Peaceful Childrearing

I really enjoy your teachings and books. I understand the things you speak of in your many books because I have experienced them myself. Life is a beautiful journey. I have just read “Peace is the Way”. It is a wonderful book. One thing that concerns me is something I read on page 151 of “Peace is the Way”. It concerns me because you are a great spiritual leader and you are showing many the way, speaking to their souls so that they may realize that what they are seeking is within themselves. The statement you made regarding the religious relationship some have to God, saying that “Basically, this is the relationship of a child to a parent. In the family setting reward and punishment work, since children need to be taught the lessons of right and wrong.” Deepak, I know you are not immersed in raising your children now so maybe you have forgotten a fundamental and vital detail. Honoring children is so important because it shows them how to honor themselves, others and their environment. Children should not be coerced, as this teaches coercion. The root cause of every act of violence among humans in the history of humanity is one person or a group of people believing he/she or they had the right to impose his/her or their will upon another. If we impose our will upon our children by the use of punishment or rewards of any kind, we are teaching them that they have the right to impose their will upon others. Children should be talked to, cared for and shown to listen to their inner-guidance. That is the discerning factor for determining right and wrong. It is so important for humanity to abandon any kind of power-over relationships with anyone, including children. In doing this, we can help not only ourselves get over our many personal issues, but we can help future generations be even more capable of the wonderful changes that
we envision. As Gandhi said, “There is no way to peace, peace is the way”. This does not exclude the relationships we have with our children. There must be so much to writing books, there is no way to get all the pertinent concepts across. I just want to raise this to your attention and I am hoping that this will be food for thought for you in future dialog you write or engage in, regarding one of the most important interactions we have that pertains directly to peace- the interactions we have with children. I have heard you say that when your children were young, you told them to do what makes them happy. I think you understand what I am saying and probably practiced it when you were raising your children. So much begins with our children, they are a vital part that can change the world for the better. They understand so much and unlike us, children can provide a fresh look at things, ideas of ways of doing thing that we adults are not capable of imagining. We can learn so much from them by treating them as the equals that they are. By partnering with our children, walking through life step-by-step with them, discussing matters fully, adults and children can make better decisions. This helps us all learn ways of understanding all sides of conflicts. The wonderful child-advocate, John Holt, said that children are our greatest assets. They truly are. Thank you so much for your time and thank you for the great work that you do.