What do you suggest for those of us who have children? What are the things we can do to follow some of the ideas that you have shared with us?
Whenever a child enters people's lives, most people tend to think it is time to teach. No. When a child enters your life, it is time to learn because between you and your child, who is more joyful? The child. So, who should be a consultant for life? He is definitely better qualified than you. You know a few survival tricks. You may know how to earn your money. You may know how to handle your survival tricks outside. But when it comes to life, he is able to make any simple situation a joyful situation. So, definitely he must be the consultant for life.
So when a child has come, it means it is time to learn. It doesn't matter how glum you are. If you have a child in your house, unknowingly you will laugh, unknowingly you will play, unknowingly you will dance, unknowingly you will crawl under the sofa. These are things that you have not done for a long time. Once a child is there, it is like a bundle of joy bouncing all over the place, and unknowingly you start doing many things that the child is doing.
The most important thing is not to infect the child with what you call "adulthood." This is not adulthood, okay? Don't infect the child with that. You have to learn to live like him -- to make any situation into a joyful, wonderful situation. It doesn't matter what. If you give him a piece of wood, with that he makes his life for the whole afternoon. With anything, he can make a situation wonderful for himself. You just have to learn that too. You have to teach him a few survival skills that he will learn anyway. You can also guide him a little bit, but those things, anyway, he will learn.
Especially in a society like this, where the moment the child steps out you don't know what influences are going to catch up with him, you don't know what is going to swallow him outside. The most important thing is to stop acting like a boss. When you were growing up, for whatever problems you had, did you go to your parents or to your friends? Whom did you share it with? Friends. And your friends, they are not qualified to guide you. But in their own way, with great confidence, they put you on to something. Why is it that parents who have been with children right from day one can't be good friends?
You just have to get off your pedestal. That is the most important thing. Stop being a big boss, get down, and be a friend. If he has anything, you should be the first person that he shares it with. That is a very important safety net for children, that whatever it is, you are the first person they want to talk to, it doesn't matter what their problem is. If you leave that level of openness and friendship with them, if they come to you first, there is every possibility that they won't get lost. That is the simplest thing you can do. Whichever way, every human being has his own limitations and possibilities. The only thing is to create a situation and atmosphere so that their possibilities and their capabilities are not lost in something else. That is all you can do. You cannot recreate that human being, but you can nurture that human being to his ultimate potential.
The most important thing is this: Parents should get off their pedestal and start treating them as equals and friends. This can't suddenly happen when you think he is smoking, then you try to be his friend: "Please tell me -- what are you smoking, is it just tobacco?" At that point, he won't yield, by then he has got his defenses right against you. This has to happen right from childhood, that he never sees you as somebody who is pushing him around, bossing him around or advising him about something all the time, that you are very much a friend. He can talk to you, and you talk to him as an equal. If this is maintained right from the beginning, when he is developing, when there are possibilities of his taking wrong steps, you will be the first person he comes to. That is something you have to build.
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