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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Spiritual Questions & Answers > Swami QnA 2007 > Teaching children

Title: Teaching children

User: Swami Gaurangapada Date: 2007-03-13 14:57:09


Q. I would like to know about the best ways to teach the dharma to my child, she knows that saying the mantras make me smile and happy, she wants to hear stories about krishna and his pasttimes, but what books are good for her 4 year old mind?how do i introduce her to it best? i know that setting the example , as chlidren learn buy there parents example.


she likes going to visit the local temples, watching the what she calls the temple movie "a ramayana cartoon" , and likes her temple toy , a jungle book toy a of a indian girl doll with a pottu mark on it.


she wants me to read books on krishna and rama instead of about mundane storys for children.i think she feel the passion i have when reading them and my bordem at reading about monsters inc. and toy story.

of course i tell her i dont like reading them i want to read about krishna instead she says" oh read them they are better."


please give me good examples and advice about teaching her about the dharma,also about behavior control as i do not spank or give strange punishments as they are useless and cruel.


i know her age is a factor but she is unusually demanding and attention getting in public and at friends homes when its meal time.many of these behaviors are mine as nothing she does bothers me as i remember being her age and i know the feelings she has.


i also know if she takes after me seh will read about religion profusely at a young age(i started at 7 read books on paranormal, psychics, and the brotherhood of the rosey cross, norse religion by 9 yrs i was into political science and nationalist books by 14 reading about masons and kabbalistic symbolism and druids ), but all the knowlage of scripture will not build love of krishna.


Answer by Swami Gaurangapada:


I would request the householder devotees to help in this regard about inculcating spiritual values to his daughter.


Yes, one should make her chant and sing the Holy Names as much as possible even trickily and tell her interesting stories of baby Gauranga and baby Krishna from Chaitanya Bhagavata, Chaitanya Mangala and Shrimad Bhagavatam.


Some interesting verses from Chanakya Pandita which were quoted by Shrila Prabhupada are as follows:


Niti Sastra

lalayet panca-varsani

dasa-varsani tadayet

prapte tu sodase varse

putram mitra-vad acaret


One should fondle one's child up to the point of five years old. Thereafter one should be strict and correct the child for the next ten years. But when one's child reaches the age of sixteen one should act as a friend towards him.

(Canakya Pandita)


Niti Sastra

lalane bahavo dosas

tadane bahavo gunah

tasmat putram ca sisyam ca

tadayen na tu lalayet


Leniency encourages bad qualities in a child or student, and strictness helps develop good qualities. Therefore, a parent or teacher should not pamper a child or student but be strict and correct them. (Canakya Pandita)


Yours in service, Swami Gaurangapada.