Protecting Children from Bad influence

Tips from an expert parent.

Our son Mohan is 11 years old and now in Standard VI. We are afraid about the bad influences that schools bring to children.  Kindly advice us about how we can protect him from such bad influence and raise him as a good devotee.

Question from concerned parents.

Protecting Children

Aruddha replies: Since home schooling your son is not possible, you could encourage him to attend the temple functions, evening aratis and some classes. However, don’t push him too hard; he may become negative. Instead encourage and trick him by letting him participate in events such as dramas, doing some volunteer work during festivals, etc. You can teach him how to play mrdanga or harmonium so that he can participate in temple or home programs in an active way.

Good firm friendship with adult devotees and other good devotee friends of his age will also keep him away from mundane attractions that he will pick up from his school friends. When sannyasis and gurus visit the local temple you can invite them to your house so that he gets a chance to associate with them in a personal way thereby receiving a lot of mercy from them. One day he may be willing to travel with them on short trips.

Keeping a devotional envi ronment at home will also be helpful. Since he cannot attend a full morning program at the temple because of his school schedule, you can have a short one at home for him so that he can start the day right. Also do an evening arati at home or temple. He will learn by your good example. Please do not turn on the television; it could be detrimental for his spiritual life, even though the show may appear harmless. You can encourage him to read a book on the subject instead. Teach him why eating only prasada is important. All this you should do in a loving manner, not forced.

You can do some chanting in the evening with some reading and discussion from Prabhupada’s books as a family together. Sometimes you can discuss with him the events at school so that you can teach him how to discriminate between the good and the bad through logic and philosophy of the scriptures.

The children at this age are easily influenced by their surroundings; their consciousness may drift away due to non devotee association. However, if you keep his daily discipline of worshipping Deities, some chanting, morning and evening program, reading some scriptures together with you this will help keep his devotional mood.

Aruddha Devi Dasi is a disciple of His Holiness Gopala Krsna Gosvami Maharaja. She home schooled her two children in USA, where she resides with her family.

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