Awareness of our relationship to the child can help our inner transformation as part of our soul-search. It would also ensure that the child grows in an atmosphere of love unsullied by the grownup’s emotional attachment and self-interest. All in all, it is a sacred involvement.

Perception

Bringing up a child has many facets to it. Applying ourselves to them with deepening awareness can enrich our life to the point of making it joyous for everyone. Many parents are concerned about the welfare of the child and it is mistaken for love. The concern is part of self-interest and does not reflect a feeling for the child per se. Right attention will be given to the child only when one is not using the child for one’s own ego satisfaction. Emotional attachment can harm the child and the parent. Where there is true love, there is no room for those unhealthy involvements of the ego.

Treating the child as a human being in its own right would mean that it is not sacrificed to a system, no matter how intelligent the system may be. Further, as J. Krishnamurti points out [Ref. 1], the child will not be conditioned by the parents or teachers to be conformists. They will see to it that the child blossoms like a flower, unimpeded. Here we note what Khalil Gibran [Ref. 2] has to say about children:

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

Tenderness

The school and the home are the two predominant places where the young child is exposed to the world. If there is loving atmosphere at those places, children can grow into wholesome human beings. It is to be noted that the child comes first and then its education. In other words, it is education for the child, not the other way around. In many parts of the world, this aspect is not given the vital importance that it deserves. When it does get the right attention, everything is influenced by the tender feeling towards the child. Then, the child would feel at home everywhere. We won’t overload the child with heavy syllabus and heavier books! The subjects will be taught in a succinct way so that the child catches the essence of them rather than be lost in the details. The over-enthusiasm in trying to make the child know a lot of things can drain the child’s energy to the point of destroying its mental freshness.

When the atmosphere at school is on such fostering grounds, there would be no need for any punishment. Improper behavior would be minimal and they can be handled without the child feeling condemned or rejected. A few schools are coming up along those lines in India and other countries under the name of ‘Alternative Education’. They can help the child imbibe such qualities as empathy, compassion, mirthfulness, emotional stability, and respect for all cultures. There would be an adventurous attitude towards life. They would consider themselves as citizens of the world rather than be lost in some parochial narrow-mindedness; would show interest in understanding the deeper currents of life instead of emotionally clinging to belief systems for the sake of satisfaction and security. They can appreciate their position on this planet in a cosmological context through attention to such esoteric subjects as astronomy, anthropology and spiritual philosophies. Such children would surely bring about global harmony leading to joyous living on this planet.

Childlikeness

Once the mind becomes interested in self-awareness and is attracted to the esoteric contents of life, childlikeness begins to express itself in its own way. This is particularly noticed in the values of wonderment, inquisitive attitudes and a spirit of adventure – some of the salient features of child psychology. Not building up rancor or vengeful attitudes is certainly a part of it. Cheerfulness too is a natural ‘ingredient’ of that psychology. Won’t it be wonderful to let those qualities keep us company even as we grow up getting caught up in the humdrum of life? It is easier said than done because, on this planet, the crowding-in of life is indeed a juggernaut that can dash out the child in us. What is it that can let the child sustain itself in our psychology? When we grownups find the answer to this question, we can let the young ones imbibe that quality early in their lives. Indeed, it is contagious. Jesus is reported to have said “Until ye become like children, ye cannot enter heaven.”

One of the things that we learn when approaching children with the tenderness that they deserve is the mental disposition of wonderment. For those interested in the esoteric aspects of life, wonderment becomes a natural concomitant. The journey into ourselves sustains that feeling and childlikeness has something to do with it. Strangely, this is also the driving force behind scientific discoveries. During near death experiences (NDEs), wonderment reaches high levels. The feeling of wonderment is the one that keeps an explorer’s inquisitive attitudes alive and prevents him or her from clinging to beliefs or disbelief. This open-mindedness is necessary for inward, non-verbal discoveries. It is good to understand the content and the value of wonderment by observing children.

The Universe is full of mysteries and, like a kind mother, it waits patiently for us to grow in our awareness to be able to perceive and appreciate those things. Albert Einstein is reported to have said that wonder is the source of all true art and all science. "He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed." It is likely that those who are drawn to wondering will see or sense things that others remain unaware of. They learn that when they give a free rein to the movement of wonder in them, there is a possibility that they uncover life’s deeper mysteries, which in itself is a matter of expanding awareness. It has something to do with childlikeness.

Related matters are covered in the website http://spirituality.yolasite.com
----------------------------
Reference 1. J. krishnamurti. This Matter of Culture Ed by D. Rajagopal, Littlehampton Book Services Ltd; 1ST edition (December 1964).

Reference 2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kahlil_Gibran

Author's Bio: 

Gopalakrishnan T. Chandrasekaran was born in Madras (now Chennai), India. He received his doctoral degree in Coastal Engineering from the North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA in 1978; served on the research and teaching faculty of the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India, the North Carolina State University and the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, Kuwait.

Aside from his professional involvements, he was interested in the philosophic issues of life for the last forty years or so. This led him to the messages of Ramana Maharishi, Lao Tzu, J Krishnamurthy, UG Krishnamurthy, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Eckhart Tolle, Marcus Aurelius and similar Masters. His book entitled “In Quest of the Deeper Self” is the outcome of his reflections on those and his wish to share the outcome with others.

Gopalakrishnan is a member of the International Association for Near Death Studies, Durham, NC, USA. He lives in Kodaikanal, a hill town in the southern part of India, with his wife Banumathy. Blog: http://nde-thedeeperself.blogspot.com