Grandparents not only help your children learn the lessons of life, they also teach them the significant nuances of religion. – By Pallavi singhOm bhur bhuvah swaha, tat saviturr varenyam, bhargo devasya dhimahi, dhiyo yo nah prachodayat.
These lines from Gayatri Mantra come automatically to me whenever I want to thank God for something, request him to help me out through tough times or when I am unable to sleep in the dead of the night.
And how do you think I repose absolute trust in these magical words? Its all courtesy to my naani ma with whom I spent the better part of my childhood. The one thing I swear by is that grandparents are the best teachers when it comes to inculcating religious values and beliefs in a child.
Importance of Grandparents in children’s Life:
1. Practice makes a man perfect:
Grandparents have been practicing a certain set of religious doctrines and celebrating a plethora of religious festivals such as Holi, Diwali, Dussehra, Id-ul-Fitr, Christmas, or Guru Nanak Jayanti over the years. They know the significance of the occasions and the correct way of celebrating them. It, therefore, makes them an ideal figure for inculcating religious values in your children. Children will only learn when they have someone who is a dedicated teacher.
2. Gentle is thy name:
Grandparents teach the kids to think of religion as something that has a calming effect on everyone. They tell them how religion is a useful device for seeking answers to the questions that life throws in. They make them aware how beneficial religion a tool is and how it can make individuals gentle and calm when dealing with difficult situations.
3. Example is the key:
All religious texts are full of examples where God has been a benefactor, a superhero having helped human beings out of crisis and bad times. Grandparents who are generally a storehouse of great learning and patience, having lived the journey called life for sufficient number of years can be very good when it comes to narrating examples of how God has been the saviour of mankind in ways more than one.
4. Learning by following:
Even if grandparents don’t preach whom to pray or why to pray, children can learn just by following in their footsteps. For example, I always saw my grandmother waking up at the crack of the dawn, cleaning the puja room, bathing the deities, picking up fresh marigold and rose flowers from the backyard garden, lighting the lamps, making an alpana in the puja room, organising the puja thaal with sweets, flowers, agarbattis, chandan, haldi and kumkum before starting her prayers to the deities and the gurujis she believed in. The sight of my grandmother praying was so soothing that as a child, I began to love the entire act of praying. Therefore, kids definitely learn by merely following the elders.
5. Watching is believing:
Most grandparents in Indian homes have a certain religious ritual. It could be watering the Tulsi plant, offering water to the Sun God, lighting a diya or agarbatti after taking morning bath, chanting mantras or even performing an aarti after their morning bath and before they have their first meal of the day.
A kid born and brought up in such an environment is sure to learn and adopt some of the rituals. He will inherit some value system by watching elders perform such rituals. A child who grows up in a Muslim household, for instance, learns to perform namaaz, observe fast during the holy month of Ramadan because he has been seeing it happen in the household.
Of rewards and honours Grandparents tell us constantly that God helps those who help themselves. Grandparents tell children how studies, if combined with obeisance to God, can help them achieve what they secretly desire. My grandmother would tell me that if you pray to God, he will fulfill all your wishes. I started believing her to the extent that before and after any exams, or before the announcement of school’s annual results, I would bow before the Lord in absolute surrender. And every time I got good scores, I always thought that it was God’s blessings because I was never too sure if the marks were a result of my contribution or was it God’s magic hands.
6. Truly knowledgeable:
Given that grandparents are well-versed in religious texts such as Ramayana, Geeta, or the Holy
Quran, it makes sense that they pass on the knowledge to the younger generation. My father-in-law, for example, remembers words from the holy books and often in his conversation with the kids, recites various shlokas that are appropriate to the situation while explaining the meaning of the same to them. This way, the kids understand the significance of the Holy Scriptures and begin to appreciate them over a period of time. The purpose is solved at the end of the day, a lesson is learnt.