Four Aspects of Mindful Parenting-1
There’s a term often used in Vedic writings. They call it brahmachari. It’s frequently, and limitedly, interpreted as celibacy. Its true meaning, however, has little to do with abstinence. Brahmachari means the one who acts (acharna) like a divine being (brahma). To this effect, Buddhist texts call such a person Brahma vihari — the one whose conduct is noble and divine. There are four aspects of such a person. You inculcate these four and any relationship becomes divine. When it comes to love and parenting, in my view, there’s a fifth element as well.
Continuing from last week, where I covered the first one — compassion (karuna) — let me spell out the remaining four beginning with the most important one. As has become our wont, sort of, let me share a quick story first.
A contract worker had to do double shift at work. He came home knackered and irritated (you know that feeling).
“Dad,” his 6-year-old son said, “how much do you make an hour?”
“Not now, son,” he said. “Besides, you should know that it’s a rude question.”
“But, I just wanna know!”
“What the hell!” the man hollered. “Your tired father comes home and rather than giving me a hug you ask me a dumb question.”
“But, I want to buy something urgently,” the boy persisted.
“You selfish little weed!” The father lost it completely. “Get lost!”
“No arguments! Get back to your room.”
The boy stood there with his head hung low. His eyes welled up and a tear trickled down.
“Go to your room, I said! Now!”
The son quietly walked back to his room and shut the door behind him.
At night, after the father had had his dinner and calmed down, he went to the little boy.
“I’m sorry, son,” he said. “I was very tired and I don’t know what came over me. What do you want to buy?”
“First tell me how much you make,” the boy said timidly.
“$20 an hour.”
Reaching under his pillow, he pulled out some money. Crumpled $1 bills, some nickels and dimes he had been saving for weeks.
“Here’s $10, Dad,” he said putting the money in his hands. “Will you play with me for 30 minutes?”
The father’s enraged reaction to the first question might seem unreasonable but that’s what anger is: unreasonable. In hindsight, after you’ve calmed down, you see how it was excessive or unjust but while going through the emotion, it feels right. Anyway, I haven’t cited this story to highlight anger but for an entirely different reason which leads me to the first principle of parenting.
Om Namah Shivay