Parents often wonder how wise is it to bring up their kids following Gandhiji's principles in today's society, where values are often threatened. If you are one of those parents, you might agree that Gandhiji's philosophy is relevant as much today as it was several decades ago. Bringing up our kids following his principles, will only ensure that we leave a nicer world for them to live in.
On the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, we thought through 6 Gandhian principles that can make our kids better citizens:
One of the main pillars of Gandhian philosophy, this virtue is a no-brainer and the earlier we start, the better. The kids should be taught that telling lies might save them for the moment, but the truth reveals itself eventually, which can cause much grief and heartbreak later. As parents, we should be conscious about the 'little lies' that we cook up with the child. For example – If the child is asking for a valuable item to play with and he cannot be handed that, we sometimes say 'that's lost'. Instead, we must insist that it will break if played with.
Gandhiji was a great believer of 'simple living and high thinking'. Draped only in handmade cotton 'dhoti' and slippers, he showed the world that not your external appearance but humility, perseverance and willpower makes a man. We must teach our kids to value simplicity and gain pleasure from it. Life has much more to offer than just fancy gadgets and clothes. Also, teaching them to respect people for what they are, and not what they wear.
Gandhiji said 'the essence of all religions is one, only their approach is different'. Religious tolerance taught to children early in life can really help, as they will build the foundation for a truly open and secular society in future.
A small boy once offered to Gandhiji that his mother could sew as many 'kurtas' as he wanted. Gandhiji replied, 'I would want many kurtas for my family of 40 crore poor brothers and sisters.'
The values of kindness and compassion are a must-teach in today's context, as we see cruelty and violation of humanity all around us. If in a position to help, they should be shown how to step forward to help the less-privileged sections of the society.
It is one of the most important Gandhian principles that can do the world a lot of good, if practised. We could teach our kids to solve disputes through a dialogue and not through aggression and violence. If kids of today can imbibe this quality, it can actually help in restoring peace and making the world a much better place to live.
On the other hand, there are certain Gandhian values that may not be apt for today's world. For example - 'If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer him the other one too'. While children must learn to avoid violence, accepting meek submission is not wise either. For example, in the school or, on the playground, if someone is being unreasonably violent and hits our children, and peace talks fail to serve the purpose, they should turn on their guards of self-defence.
Lastly, the saying - The Three Wise Monkeys that Gandhiji endorsed - 'See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil' can help children steer away from the evil.
Gandhiji believed that any change in this world, shall have to begin with the children. Today's kids are tomorrow's citizens. Let us imbibe and pass on some of his values if that helps create a better India.