‘The art of personality: The Sufi message for child development’

The greatest ethics is friendliness, which culminates in generosity. Brain comes later; It is the domain of Religions to evolve the most profound qualities of heart like kindness, says Hazrat Inayat Khan. He continues: The great fault of modern education is that it has missed teaching the lesson of unselfishness. A selfish person is a disappointment to others, and a disadvantage to himself. Mankind is interdependent, and the happiness of each depends upon the happiness of all. And it is this lesson that humanity has to learn today as the first and last lesson.

Education to be mentors: Today the foundation of home education is lacking and only school education is given. In the total scheme of life, all elders have to be like parents to the younger; and the younger have to be like children to the elders; thus, each of us have our elders to look up to and the younger to look after. The greatest ideal is look up to one’s parents; and the Prophet advised one to follow this first ideal. If the youth don’t follow the first ideal, look up to their parents, don’t appreciate them or feel grateful to them how could they appreciate the Prophet. It is the parents’ duty to give that ideal of themselves to their own child.

The best way for a mother to educate a child is to train herself to be a mentor. The calmness, tenderness, gentleness, the mother cultivates in her nature, the child receives. It is at this time regularity, punctuality, a rhythm can be imbibed. Music is the basis of the whole creation, what we call music is a miniature of the original music, which is creation itself, expressed in tones and rhythm. The Hindus call this tone, sound, Nada Brahman, Sound-Creator. Rhythmic regularity in life is the rhythm of life (Rtm) and the more it is maintained the better. The Quran says there is a time for everything.

In was much better when children had freedom, happiness to express themselves, to play as they wished. To keep a silence is also an activity and after some time children learn to like it and enjoy silence, though initially they may be eager to play.

The key of religion: The main object of a religion is to elevate the child to the higher God ideal. A child is often more responsive to this key. It is difficult to conceive it later but it cannot be given thru’ philosophy! Once a nurse questioned how to answer if a child asks, if God is in heaven above, then why must I bow low to the earth? Yes, he is above but his feet are on earth and by bending towards earth we’re touching His feet! Similarly, does Santa Claus exist? All that the mind can conceive exists. If it doesn’t exist on the physical plane, it exists in the sphere of mind!

Ideals: At the age of seven the child is ready to conceive ideals. First ideal should be of respectful attitude towards its elders, but not just as a convention; when it comes from within, it gives joy to others and it brings joy to oneself. Once the prophet heard his children calling a servant by name, and he said, he is older to you so call him uncle. Such a child will grow up having a friendly outlook and a respectable attitude; strangers will understand from child’s manner what family they belong to and their education and training! The tendency to argue, to hit back, to refuse, to disobey, if allowed to grow they are enemies of the child. Sense of pride, of honor and Self-respect come to those who have respect for another. And regard is a realization of the sacredness of the relation in which there is joy, beauty, blessings. Next inspire the ideal of thoughtful in speaking, acting. Fifthly, the child is to be inspired by the spiritual Ideal, ideal of the unknown, unseen, God-ideal. The primary cause of the loss of all finer principles in the education given today is that it has left out this ideal.

Early childhood is like the soil ready for sowing and the greatest opportunity to sow the seeds of righteousness in the heart of the child. Perseverance, patience, endurance are traits to be acquired. The child should be helped to feel love and respect with nature, its rhythm; learn from plant life from birds, insects. To be familiar with nature is to be on the path of philosophical truth. Next is to acquaint the child with customs of the country, place where he lives, its meaning, its suggestions, benefits. Of people of the country. What they were, what they’re, their characteristics, tendencies, aspirations; let the child imagine what it would like its world to be. We should acquaint the child with his own family, its genealogy, from whence it came. It gives the child an opportunity to enquire further into life, where it has come from; and in the end it will come to the conception of the source, which is the source of all. And knowing, exploring his source will in reality lead the child to God and enable it to control life better. And, in this way it will find that the whole humanity is a family; and, we all meet in the same place, where we have come from. Such a child when grown will not be narrow but will have a broad outlook.

These are universal truths expressed by all sincere spiritual seekers, irrespective of their religious belief. It is time we realize that education must have a spiritual orientation to create mentors who can be selfless leaders of society.



Views expressed above are the author’s own.



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