Raising Our Children to be good People

In a society saturated with media, many parents are worried that their children will succumb to bad influences

Dhamma Articles > Meditation Articles and Techniques > Meditation for Peace
[ Feb 27th, 2012 ] - [ : 14379 ]
Meditation
Meditation for Peace
 
Raising Our Children to be good People
 
 Find good friends with whom the children can associate.
 
 Find good friends with whom the children can associate.
 
In a society saturated with media, many parents are worried that their children will succumb to bad influences. How do we protect our children from those influences and instill conscience and morals in them?
 
In truth, the answer to this question can be discussed from many aspects, but our ancestors regularly relied upon the following four simple factors to raise good children.
 
1. Be a good role model for the children to observe.
2. Find good books for the children to read.
3. Find a good teacher to teach the children.
4. Find good friends with whom the children can associate.
 
Be a good role model for the children to observe
The children to observe
 
The first factor is the most difficult because because many parents do not realize how influential they are to their children. Before we can begin to be good role models, we need to take stock of our good qualities. The Lord Buddha gave us the Five Precepts as an instrument to measure the worthiness of a human being. In today’s society many people cannot even maintain the Five Precepts, so how can we be good role models for our children?
 
If parents come to the conclusion that their children are not as good as they could be, the parents must reflect upon where that bad behavior came from. Children are like clean slates, most of them do not know what is correct. When children speak impolitely, it is because they remembered it from their parents. If we want to train our children to be good people, their parents must create a good moral foundation by teaching them the Five Precepts, and maintaining those precepts to be good role models.
 
Find good books for the children to read
 
Our ancestors used to say, “if you love your cows, you must tie them. If you love your children; you must spank them.”
 
But in the present day we say, “if you love your cows, tie them. If you love your children, spend time with them.”
 
Since children read books, we should take great care in selecting them. If they want to read comics or biology, we must read along with them. One problem that we see today is violent video and computer games. We must be vigilant and spend time with our children. We must give them love and affection.
 
If we say that we do not have the time, then our lives are only half-lived. Our lives were not meant only for working; we must have time for ourselves and our family. We must set aside time to go to the book store with our children. Let them select their own books, and observe their behavior from a distance. Sometimes we have to provide them with information to help in the decision – making process. As they grow older your lessons will help them select only good books.
 
 Be a good role model for the children to observe.
 
 Be a good role model for the children to observe.
 
Find a good teacher to teach the children
 
The subject of teachers is an extremely important one because they are the strongest outside influences that promote virtues in children. Since we are not with the teachers at school all day, we need to be able to assess them. We do not necessarily need a world-renowned school for our children attend; we just need them to be in a good and positive environment. Being the number one student in class does not mean that student will become the richest person in the world. Knowledge from textbooks needs to be applied.
 
Find good friends with whom the children can associate
 
Some parents send their children, when they are still fairly young, overseas to get their Bachelors, Masters or Doctoral degree. Once they return to Thailand they no longer have faith in Buddhism. Instead, they acquire false views from friends they went to school with. And when they work in a Thai environment, they speak without respect to people at work, causing resentment. They do not realize that knowledge from textbooks alone is not enough to ensure success. One must learn to respect and be courteous towards others.
 
The Mongala Sutta (the Thirty-Eight blessings of Life which teaches us about the road to happiness in life) clearly states that you should not associate with fools. You should only associate with the wise. It is obvious that if our children associate with bad people, they too may be influenced to do bad things. This misguided behavior will become more bad things. This misguided behavior will become more apparent when children no longer live with us. We must be able to recognize the signs and give sound advice. Reprimands
 
Should not be the first and only reaction. Raising children requires us to have tactics and strategy similar to that in business. We are trying to build their capacity to choose and associate with good people.
 
To prevent children from adopting bad behavior you must establish an environment founded on these four factors. In doing so, they will grow up to be adults who think, speak and act virtuously, leading lives with an ingrained sense of right and wrong.
 

     
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