How to Raise Hindu Children

I will be posting about my wedding soon. It all went great! I want to wait to get some of the pictures from the photographer to show you, so hopefully next week or maybe the week after we’ll have a wedding update!

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This month for back to school Patheos has a theme on how we go about raising our children to pass on our beliefs and our values.

I know that to some extent, kids are going to eventually grow up and make their own decisions about religion, spirituality, and belief. They may rebel, they may go in a whole new direction. I hope that I’m able to respect that journey for them and continue to love and communicate with them regardless of what direction they go (if they become evangelical Christians, it is going to seriously break my heart, though!)

That said, I do personally feel that giving spirituality to children helps give them a really strong foundation in life. And it is obviously an enormous part of my life, so of course I want to pass on this thing that means so much to me to my future children.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to find resources based in Hinduism for kids here in America. I think there is an extra challenge in raising children in a minority religion.

I don’t have kids yet, but my plan is:

  • Bring them to the children’s group at the Sathya Sai Baba group that we have been going to.
  • Have and read lots of comics  from Amar Chitra Katha. They make great and engaging comic books with stories from mythology and religion. There’s also books made of some ancient classic morality tales called Panchatantra, which are basically like Aesop’s fables.
  • I have a mini puja set for my kids to practice worship with me.
  • Give them the same lessons my mom gave me, such as giving people the chance to start fresh and loving others as our family.
  • Just a lot of background toys, decor, and stuff that connects with Hinduism.
  • Possibly teaching them Hindi.

I think because spirituality is such a big part of my life, it will naturally become a part of theirs. It isn’t just dragging them to a temple once a week when I don’t believe in it myself! My spiritual behavior is very authentic, so I think it will naturally grow some of that in my children.

It was hard to find articles about raising Hindu children, but there is this one, an interesting look at why it is important to give Hinduism to our children: http://www.indianhindunames.com/bringing-up-hindu-kids.htm I think it’s a really good article even though I don’t completely agree with the criticism of the “mountain metaphor.” I do think all religions are paths up the same mountain, but I personally think that Hinduism is a particularly direct and easy to understand path. The goal is much clearer than many other religions.

Here is a video on tips for how to raise spiritual children. I don’t know who this guru is!

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A general article with practical tips on introducing spirituality to children.

Hinduism Today (oh how I love that magazine! Always on point!) had an article called Raising Children As Good Hindus. The whole thing is available as a PDF. A very in-depth read. If you read only one of my suggestions today, this one should be it!

A long list of articles and stories to help teach children from Forum for Hindu Awakening.

A personal article about a woman of Indian ethnicity trying to pass on Hinduism to her daughter while living in New York.

Good Places to Get Hindu Stuff for Children:

Krishnaa.com

ExoticIndia.com

Gnaana.com

You never know with kids what their personalities will be like. I was a really spiritual child from the start. My cousin’s daughter is the same way. Others, it seems, don’t connect to spiritual questions and don’t wonder about the meaning of life. I just have to wait and see what my child is like and follow her/his lead to some extent.

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 Today is Raksha Bandhan. It is a celebration of love between brothers and sisters. If you’re a woman with a brother or a man in your life who is like a brother to you, tie a red thread around his wrist today and thank him for loving and protecting you!

About Ambaa

Ambaa is an American woman of European ancestry who is also a practicing Hindu. She is fascinated with questions of philosophy, culture, and the meaning of life. Join her in the journey to explore how a non-Indian convert to Hinduism experiences her religion.

  • HARRY

    Good beating Indian style LOL. You know what I’m talking about.

    • Agni Ashwin

      Daya rather than danda.

  • HARRY

    Now, come on both of you, stop that. There is nothing like good old Chapal. Don’t do your home work, baam chapal, don’t eat your greens, chapal, don’t do as you are told, chapal.

    See chapal comes useful in many more ways than just one when you are an Indian. LOL

    • Ambaa

      lol. There will not be any hitting in my household, not even with shoes.

      • HARRY

        LOL, Come on, How are you going to give them authentic experience if you don’t use your shoes for more then just wearing. Remember what Russel Peters said.

  • HARRY

    @ Garvi
    I know child abuse is not a Joke, but I think this is about discipline, something for you to read.

    http://www.the-nri.com/life/comment/spank-that-kind

    I am sure you must have had your fair share of chapals, or were your parent too soft or either you were a good girl.

    I think, I’ve just inspired a post here on child discipline.

  • Kevin Osborne

    I expect the best gift anyone can be given is unconditional love. There is no more freeing understanding than total acceptance.
    For both given and received.
    Have fun!

    • Ambaa

      How true! And beautifully said!

      • Kevin Osborne

        Gawrsh.


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