Sahaja Yoga &...
MY FLOWER CHILDREN
Extracts from "Education Enlightened" by H.H. Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi
Sahaja education is a wholehearted effort to inculcate love for nature, care for environment, gentleness, nobility, honesty, wisdom and yet a lure for adventure.
A little child learns so many words in such a short time that we cannot learn. [...] The child is growing and his curiosity and his capacity to know more things is also very much sharp and he starts learning more. He does not think he knows everything. The arrogance, the idea that we know a lot, itself is very dangerous for the growth, that is what one has to give up. We should know that we do not do anything. A child is never a silly person. He never does something in a silly way. On the contrary, if somebody is silly, they say "He is a clown". They do not like it. They start wondering what is the matter with this person. A child does not want to be dishevelled at all. You should not allow them to be lousy, to be untidy, to be languid, like lotus-eaters, or like people who have no smartness about them.
A child's another attribute is that he always hits the principle of everything. A child sees to the principle of everything. And the questions they ask sometimes are so remarkably collective that I am surprised how they go to that knowledge. They never waste their time in frivolous things, talking of frivolous things. I have not seen children talking about their clothes or their houses. All the nonsense starts after they develop their ego and then they start behaving in a funny way. The children just accept whatever Gods gives them.
To them, alertness is so natural. If there is an aeroplane which is going, they will say "Bye, bye, aeroplane". Then there are ships that are going, they will say "Bye, bye". To the sea, they will say "All right, sea, we will come and see you tomorrow."You see, everything is in their mind. [ ] And everything they will tell you, the details about everything. So alerrt.
A child does not think too much. He does not plan too much. He makes fun out of everything.
I do not want to put too much restriction on children in the name of discipline, in the beginning, because children are themselves very disciplined. But discipline has to be there. If you follow the practice of getting up in the morning time, slowly you will find children cannot sleep after that time. All these good habits can be done. To sleep earlier, to get up early, not to talk too much, not become also absolutely deaf and dumb sort, not to talk rubbish, not to be frivolous, not to be sarcastic. All these things can be watched very carefully.
Children must know how to behave themselves, they must know how to answer, how much they must talk. Do not spoil them with presents. Give them presents at the right time and tell them how they should behave. This is your duty to discipline them. No child should be allowed to answer back.
Teach them to be respectful. If you do not teach them, they will be disrespectful to other people. Sit down with them one hour and talk to them, not in the presence of others.
If they break the toys and all that, tell them that "if you are breaking toys you are not going to get them." Keep them properly, arrange them, let them organise. This is how you train.
Another habit children must form is to get up early in the morning and wash. The parents must get up in the morning. Give them bath, get them ready. Do not give tea to children, but milk. Tea is not a good habit.
You have to tell your children, until they are sixteen years of age, everything that is good, righteous, how to behave and how to live. Otherwise, they become vagabonds. "Oh, we can do whatever we want, what is wrong?" You teach them what is wrong. Do not give them money. Let them do the work. You should never pay for your children's work.
Do not run after the children all the time, because once they know they are dominating you, they will sit on your heads. They should know where they stand with you. Gradually they will learn and behave. Either you make them human beings or you make them devils. It is in your hands.
Children should know that you love them. Do little things that show that you care. Express your love. The only fear they have is that they will lose that love. Love must be expressed. This is the main thing that they have to be given all the time. Address them like someone higher. Respect and love, that is the point, rather than beating them. To give a lot of love is the first priority, then the discipline.
Children should not be allowed to form habits. They should not get used to too much comfort. They should attend to others, bring things for others and always be busy with someone. We should not make the children work too hard.
In India, the whole society trains the attention of the child by continually pointing the attention to the correct things.
It is not wise to make the child agitated all the time and enter into a sort of competition. Let the child grow normally.
Children should be naturally collective
They must be made to sit with other people. It's because they find that their parents are their own, the rest are not. That's how racialism also develops, because they think the other people who are not fair are not normal. These secretive temperaments develop. Then you start keeping them exclusively to yourselves. On the contrary, allow them to be open, talking to everyone, opening their hearts to everyone.
Overprotected children are very dangerously placed because they have no immunity for anything. [..] This is how people become very weak-healthwise.
We have to trust others with our children. Otherwise, children become so exclusive, they stick on to you, they cannot go to anyone.
You just overpower the children too much. Also then, the children try to attract your attention all the time, because they are used to you. They'll ask ten questions and talk too much. They will say things and you will be tired. [ ] He must play, he has to play with himself. He has to be with himself, then he'll improve.
The children should not be pushed with too much knowledge, because if you push too much knowledge into their heads, they will also become confused and then they will be in trouble. Let them be as they are, tell them whatever is necessary. At a very young age, we give them too much unnecessary knowledge.
How to correct children
There is a way of correcting children. I do not like punishment. But by telling them stories, by talking to them, by sorting out with them, you can work it out very well.
Talk to them what is to be done, how we have to behave, how to say nice things, hot to help others, how to give your toys, how to keep your things tidy.
Children also learn from your own behaviour.
Light burns for others, not for itself
People get very much attached to their children, they just think about their children and nothing else. This is another kind of selfishness. [..] If you make the child collective and teach child to give others and to enjoy that, then from the very childhood he becomes extremely generous. [..] The parents don't give money to their children when they grow up and don't look after them. But they are so possessive. It is important to understand that first of all: look after their children, give them whatever they need, nourish them, give them guidance, don't spoil them, and secondly: once they are married and have children, don't try to possess them and possess their children, their wives.[..]
It's the mother who makes the child great. If she wants all the time to sort of grab the child and the child to grab the mother, then it is suicidal. It's our duty to see that our children grow as great people, greater than us. They have to look after the world. If you spend time with your children, see that you mould them, nourish them with love and tell them that they should give love to others, that they should behave in such a manner that everybody should feel the light. [ ]
Expose your children to good things. Tell them what is good. Tell them how to be good to others, tell them to look after them, tell them how to press the feet of others, how to comb the hair, how to give food to others. Teach them, let them carry little trays and feed others, to the birds, let them give water to the flowers. Don't make them small.
Develop rapport with each child. The rapport should be joyous. Teachers and dormitory staff should not be isolated from the children but be integrated together like a family. Teachers have to fill the parental role and not be aloof and cold.
There should be a rapport with senior children and junior children, like between elder brother and younger brother. They can play together. Junior children can ask questions to the seniors and the seniors should answer them. Develop rapport with nature. [ ]
You should not try to over dote on them or to be over strict with them. Both things are wrong. One thing they must know is that you love them and respect them. [ ]
Children should be entertained and not allowed to become bored. Let them make little houses, create a garden, undertake such activities which keep their attention. Tell them stories, jokes, songs, help them to do drawing. They must feel the companionship. Listen to their talk also, it is very interesting.
Love all children as your children
Love all children as your own children. It will work out much better. Nobody should object if some child is corrected. If somebody corrects your child, you should be thankful to that person that they have corrected your child. Then children are frightened of the collective because they think all the collective are together when they are misbehaving. If you start supporting only your own child, then the child becomes quite clever. It knows that nobody can say anything to me. The whole collective, if the child has gone bad, have all felt it. But if somebody has supported that child, then the children would be rude.
In the class room
Teachers should make the subject interesting. Find new ways of arousing the interest. It needs not to be so serious, can be like a play also.
Learning of tables is essential even if there is a calculator. Each child should keep a diary where they can write stories, experiences and observations.
All effort should be made to improve the attention of the child.
Now the main thing about children is that they should feel completely secured in a place. Security is a very important thing for children. If they do not feel secured in that place, then we won't be able to balance them much.
With all Montessori equipment they become too toy-oriented. Some of it is so expensive. Have some educational toys, but not too many (and not the hitting blocks through a little bench!).
Do not have a dry classroom. Have flowers, plants, like sitting in a garden. The teacher's dress should not be like a nurse! Laugh before the children. Show them we are happy. Appreciate them.
Every child, up to five or six years, must be massaged nicely every night. At night, massage their body with oil, olive oil may be used for everything, then wipe it nicely with a towel. (If necessary, use a little powder for parts, but cover their faces as it might go up their noses) Massage the head in the morning before bath and oil in the nose and ears.
Teach drama, dance, classical dance, music, art and handicrafts. [...]
The senses - let them feel the metals: gold, silver etc. and marble, all the different marbles and onyxes. Feel the materials and the senses. Pottery too. Avoid synthetic fabrics.
Let them appreciate design of cloth, four or five different ones. Which one they like, which they don't like.
Tell them about stars! What are stars, planets living things rather than dead things. What are the trees and the use of wood. Treat the trees as personified, look after them, give them names.
Everything must be looked after. (When they spill something on the carpet, everyone rushes in horror. Tell the child it is all right or else you shatter the confidence of the child. Clean up when they are asleep.)
Outings are very nice, museums and zoos. Show them parks and gardens, but not the instruments of war. They are not to play with weapons.
Take them out and prepare them for the visit. Tell them what to expect. Tell them all about it. How to respect when they are out and how to respect visitors. Also how to say "Good morning", "Good evening", "Good night". [ ]
None of this "I like ". The children must enjoy sharing, giving. The enjoyment is giving.[ ]
Encourage them to feel part and parcel of the whole, that we are all one and they enjoy the collective oneness.[ ]
When the small child wants to do everything for herself (himself) then that is all right, as long as they are willing to do for others as well. So she pours her own her own breakfast thing, now she gives us something to eat. So the attention is diverted from themselves to others. Always interchanging, this is very important. Share their food with others. Make beds for others.
Everyone must talk to the children. Everyone should take an interest in the children, give them little presents.
Children should not be kissed too much. Not on their face (germs), top of their heads or the side is all right.
The person who is well groomed is the person who respects. This is the sign of a person who is respected. Not to make them manipulators. Make them more humble, sweet, flexible and loving.
They must develop alertness. Self centredness makes for dullness inside.
They must not compete. If they are going to compete in anything, then let it be in goodness, obedience, sweetness, caring. They could be more poised, more dignified.
The beauty part - how to look beautiful, not just neat. The surroundings must not be morbid; they must be decorative. Beauty in the West is artificial. Should be naturally beautiful, take to more natural things. For example, in India they wash with clay. It is good to walk barefoot on the grass, it makes better for eyesight and is good for the arches.
The hair - a little bit oiled at night. Gram flour for the face is better than soap. Bread in milk to wash their faces. This clears the skin very much. Natural things.
They should not have military-like dresses. Dresses should make them feel more dignified. They should be colourful, not grey. Flower prints are nice. Not squares for boys like prisoners. Make it more interesting for them so that they develop proper values in dressing. No regimentation. Lots of variety. Children must not wear black or dusty colour s (that look like they have had mud mixed in).
Don't use nail varnish, use henna to paint their nails (a natural product). Girls to wear bangles, it helps naturally become more like women. If a girl is trying to be like a man, bring her down to what she should be. No Jeans. [ ]
Have lots of music to develop their sense of rhythm and how to sing. It is important to sing in tune.
No dreamy airy-fairy world. Don't let them float about. Give them reality. They can be poets, but use real images like Blake did.
To appreciate others, look at dress from other countries. It would be nice to have a collection of dolls with all the different national costumes.[ ]
They should be like children. No need to make them adults in childhood. Adults manipulate. Develop the child's innocence.
They are creative at this age. Paint, for example: "Now let's make a picture of a Sahaja Yogi" and "And not a bad man. Now make flowers". Guidance. Not just anything they feel like! Otherwise later on they can't take instruction. Not a freelance business. They are not grown up. Give instruction and they learn to take it.
They must learn to please others, be gentle with others and their elders.
Punishment - never punish in public. Never shout, say things. Give them notice three times, then punish them a forth time and a fifth time in the presence of others.
Watch out for slyness. Don't allow cunningness or slyness at all. There is slyness and there is innocent mischief. Innocent mischief is very sweet. Slyness is hurting deliberately. Cunningness is starting to play games. Innocent mischief is good.
But they must not frighten others. For example, lizards or snakes, spiders, cockroaches, mosquitoes, bugs, these are bad animals - tell them. But sweet things like kittens and chicks. Dogs are nice but the ticks and parasites on them are bad. Tell them what is bad and what is good.
Tell them how thorns protect flowers; they are not inside the flower. Explain the story, how the thorn protect. It is a living thing.
Concern and care for others and sweet animals encouraged.
The children are innocent. Must be moral behaviour of elders. Not sleeping together, cuddling or kissing in front of the children. They get ideas at an early age. NO nudity. If they take off their panties: "Shame, shame, shame". Let the idea of shame come into their heads. [ ]
They should brush their teeth. Also rub their gums. [ ]
When they do sweet things, leave them, else they become self conscious. If our reactions are strong, it is shocking for them. Don't let them be suddenly shocked. It is more an encouragement to children to show them it is good, happy, peaceful world and they can grow up not to be nervous. Avoid stories of violence.
They are not to be given sharp things. Show them to be careful of sharp things like the corner of a metal table.
Let them have more slides and things in the garden.
There must be balance between loving and intelligence. Handle things lovingly and intelligently. Use intelligence to correct the misbehaving child but the child must know you love him.
The school building should be beautiful. The child develops his sense of aesthetics from the environment. The building could be artistic or ethnic but definitely the atmosphere should be dharmic.