Q: All kids encounter stress in their lives to varying degrees, and despite our best efforts as parents we can’t always protect them. Kids get sick, they have to move schools and environments, deal with bullies, cyber bullies, exams and tests. They may face family breakups and grief due to loss. On top of all this, we also live in a fast-paced world, where we want quick solutions to problems. But this is the time to pause and think of how we can do the best for our children.
Naomi, welcome and how are you today?
I’m doing well, thank you, and I’m delighted to be here with you.
Q: Awesome, so let’s get started. The first question is: What are the basic tenets of your philosophy for raising children, and why emotionally resilient?
Where I depart from the mainstream way of parenting is that I am not into shaping children and making them. I hold children as creation (if you’re religious that means God, otherwise Nature) and they are perfect creations just as they are. So my whole approach is about allowing children to be rooted in themselves rather than in what we want for them. Parents want children to learn this, to be there, to sleep in their own room; all this “wanting” for our children. We cannot chew food for another person, we cannot breathe for another person, and likewise we cannot want for another person. A baby is a time bomb. It’s a grown-up in a small body with its potential not yet unfolded. We need to know the limitations, but we need to respect them like we respect God. This is not our making. So that’s the main difference in my philosophy. It’s not permissiveness, it’s not license. We still need to guide and be leaders, but we need to be leaders who enable children to unfold who they already are.
I always use the analogy of watering a flower so it will bloom – not so that it blooms your way, your color, or to your timing. It’s already in the design. They’re going to walk at a certain time, they’re going to talk at a certain time, they're going to sleep by themselves at a certain time, they’re going to read at a certain time – anytime between age four and thirteen or fourteen. It makes no difference later on. Whether children learn to walk at one or two, we all learned to walk at different times and talk at different times. Einstein didn’t talk until he was four. What difference does it make once we’re unfolding ourselves into adults? And in terms of resilience, again, with the utmost reverence and spiritual recognition of who a baby, a child, a human being is, they are born resilient.
Our job is not to ruin that. And unfortunately, we ruin it a lot. We get in the way, and then, when it’s ruined and things aren’t going well, we ask, “Gee, what do we do? Our child is doing this.” And then we are convinced that we have to shape them because we unshaped them to a point where it’s not working. My teaching is about nurturing who is already there, not shaping them; watering the flowers, not painting the color of the petals or telling them when to come out.
Let me say a little bit about how we do harm. What do we do? Well, we’re taking the inner power of the child and we’re destroying it in many ways. We give messages to children that their inner voices are somehow wrong. They have to do what we say, not what they say to themselves. It starts in babyhood – that’s why I always say that everything I teach is from babyhood to adulthood, because it’s the same principle.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Discovering the Self: The Art of Removing and Creating Habits
Daaji continues his series on refining habits, in the light of Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga and current scientific and yogic principles and practices. This month he shares his insights on the fourth Niyama, swadhyaya, which means self-study and self-awareness. It is one of the fundamental pillars of emotional intelligence.
A Formula for Inner Strength
François Bouderlique shares some very practical ideas on how we can move forward toward a “new normal” in our post-Covid world. They are not new ideas, instead coming from the timeless wisdom of two great sages from India, Swami Vivekananda and Ram Chandra.
Beyond Traditional and Modern
JYOTI BHATT is a celebrated and awarded artist, best known for his work in painting and printmaking, as well as his photographic accounts of rural Indian culture and folk art. He and his colleagues founded the “Baroda School” of Indian art. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 2019, and has been honoured with five Lifetime Achievement Awards. In August 2021 he had a conversation with ANANYA PATEL, musing about his life and his art. Excerpts from that conversation are presented in this 2-part series, along with some of his work.
Heartful Communication: Listening with the Intent to Understand
In this 3-part series, LIZ KINGSNORTH introduces the value of effective communication, the basic principles of Heartful Communication, and how it can guide our understanding of our personal feelings and needs, and the feelings and needs of others, ultimately leading to a more consistent state of harmony. In part 3, Liz shares how listening can be a powerful and empathetic tool of communication.
The Biology of Time
DR. SATCHIN PANDA is a leading expert in the field of circadian rhythm research. He is Associate Professor in the Regulatory Lab at the Salk Institute, a Pew Scholar, and a recipient of the Dana Foundation Award in Brain and Immune System Imaging. His book, The Circadian Code, has helped many people to regain their energy, sleep well and lose weight. Here he is interviewed by UDAY KUMAR on how he developed the ideas in his book, and what inspired his research.
Ancient Wisdom On Nature And The Climate Crisis
DR. ASLAM PARVAIZ is a teacher with a passion. Coming from the Islamic tradition, he integrates the wisdom of the Quran with a scientific attitude toward Nature, the environment, and our responsibility as human beings. In November 2020, DR. PARVAIZ was interviewed by ELIZABETH DENLEY and KAMBIZ RAVAN from the Heartfulness Institute.
How to Nurture Your Children's Inner Strengths
ANNIE MURPHY PAUL is a journalist and author whose books include Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of our Lives, The Cult of Personality Testing, and The Extended Mind: The Power of Thinking Outside the Brain. In part 2 of this interview by UDAY KUMAR, she speaks more about interoception and self-awareness, and how gestures and physical expressions are as important as verbal communication in helping our children to learn.
We Are All Indigenous Global Citizens
WAKANYI HOFFMAN is a Global Education Specialist and founder of the African Folktales Project. Here, she speaks with SARA BUBBER about the value of storytelling and passing down wisdom through generations, her Kikuyu culture, and how all of us are indigenous people contributing to the world.
What Are Our Feelings Telling Us? Heartful Communication
In this 3-part series, Liz Kingsnorth introduces the importance of effective communication, some principles of Heartful Communication, and how we can better understand our personal feelings and longings, and the feelings and longings of others. In Part 2, Liz explores why we think and behave the way we do, giving examples of how our communication will improve as a result of this understanding.
CHANGE IS THE ULTIMATE CREATIVITY
UPAMA RAJASEKHAR is a Brighter Minds facilitator. Here, PURNIMA RAMAKRISHNAN meets with her and some of the children she facilitates in the program, to learn firsthand about their experiences.
DOES YOUR LAPTOP FEEL SLUGGISH? - TRY THESE 9 THINGS BEFORE YOU GIVE UP
DON’T DITCH THAT AGING LAPTOP UNTIL YOU TRY THESE SPEED-BOOSTING TRICKS FIRST.
Unpatched Office attack reminds us: Don't click on risky docs
An attacker will have to convince you to click on the document as well as turn off Protected View.
HAS A CYBERSTALKER TAKEN OVER YOUR LIFE? HERE'S HOW TO GET IT BACK
Picture this: You enter your house and find a stranger (or an enemy) sitting at your kitchen table chowing down on your leftover potato salad and reading your mail. You order him out, but before long, he’s back.
A 350-MILE OFFSHORE ISN’T EVERYONE’S IDEA OF RELAXATION, BUT SWEDEN’S GOTLAND RUNT PROVED THE PERFECT TONIC FOR NIKKI HENDERSON
DON McLEAN KID LOSES $3M SLICE OF PIE!
Disinherited after trashing angry father
How to replace the cylinder head gasket in a Willys Go Devil flathead engine
John Tarahteeff’s paintings take you somewhere new, yet familiar. You don’t entirely know where it is, but it feels like you’ve been there before.
I tried to love the Touch Bar but now I'm ready for it to go away
Apple needs to bring Center Stage to the Mac ASAP.
iClever BTH13 headphones for kids: Sonically safer for junior
Never mind the pink-and-blue color scheme or the flashing lights. These are legitimate headphones with good sound that also rein in the volume.
FUN with FRIDGE MAGNETS
Have a micro-blast turning precious scrap into useful hangers-on