It’s interesting how life unfolds before you at times. During various periods of my life, when I pay attention, the world somehow is trying to get a message through to me. What is that all about anyway? You know, when thoughts pop into your head, pushing you into a particular direction. Then you notice more and more hints. Then, before you know it, you’ve made a life change or a major decision. For me it was Buddha. ”Oh, no”- you may be thinking, ”where is she going with all this?”
My husband’s parents took him to church regularly throughout his childhood. Mine did not. I did however, go through a stage in my life where I was very interested in the Bible and religion. I wanted to explore my options, so to say. I really wanted it to click within me. It did not. Maybe it’s the scientific side of my personality (which is very strong), or the lack of exposure as a child. I have no answer as to why it never felt right to me. Just as I have no answer as to why it is right for others. Yet I very much respect other’s right to believe what they wish.
I have always felt certain ways about how we, as people, should behave in the world. How we should take time to smell the flowers, be kind to others, appreciate your loved ones every day, live from moment to moment. Now, as I approach 40, my husband and I simultaneously- without really realizing it- stumbled onto Buddhism. We have always known its principles, history, belief system, etc- yet somehow, for some reason, it is very much staring us in the face. Tapping us on the shoulder. We aren’t hanging prayer flags, building an alter, or going to a buddhist temple, but the teachings are really becoming meaningful to us. Us as a family.
So in some random way- or maybe not so random- this path placed itself in front of us! I am excited about this as a parent. Whether you’re Buddhist or not- there are some wonderful teachings that all children can benefit from. Here is an example:
Mindfulness. There are a variety of descriptions, but to simplify it is living moment to moment. Focusing on breathing, allowing thoughts to flow freely without judgement, keeping your body calm. Paying attention to literally each moment. Noticing your surroundings. This is commonly associated with yoga and Buddhist meditation, yet it is a great skill to teach children. Very calming, and assists with accountability and thinking before doing concepts. And personally, I think yoga and meditation are a wonderful option for children as well- again- regardless of your denomination.
Making good choices. Cause and effect. Karma. Whatever you’d like to call it, the simple and truthful concept that the choices you make lead to your actions, which inevitably can and will effect someone. What effect do you want to cause in the world?
Love and Compassion. Be kind. I have found, in sometimes the most unexpected moments, when I have extended kindness to someone, and they were in such need of that extension of love. A scowled, grumpy, pain filled face turned into an outpouring of appreciation or love in return. You never know what someone may be going through- even the road rager. You just cannot judge.
There is a wonderful book, regardless of your religious preference, it is such a beautiful book!
“Buddha At Bedtime: Tales of Love and Wisdom for you to Read With Your Child At Bedtime to Enchant, Enlighten, and Inspire” By Dharmachari Nagaraja.