#1 Get off your pedestal
If you are a parent – the important thing is, please don’t stand on a big pedestal. The only qualification you have is, you just came here a few years early. That’s the only mistake you have done. Yes! When you say, I wish I was young, what it means is –
I made the mistake of coming too early.
So this is the only qualification adults have, that they came here a few years earlier than the younger people. This doesn’t qualify you to advise about everything in the universe. It doesn’t.
If you admit your ignorance with the youth, and especially with little children, they will become your close friends. Otherwise they look up to you because they have to, there is a hierarchy business. And of course, everybody hates that hierarchy. Looking up, neck hurts, you know – nobody likes it.
Because in trying to place yourself above, you are losing the possibility of being a good friend. If you are not a good friend, they are not seeking your advice. They are not just in the neighbourhood. Now, globally they seek answers. Okay? You don’t know where their friend is. Their friend is in Timbuktu right now, not in the neighbourhood.
A relationship is only possible when you are not on the pulpit, you are down on the ground like everybody else. On the same two feet. Then only it’s possible. Then only there is a friendship. When there is a friendship, there is room for correction. When there is no friendship, you can say what you want, nobody is going to listen anyway. And if you go on giving advice after advice, they will just do the reverse, just to spite you. A whole lot of children do things, just because it freaks the parents. Yes or no? They are doing it just to freak the parents. They just enjoy it – because, this advice and advice and advice. Advice is sickening, nobody likes advice.
But, if there was a bond of friendship, naturally they would listen. That’s what one should earn. The parents and teachers should earn the friendship of the new generation rather than thinking just because a few years early you came, you know the universe. There is no such thing. So just stop advising them. Just be friends with them, play with them, go to the cinema with them, listen to their kind of rap music, dance with them. You will see they will be fond of you. There will be a relationship. Once there is a relationship, you can do something, you can influence them.
#2 Dedicate time for them
First and foremost thing that we need to understand is – child means, it is not some personalised project. We are manufacturing the next generation of people.
Those who decide to have children must have dedicated time for the child. Not fitting in here, one ten minutes here, ten minutes there. You must have full fledged dedicated time, because it is about making the next generation better than who we are.
There is nothing special to be done, you don’t have to buy a single toy. You just have to spend time. You just have to expose them to nature. You just have to expose them to various forms of creation.
But, just to get rid of the child, you bought him an iPad, when he’s five. See, you buy him an iPad when he’s four or five, don’t think it’s out of your love. You’re being strategic, you want to get rid of him. Get rid of him means – he opens up something, and something something something is happening on the iPad endlessly. So you can go about your business the way you want. I don’t think it is necessary for such people to have children. Unless you’re willing to have dedicated time, you should not do this crime – not necessary. Once you have, you must have dedicated time.
And first of all, you must fix yourself. You must become that kind of a person the child will look up to and love to be with. Then, even time can be adjusted. If they’re really looking up to you, five minutes is worth five days. Five minutes of contact is like five days. Nothing to teach, what’s there to teach. What is their to teach? What do you know about life that the child doesn’t know, I’m asking. Survival tricks, don’t teach them too early. This is a serious problem.
These days, I think it’s little less than what it used to be before. Three year old child, they’re asking, “What do you want to become?” “I want to become pilot.” “I want to become commando.” These days everybody, all the boy want to become a commando, because that’s the games they like playing. Because I see in these games, [shoot] somebody’s head falls off. They may become Jihadi Johns. Because right from childhood, they’re taking off people’s heads.
So what do you want to expose your children to, is something that every parent needs to think about – because it is exposure, it is not moral teaching which is going to stick. It is the exposure that the child is exposed to, which is really going to stick right through their life. You must expose them to all the positive, wonderful things. Positive things does not mean right versus wrong. Simply life the way it is.
I think, if people want to have children – this may sound extreme – but I would say, at least for two months in a year, those who have children should withdraw into a natural space. Not live in their city burrows, or those bird nests of apartments. They must go away at least for two months. It’s alright even if you have to live in a tent somewhere. But they must live in nature, the children. Very, very, very important. If you want to have your children physically, mentally healthy and balanced, it is the most important thing.
#3 Don’t try to live through them
Parents think – all the things that they could not do, they must achieve through their children. So they should have bred race horses. They are not an extension of your ambitions, they are not. And they need not be. So this is because people think they own their children. No, they are not your property. I think these days they are telling you. Older generation hesitated to say this. This generation, by the time they are ten, they are telling you, you’ve got no business to tell me what to do.
So does it mean to say, you don’t say anything to them? No, it’s your business to see. Because if you don’t guide them, somebody else will on the street. Or somebody will do it long distance on the internet, all kinds of creatures are out there, alright. So, yes to protect them, to nourish them, to allow them to explore their possibilities – it is your business to do that as a parent.
But parents’ concern may be, what will happen, what will happen, what will happen? Tell me when you go through fear, is it fantastic? Hello? It’s one of the most terrible emotions you can go through. Why are we thinking that we should be fearful of our future. Not only of your future, of anything that you do, even God-fearing, alright. Fearful about everything. What is the point? There is no such thing. There is no such thing, that this generation should be an extension of the previous generation. This generation should do something that previous generation could not imagine. That is when there is a purpose to this generation, isn’t it? Otherwise what’s the point? If you’re going to do the same things.
#4 Let them discipline themselves
If you want your children to consider the suggestions that you are making, don’t try to discipline them. If it works, if you try to discipline them and it works – unfortunately it means that you have dumb children. If they’re smart, it just won’t work – really, isn’t it so? You don’t like this? If they’re just dumb, helpless children, it’ll work. Otherwise your damn disciplining won’t work.
Yes, here and there maybe you put your foot down a little bit. But that right also you get only because you’ve built a relationship. You’ve built a very close, friendly relationship – so somewhere, you can use your privilege of being older than them, and put your foot down in a few things. But you can’t go about disciplining them. You must drop that idea from your mind, because it won’t work. If they don’t like your discipline, it’s just a few months away that they don’t like you. If, a few years away, they hate your discipline, then you must know that much time away, they’ll also hate you – there is no question about it, isn’t it? So don’t get yourself into that situation.
The most important thing is to provide him an atmosphere which is joyful, loving, and inspiring. Inspiring him to stand up and find his full potential. If this atmosphere is provided, you don’t really have to worry about disciplining. Discipline will happen by itself. Discipline does not mean control. Discipline means that you’re focused towards knowing.
The word discipline in English means learning, or to learn. So when you say I’m disciplined, that means you’re always willing to learn. That you’re not stuck in some mode. So discipline is not just doing something someway, you’re willing to learn, which way to do everything better. If you’re constantly striving how to do everything better, you’re disciplined. You’re just doing something in a particular way, that’s not discipline. If you bring yogic practices into a child’s life, there is no way they cannot be disciplined. Discipline will happen to them.
#5 Stop preparing them for something
This is the mistake, or this is the fundamental flaw in the education systems of the day, that we think we need to prepare people for something. No – we need to prepare people for nothing. We just have to make people flexible and sharpen their intelligence, sharpen their perception. Whatever is needed, do that. Only thing is, you have to make human intelligence in such a way, that it’s flexible and it’ll quickly grasp what is around.
Perception is sharpened, intelligence is sharpened, but you don’t become a concrete block that I’m an engineer, I’m a doctor, I’m this and that. You becoming a concrete block, you can’t change yourself. Does it mean to say, no subject needs any training? Yes, it will need. Many subjects need expertise, which needs a certain level of application and training. I’m not questioning that. But you don’t have to do it early on.
Right now, from the age of 3, 4, they’re telling I’m going to become an IT engineer, I’m going to become a start-up – now it’s all start-up – Or a doctor, engineer. Everything was doctor at one time, then it became little engineer. Now computer, now start-up. How many start-ups are non-starters in the country? Too many, unfortunately. Because you don’t need a start-up culture, engineering culture, something like this. What you need is that you’re a solution seeking generation.
Let your children do something that you could not dream of. If you have achieved a certain level of success, you have taken care of bread for your children. So let them live a life where they don’t have to think about their bread. That is, they don’t live for their survival. They live to create something, that is wonderful for himself, and for everybody else.
#6 Lastly, shine a little bit
Just yesterday somebody was asking me in some meeting that I was in. Sadhguru – I have a 14 year old boy. 14 year old boy is trouble – I know! Because I was a 14 year old boy, at one time! I was. I know he is trouble. The lady was in tears. I have a 14 year old boy [broke down]. I understand, don’t say anything more, I understand. 14 year old boy [broke down].
So, the thing is, when you had a child, when it was a little infant… you loved it, because you twist it, and turn it and play with it – whichever way you want. Yes! Then, it became 3 year old. It was crawling all over the place. You also crawled with the baby. You played with the baby. You tried to speak like them […], all that. Everything was nice.
Then he stood up, now he has become a 14 year old boy. What that means is – he is trying to be his own. He wants to be a man. He is in a hurry. But you still want to do, moo-moo-moo to him. When you crawled with him when he was 2-3 years old, he also enjoyed it. But now he wants to swing. You should also swing with him. But you still want to crawl. You still want to do, moo-moo-moo. Doesn’t work.
The best thing… if you want to be of some value to your children – whether they are your own biological children, or they are studying with you – the most important thing is, that when they see you, they must say – wow, I want to be like this. Yes! You must be… become that kind of a person… you don’t have to say a thing. You become that kind of a person – everybody wants to be like you. You must learn to dance like them. You must like to sing like them. You learn to speak like them. Then they say – wow, this is how I want to be. Once they want to be like you, there is no issue, making it happen. Yes! Very simple.
So, you must make them fall in love with you. Not demand something. You must make them fall in love with you. This is what you need to do. If somebody has to fall in love with you, what you should do? You must shine a bit. Hello! Yes or no? You must shine a little bit.