The birth of a child proceeds from a divine source. When a child springs into life it has all Nature behind it, and the whole glory of the living Universe. It begins its life not as a new creation, but as an old soul coming into this world out of the past having lived time and time and time again. Thus there are endless possibilities in this new life; wisdom gained in ancient lives which may manifest itself at anytime during its new life-time. Yet at the same time, the newly reincarnated soul is closed in on all sides, held in by the physical and psychological influences of the age born into, and of the experiences and belief system of the parents.
Parents are relatively inadequate when it comes to dealing with growing children. If there are any spiritual problems affecting children at any time, it is likely the fault of the parents. The parents do not err from lack of love, but from not viewing their children as souls. Kahil Gibran, in his book, "The Prophet" reminds us:
...Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of life's longing
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong
not to you.
Nature never leaps in Her unfolding Drama of Evolution. She moves ever so gradually, building upon that which was previously built. Human character follows this deliberate course of Nature, and does not change over night. Consequently, even contrary to popular belief, children are no worse and no better then where their parents, and the same fundamental problems of human character that face their parents face them. For instance, a child's mind is very susceptible to suggestion, and it is within this universal aspect of a child's character that all manner of problems can be spawned. For example, a mother will often unconsciously fan the vanity of her small daughter by too much concentration on her outward appearance; flattering the outer self and personal pride, while stunting the impersonal dignity, which is the soul side. These seeds sown in childhood, selfishness, vanity and false pride, blossom when the child becomes a young woman and leaves the protection of her home. Though the outward beauty and charm may remain, the better part of the young woman's nature has receded because it found no place in her mind to work and grow. The foes of her own household had conquered and occupied all her mentality, and she moves into danger. The mother and daughter blame everyone but themselves because neither had been taught anything about her real nature or how to recognize and oppose the enemy within.
Besides being susceptible to suggestion, a child loves the ideal, the beautiful, what strikes it as strong and grand. This universal characteristic easily leads a child into hero-worship. How many parents have witnessed the ease and accuracy of their child imitating the attitude and behavior of a person whom the child views, in some way, as a hero? There isn't anything that fascinates the mind of a child so much as a striking example.
These insights into a child's fundamental character most probably, do not surprise anyone, for they are familiar characteristics and easily recognizable. Given these widely recognized and understood characteristics of children, common sense says that the best practice in bringing up growing children is to set good examples. A striking example seen daily before a child's eye is worth years of talking, preaching, training, and years and years of reading books that are stuck under their nose.
Thus the best practice that parents can follow in bring up their children is to set good, sound examples of how to live. Usually parent's try the practice of preaching at their children, giving them brain-mind schemes to do this, and schemes to do that, all of which the child sees as, 'Do as I say, not as I do." This kind of practice will only result in developing the same ethical inconsistences of the parents into the child.
Where should a parent set the good example? It should be set in the home. What examples should the parents set;? examples of courtesy and kindness. Let the child see daily examples of unremitting kindness and courtesy at home. What does that involve? In involves self-control, and actual desire to be kindly and courteous to others. This is a wonderful discipline which a child understands and admires, and these things are not forgotten. In a home where there are lackadaisical conditions, small acts of selfishness, i.e. taking the easiest chair, better light, larger portions, a child becomes lackadaisical, unambitious to improve, discourteous to others because too lazy to be courteous. Besides setting examples of kindness and courteous, parents should talk to their children as reasoning beings, and not as none-reasoning beings. Bribing a child is an act which degrades its responsibility. The child despises in its heart those actions that their parents do in order to win acquiescence. What kind of love is the parent fostering by such actions?
Parents make your homes centers of kindness and courtesy, and your children will sense it, see it, and copy it, and they will learn as they copy, that it takes self-control to do it, to give up what I want in order to do a courteous act to others. They will begin to see and feel that others have got the same feeling that they have, that others too admire kindness and courtesy, promoting the feeling of fellowship. Than the old idea of children honoring their parents well become instinctive, born in the hearts and minds of your children, and not some obligation, duty or commend, because they have seen their parents honor, honor, respect, respect, and revere, reverence.