Forgiveness and friendship go together. These two values lay the foundation for a child to build healthy relationships. Know how fables and folk tales can be used to teach your kids these two values.
By Aarthi Arun
Friendship means forgiveness, not forgetting; It means memories last even if the contact is lost.
How true the above quote is! One can never underestimate the important role that friendship and forgiveness play in laying a solid foundation for a child to forge new relationships in life. And as a parent, you have a vital role to play.
Interestingly, research suggests friends, more than parents, play a crucial role in shaping a child’s future. Scroll below to find out how.
While children ‘easily’ make friends, they also get into ‘petty’ differences simply because they lack the maturity to handle situations. It is common to see ‘little friends’ get into arguments, fights and blame games. While it is natural at a tender age for children to behave in this manner, it is definitely not a bad idea to use folk tales to teach children why they should look beyond arguments and fights while building true friendships.
Here, we use the Jataka tale The Wind and the Moon, to let your child understand this better:
In a deep forest, a lion named Narasimha and a tiger named Pulideva live together in a cave. They have been friends since their childhood. A well-learned holy man named Chatrugna, maintains peace in the surrounding forest with his teachings. He lives on the mountain above the cave.
One cold evening, Narasimha and Pulideva get into a pointless argument. Narasimha says that the weather becomes cold when the moon decreases from full to new. Pulideva contradicts him by saying that the increase of the moon from new to full brings chilly weather. The argument escalates as both stand their ground, unwilling to budge. Matters get worse as they start calling each other names.
The 'friendly' duo then decide to take the issue to Chatrugna. The friends pay their respects to the hermit and narrate the cause of their quarrel. Chatrugna listens to their story patiently. He points out that the weather can be cold during any phase of the moon. The chillness in the weather is not brought by the fullness of the moon but by the wind flowing from the north, east or west. The old man has a strong piece of advice for the lion and the tiger. He says their friendship must remain strong through thick and thin, and that arguments and name-calling only lead to enmity and disputes. The two friends realise their foolishness and get back to their friendly ways and live in harmony.
Points of discussion:
Forgiveness is an integral part of true friendship. Your young child may come to you with stories of several feuds and why she is mad at her close friend and ‘hates’ her. But, does she realise the ‘value’ of forgiveness? Here’s your opportunity to teach her this all-important value.
Simply read out to her the story The Sands of Forgiveness.
Two friends, Pranav and Vaibhav go on a long journey across a desert. Due to severe heat and extreme thirst, tension starts running high between the friends. They have an argument, and Pranav slaps Vaibhav. A stunned Vaibhav takes a stick and writes 'TODAY MY BEST FRIEND SLAPPED ME ON THE FACE' on the desert sand. The two friends then continue the journey without talking to each other.
They soon come upon an oasis with a pond brimming with clear water. Both quench their thirst and jump in for a swim. Vaibhav's legs get stuck while swimming. As he struggles to free himself, Pranav comes to his rescue and pulls him out of the water. Vaibhav, who was at the receiving end of a slap only a few hours ago, thanks Pranav profusely and carves 'TODAY MY BEST FRIEND SAVED MY LIFE' on a rock.
Pranav is surprised. He asks Vaibhav the reason for writing on the sand the first time and on the rock the second time. Vaibhav replies that one should write all bad things in the sand so that winds of forgiveness erase it, while good things should be set in stone so that no wind can erase it.
Points of discussion:
What do you think will happen if Vaibhav decides to slap Pranav back?
Why did they start fighting in the first place? Point out tiredness, hunger and thirst can play tricks with the mind.
Ask him to point out some good deeds that his friend has done for him.
About the author:
Written by Aarthi Arun on 13 November 2018.
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