Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Learning about God and Religion. What is the best way for parents to educate their children?


 Religion should ideally be learnt by ‘watching and participating’ with family members. That is why most religions have a baptism or name ceremony etc. early in life. This is the child’s first initiation into the customs of the religion and usually these are held in places of worship or conducted by priests. Religion like other important learning should be ‘known to unknown’ so the idea of religion should be given to children from the safe haven of ‘laps, hugs, bed time stories, celebrations’ etc.
Religion is understood in three ways by young minds, so be careful of what they are associating religion with, best to give kids a balanced view and perspective -
1.    Religion as a custom and tradition- so kids learn to touch feet of elders or do namaz or go to a temple and do aarti or light a candle etc.
2.    Religion as a moral police- kids learn about ‘God’ as the biggest ‘policeman’ so do not lie or god will be angry, or you will go to hell or heaven.
3.    Religion as a celebration- here kids look at the celebration aspect of the religion, so the festivals means social gatherings, material gains, food, money, and sometimes helping others as part of the celebration.

Religion and how a child is taught about religion can have a profound impact on the child’s view of the world and ability to respect others view points.
·      Positive impact of religion if taught correctly- then children grow up with a conscience, first governed by ‘pleasing god’ and then internalizing the process and making it a part of life and behavior.
·      If not taught correctly- then children grow up with biases against other religions, labeling others based on their religion. This can end up negatively impacting their life decisions both socially and emotionally. It can make them tyrants or bullies against people of another religion because they were brought up to think of them as bad. It can make them less empathetic and sympathetic towards people from these religions and can mar their ability to make friends, take wise decisions in life and even in their careers and jobs. It adds to the making the world a less tolerant place and will then lead to more religious terrorism.

Here are 8 simple things that parents should do to raise children that will grow up with a healthy attitude towards religion.

1.    Do not enroll kids in a school or educational institution that believes or practices only one religion. Even if it is your own.  This makes kids less tolerant and knowledgeable about other religions. Put them in religion classes if you want after school or Sunday school or Koran school.
2.    Expose kids to all faiths by telling them stories from all religions. The best way to do that is to celebrate all festivals that schools give as a holiday. Talk about the holiday, what festival is it, which religion celebrates it, how they celebrate it, why they celebrate, how it has evolved over the years and maybe a story related to the same. This will give children a healthy attitude towards all religions, cultures and celebrations and some basic knowledge about different gods and customs.
3.    Be careful about the myths and superstitions, as they should not be passed down, nor are they part of any religious texts.
4.    If you do not want the child to visit other religious places other than your own then make it clear to your child with the reason at the age that the child can understand. Till then make the rule clear to the adults taking care of the child.
5.    Do not use religion to create boundaries or teach morals or scare children into behaving. God should not be used for such things. When you use it like that with children then it can manifest itself as religious terrorism in adulthood. After all you used religion to terrorize into behaving then the learning will be used by children when they grow up to be young adults.
6.    As children become old enough to use social networking sites teach them not to ridicule, laugh, criticize any religion or comment or participate in any unhealthy posts, likes or forwards to do with religion. Religion is a private matter of the individual and the family and we should respect points of view.
7.    If both parents practice different religions then it is best that the child is exposed equally to both religions. Best if each parent or grandparent takes up the responsibility for their religion so as to give the child the right perspective and balance of both.
8.    Do not generalize based on religion, especially during family debates and discussions. We have a habit to even categorize and label animals, we say sly as a wolf etc. lets leave it to that. Let us not label a Hindu as this or a Muslim as that. Children must know that every Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Jew, Sikh etc. is different and just because one has made a mistake it does not mean the entire sect should be labeled.


 Parts of the above article have also been featured in a Mumbai Mirror article ‘Talking God’ by Nasrin Modak-Siddiqi, check it out on http://epaperbeta.timesofindia.com/Article.aspx?eid=31821&articlexml=Talking-God-03062015026016

32 comments:

jayshree shah said...

An awesome article for parents & others to educate their children about learning about God and religion.Points mentioned in articles really guides how to take care of educating children about religion.
A very sensitive topic to write about but really educator always bring changes in minds of public through article.This article is undoubtedly a transformation to bring change in preaching religion. Thank You

Jumbo Kids Kharghar said...

Thank you Ma'am for a nice article. It will be very helpful for parents, specially for them where both parents practice different religion.

Hema Mittal said...

A beautifully scripted article dealing with a very sensitive topic-RELIGION. This article depicts the spirit of secularism and that is what the young mind should be preached and nurtured to be. Beautiful tips for parents to foster this feeling of secularism in their children and making them grown up as all religion-tolerant adults.
Thank you Ma'am for the article and for making an effort in bringing a change in our perspective towards religion.

Kalpita Bhirud said...

Thank u ma'am for sharing such a wonderful and important article. I think all the parents should read and implement it. Celebrating all the festivals is the best way to teach children about the different religions

PJK Vadgaon said...

Thank you mam for sharing such a wonderful article on positive impact of religion if taught correctly and 8 simple things that parents should do to raise children that will grow up with a healthy attitude towards religion.

Tanvi Mody said...

I Ms.Tanvi Mody teacher of PJK Plus Vile Parle will like to thank you ma'am for sharing this blog with us.It is important to teach child to respect all religions.

shilpa said...

Best learning for all Parents.Happy to find pause some where we have got to improve specially concern of god and help child to guide to respect all religion these 8 delicate points really make us think how to make child grow best adult in his life thank you for the wonderful article.

Jumbo Kids Nashik said...

A very sensitive topic explained in such a simple way which will help parents to deal with ease. Thank you Ma'am for sharing this article.

Sarina Oberoi said...

RELIGION...is a very delicate and sensitive topic..Thank you maam for putting it across so well to parents who really find it difficult to explain and put it across to children. A much needed in todays times to develop tolerance and respect to each others views and beliefs.

Poonam Borade said...

I Ms. Poonam Borade teacher of PJK Plus Vile Parle. Thank you ma'am for sharing such a sensitive and important article. Everyone should read this article and should respect other religion as children imitate.

Vidish Kenia said...

A very well drafted topic which is very sensitive in nature and each parents need to adapt this thought process within themselves while dealing with his/her child.

vaishali joshi said...

Early years are very sensitive age. The way and matter teaching anything to the kids leaves longlife impacts on children personality. Thanks ma'am for sharing a positive way of teaching own religion to the kids. If religious practice gives us a strength; above mentioned ways of teaching religion will give children a positive attitude for all religion. Vaishali Joshi.

vaishali joshi said...

Early years are very sensitive age. The way and matter teaching anything to the kids leaves longlife impacts on children personality. Thanks ma'am for sharing a positive way of teaching own religion to the kids. If religious practice gives us a strength; above mentioned ways of teaching religion will give children a positive attitude for all religion. Vaishali Joshi.

PJK Vadgaonsheri 2 said...

thank you mam for such a wounderful article and this will really help the parents to educate the children about other religion and develop a positive attitude about all religion.

MRUNALINI SHINDE said...

Thank you ma'am for sharing this informative article, this will also help me to educate my kids in regards to such a sensitive topic.
Mrunalini PJK, Nashik

Kalpana Mahalwar said...

Religion is a very sensitive topic and young parents really find it difficult to explain to their children and also parents find it difficult to make the children understand and respect all the religion
This article will really lessen their burden and they will be able to guide their children .

Manju Joshi said...

Religion is a thing of faith which should not be taught in school. At this age as child may misunderstand. It is a very important blog who are part of education department.

Shivani Kanakia Vadodara said...

Indian culture has evolved under influence of several religions. The article upholds each one and shows a roadmap for educating children about religion in true Indian context. A must read article for all parents.

Bhosari Pjk said...

Thank you ma'am for sharing such a wonderful blog with us.This is definitely going to help parents to educate their kids.

Ashish Bodhankar said...

The points are good. This will help educate children about religion in India and world.

However, children should be made aware of religion just like science and math. They should be encouraged to enquire Why & How's of the customs. For example, why should you touch elder person's feet? why do we celebrate Eid or Diwali. Further, they should also be informed that this has changed altered over the years and nothing is right or wrong. We should help develop rational thinking, reasoning so that when they grow up they can take their own decisions.

Ideally it should be free of religion. Unfortunately it is going to take a lot of time.

Supervisor Jalpa said...

Respected Ma'am,
Thank You very much for sharing such an enlightening article.All the tips given in the article are very helpful for the parents to raise their children with a positive attitude towards all religions.

Supervisor Vruti said...

Thank You Ma'am for sharing such an important article on Religion. Its a new perspective for the parents to educate their children about various religions. It will help children to understand and value each others religion and beliefs.

Sonali Karmakar said...

Indeed religion should ideally be learnt by watching and participating with family members... This will help children know it better... It is important to value each others religion and parents must inculcate the same to their children at the early age... Thank you Ma'am for sharing such a wonderful article.

Sonali Karmakar said...

Indeed religion should ideally be learnt by watching and participating with family members... This will help children know it better... It is important to value each others religion and parents must inculcate the same to their children at the early age... Thank you Ma'am for sharing such a wonderful article.

Sonali Karmakar said...

Indeed religion should ideally be learnt by watching and participating with family members... This will help children know it better... It is important to value each others religion and parents must inculcate the same to their children at the early age... Thank you Ma'am for sharing such a wonderful article.

Pjk Baroda said...

Religion is one of the most sensitive issues and the cause of most of the global problems as it is handled wrongly most of the time. The right approach is absolutely necessary! It's high time we all be the change we want to see in the world.

Ramola Menezes said...

I Ms. Ramola Menezes teacher at PJK Plus Vile Parle would like to thank you maa'm for sharing this blog with us. This blog teaches us and parents the right way to teach children about religion.

janice gomes said...

I Ms. Janice Gomes teacher at.PJK Plus Vile Parle thank you ma'am for such an article which states to respect not only the religion we follow but respect other religions too.

Rekha Chauhan Jaipur said...

Religion is indeed a very sensitive issue,this blog teaches us the real meaning of religion and will help children know it better,Thank you for sharing such a wonderful article.

Ms.Manisha HM-PJK Bhusawal said...

Thank you ma'am for sharing an article which is one of the most sensitive issue. This blog teaches us how to inculcate respect to all the religion.
It is also a guide to all the parents as to how and when to talk about the religion with their children.

Archana Preeti said...

Thank You Ma'am for sharing such an important article on Religion

Sarina Oberoi said...

A very sensitive topic put across so well to understand the importance of each religion respect them all and project it in light to help the children grow up to be tolerant towards all religions.