know what is right or wrong. Instead of wasting time criticizing others, we will scrutinize ourselves and try to improve our own deficiencies and consequently improve our lives overall.”
The teaching of the senior monk endorses the notion that teaching children to meditate from the time they are young will enable them to focus and train their minds. They will not waver in face of temptations, but stand firm on the strong foundation of morals due to the guidance that they received from their parents.
During this coming summer vacation, introduce your children to meditation by joining the summer Dhamma camps offered by several temples. A strong moral beginning as children will benefit them all their lives.


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