This Gandhi jayanti, teach your child important life lessons the Mahatma lived by.
By Leena Ghosh
Mahatma Gandhi — these two words conjure up images of one man’s greatness and sacrifice to achieve the happiness of millions. Born as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi on 2 October 1869, Gandhi worked tirelessly, and at a great cost to himself, for the freedom of India. He is one icon who is loved and respected by people across the globe.
This Gandhi Jayanti, drawing inspiration from famous sayings by the Mahatma, teach your children valuable lessons about peace, non-violence, honesty and more.
1. Live life to the fullest
It’s the quality of your life that matters not the speed with which you live.
In this age of technology, where everything moves at a fast pace, it’s important that we make sure our children lead productive lives, rather than rushing through the motions every day. Fill your child’s days with interesting activities and make sure he spends some time outdoors and indulges in free play.
2. Always speak the truth
Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth.
Whether it’s telling a little white lie or lying by omission, sometimes children fib as they believe that it will save them from getting into trouble. Teach your child that it’s important to speak and stand for the truth, no matter the consequences. Because, while telling a little lie may save her from immediate trouble, the price she may have to pay for it later may be too heavy.
3. Let the change begin from you
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
We often like to complain about the system or the rules that we have to follow. But, before changing the system, it’s important that we see within ourselves and try to fix our faults. Teach your child that it’s important to reflect on one’s own shortcomings and see how they can be improved, before lamenting about the problems that exist in the world. Tell him that self-realisation is one of the ways to achieve success.
4. Believe in love
The day the power of love overrules the love of power, the world will know peace.
As your child grows up, she will come across many people from different backgrounds — based on ethnicity, language, religion and so on. Teach her to love and respect every individual and not form biases based on her own background. Before you teach her this lesson, make sure that your own personal prejudices don’t impact her in any way. Be a good role model for your child and she’ll learn from you.
5. Think before you act
The future depends on what you do today.
Each simple act or decision matters. This statement by Gandhi teaches us that we are responsible for our future, as our actions in the present determine the future. Teach your child that every action has a consequence and he must always think about what he is going to do before he puts it into action.
6. Live to learn
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
This statement by Gandhi teaches us to be lifelong learners, yet, to remember to enjoy every moment of learning and living. Each experience in life teaches us something new and your child should always be ready to learn both inside and outside the classroom. As parents, you should ensure that she utilises every opportunity that comes her way to learn something new.
7. Be positive
A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.
A positive attitude toward life is the key to achieving goals. Tell your child that, in life, he may have to face many struggles and go through a few hard times. But, he should learn to look at the silver lining and not be bogged down by negative thoughts. Tell him how Gandhi faced several tough situations but approached them all with a positive frame of mind and remained resolute about his goal – to gain independence for India.
8. Learn to forgive
An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.
When one is wronged, it’s natural to want to retaliate in kind. But, teach your child that revenge or retaliation does not lead to happiness or peace. Tell him why it’s important to learn to forgive. Even though Gandhi suffered a lot under the British, instead of taking up arms against them, he chose the path of non-violence and came out as the winner.
9. Be true to yourself
A ‘No’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.
Like Gandhi, it’s important to be true to yourself, no matter what the consequences are. Teach your child to stand up for what is right and what she believes in, even if it displeases a few people. Tell her that she must never fear the result of her actions when she is upholding what is right and just.
10. Care for Mother Earth
Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.
Mahatma Gandhi was a great believer in the power of nature and Mother Earth. He believed that every individual should behave responsibly towards the environment to protect and nurture it. Teach your child this valuable lesson so he grows up to be a person who not only believes in looking after Mother Earth but also encourages others to take up environment-friendly initiatives.
Mahatma Gandhi was not only an icon and a greatly respected individual, but he was also a great teacher. His words of wisdom continue to inspire millions across the world. Make sure your child internalises these lessons, as they will help her become a caring, responsible and just individual.
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