By Chinta Mani Yogi, founder - Shanti Sewa Ashram, Nepal
Cultivating Values in Children
by Chinta Mani Yogi, founder - Shanti Sewa Ashram, Nepal
Our dream is children. Dedication of our whole life is for the children. Every parent wants to see their children happy, healthy and prosperous. Even animals are dedicated for their children. Itís the system and ideal of a nice family. We get love, blessing, care and nurture from our parents and then we give same service to our children again without any condition. Children are strength not only for a family but for a whole society; not a hope for only parents but for entire humanity. Children are not only our future but our present too. Children are not only a duty but a beauty too. In short, no children, no family and then no society and no world!!!
But loosing family system is a great loss of this modern society. We think we reached at top; but we lost our roots. We think we have achieved a lot but forgot to be with our own family and with ourselves. We think we have now enormous progress but by losing our own peacefulness. We think we are now connected with the whole world, but we have lost the relationship with our own family. What a pity!!!
I remember, our father, Buwa, taught us "Gyan Yoga" the path of wisdom, though he was uneducated; but was raised and trained by the mother nature, the university of nature, itself. He taught us, at a very early age, every single thing which made a strong foundation of our life as a human being. When we were very young sharing food was a common practice, not only with family but with whole village. Celebrating festival was a time of deeper understanding and sharing and celebrating. Similarly, our mother, Aama, taught us the "Bhakti Yoga" the path of devotion or the path of unconditional love. Working with her in the field was not only for better production but was a time of great learning to understand the whole nature and being communed with nature. Singing or chanting while working was not only reducing our emotion or stress but was a best practice to harmonize ourselves with family, community and nature. I still feel that our mother did not feed us only a food but a "Prasad" (holy food as a blessing of God) which transformed our entire life.
But now the world is changed; everyone is running here very fast but Where? that they don't know. Running is now like a habit but Why? Where? and How long? That we don't want to know, or we have forgotten. As we have forgotten to be with ourselves so then how could we be with our family? So now there are some burning issues which every family is facing now. No matter, the east or west, our children are heading towards a dark future where they may have everything but no peace, no joy, no hope, no faith and no childish-ness! In this so called modern age--
- Devices have divided our childrenís life.
- Artificial intelligence have destroyed their emotional and spiritual intelligence.
- The life is disconnected from the roots but only with digitals.
- Right relationship is with soil and soul is forgotten.
- The mind and body have become very giant but not gentle.
- The mind is shouting but the heart is crying.
- Rights are followed but Duty is forgotten.
- The understanding of What I Want? and What I Need? seems now lost.
Seems that now the purpose of education is not for a well-being but for a well living or high living only. Gandhi said, "Simple living, high thinkingĒ but now the children want "High living and high thinking". Not only that, we have seen now "High living but very simple thinking" also. Actually, itís a terrible degradation. We are heading towards a narrow path where we will have all prosperity but no heart to feel anything. Imagine for a while; where we will have everything for living but no any spirit of life!!! Therefore, few questions must be addressed on time. What do we hope, actually, for our children?
- Making them Great or Grateful?
- Making them Successful or Peaceful?
- Making them to be Smart or Sincere?
- Making them Competitive or Cooperative?
- Making them Independent or Inter- dependent?
Well, let me share something, what we are trying to do here in Nepal? We have not achieved yet anything very special, but we have a dream beyond any borders and we have dedication with purest intention. Despite many problems and lack of resources also, we have continued our journey of Selfless Service for last more than 3 decades as it gives us purity of mind and combined us with everyone and every being.
-- we have 3 HVP schools which are based on Human Values and follow the principles of holistic approach of education; these schools provide modern education but with high focus on human values, ethics, culture and spiritual wisdom.
-- we have an organization called- 'Children's Peace Home' in Dang, a small village of western part of Nepal; it's a sort of orphanage to provide holistic education with life skill training and vocational training.
-- likewise, we have 'Children's Study Club; too in Kathmandu; it provides education with holistic care to underprivileged children.
-- we have an organization called - Youth Society for Peace -too; established by the youths which works in different schools/colleges to form ''Peace Clubs''. And we try to empower youths by sharing true spirit of service in their life!!!
-- and similarly, we have 'Peace Service Center' (Shanti Sewa Ashram) in Kathmandu; it's our biggest project of integrated service for disadvantaged children, young girls, women, senior citizens and marginalized community.
I am happy to state that i have been in the field of selfless service, the path of Karma yoga, for last nearly 35 years; started my journey of Sewa at the age of 21 as a founding principal of HVP school and now we have around 10 organizations working in different areas to serve community and humanity.
In my opinion, no one should give any pressure to children for obtaining only high marks but high morals. Also, no one should give pressure to be the Best but only Better. We should tell our children that just becoming a doctor, engineer, IT expert or any high paid job is not enough now but itís the time our children should know from the very beginning tható
- How happy I am?
- How positive I am?
- How well behaved I am?
- How visionary I am?
- How faithful I am?
Humanity should be the central point of our every teaching or curricular of our schools; and in temples, churches, mosques etc. too. And I think spirituality helps us to understand humanity. We have created doctors, engineers, experts and so on but still not a Whole Human!!! What a terrible paradox!!! Our intelligence has become now artificial, so we are also becoming artificial day by day. But now the time has come or its already late, we all should go further--
- Religion to Realization.
- Ritual to Spiritual.
- Dualism to Non- dualism.
- Knowing to Being.
- Emotion to Devotion.
Scriptures are good but still the question is- number of attendees is increasing in every church, temple, mosque etc. but the part of transformation is still neglected. People are following the crowd from the childhood but not questioning themselves- Who Am I???
Sometimes I feel that in the name of educating our children we are destroying their life, their future. We try to make them a doctor or engineer but Why? We force them to be a Christian, Buddhist, Muslim or Hindu! but Why? We decide their choices, their path, their future! Why? I believe that every child can transform her\his life; if--
- no negativity is inculcated in their tender mind.
- no any violence is shown to them at very early age.
- his natural freedom is not suppressed.
- his basic needs are not destroyed.
- they are given heart centered education heartily.
The eastern world has one kind of problem and the western world has other type. But if we go into the depth, we will find that the heart is crying everywhere in this modern world. We read few words in books nowadays- truth, love, peace etc. But is there any true feeling of these words? The west is suffering by extremism; and every extremism brings finally materialism and militarism. And the countries like Nepal suffering by terrible poverty. But Nepal also has some beautiful messages which are neglected. A tiny country, like Nepal also can play a vital role to make this world a peaceful place because it has most ancient ageless wisdom; such as--
- Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. (the whole world is our family)
- Aatma Khalu Viswa- mulam. (consciousness or soul is the root of the world)
- Sarve Bhavantu Sukhin. (may all be happy)
- Gyanat Shanti Anantaram. (Peace through wisdom)
- Bal Devo Bhav. (children are like God)
No matter, where we come from? But let's think where we should go now? No matter, what my identity is? But how can I recognize my inner identity? No matter, what position and profession I have? But how I practice and preserve humanity? No matter, what my past was? But how can I make my future more meaningful and peaceful by being together with all? No matter, what I have learned till now? But how aware I am?
Therefore, now we need a new education system which should be value based, culture based, heart based, nature based, and spirituality based. We need now very ideal, committed and dynamic family which can raise their children as praying God!!!