Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
Welcome home! Please contact lincoln@newbuddhist.com if you have any difficulty logging in or using the site. New registrations must be manually approved which may take up to 48 hours. Can't log in? Try clearing your browser's cookies.

Learning kids about Buddhism...

NamadaNamada Veteran
edited September 2013 in Buddhism Basics
Hi Folks

I`am just wondering how you are learning kids/your children about Buddhism?

I think the most important is to be a good role model in everyday life, and show a good personality
towards them and other people, and not push them to much. But gradually learn them new and important things
when they are ready for it.

But what is also challenging for parents and kids, are what we have to confront everyday, they are propped with violent games and they also get easily addicted to tv games if you don`t pay attention all the time. This threat you will find everywhere, if not in your home, they have a friend/cousin with playstation3/wee/PC. They can stay there and play, hour after hour, and you have to jump in and stop them. Maybe it was more easy before when kids where outside running around and using their imagination, playing with stones and sticks..





Comments

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    edited September 2013
    I have 3 kids, boys, 16, 11 and almost 5. We talk about things as they apply and as they come up. They'll ask what I believe happens after death, and other such things kids wonder about. I explain what I believe and then we often talk about what others believe. I don't really sit them town and teach them, though I have a good book of parables that is Buddhist that a friend gave me that is really wonderful. There are a lot of really good kid's books out there, actually. I mostly just try to practice on a regular basis as far as by example, but I do teach them to meditate to learn how to calm themselves and such things, too. We have dedicated "quiet time" every day, and they really enjoy that.

    As far as games and tv, my kids have always had "tech time" limits. It includes tv (except family movie nights) tablets, video games and computer/internet. They get 1 hour on school days, 2 hours on weekends/summer. Homework doesn't count as part of their time though, lol. It works pretty well. They once in a while complain other kids don't have limits, but they really just accept it as part of life in our house, just like quiet time. There are some exceptions to the tech time if we are having a really horrible weather day where getting out isn't possible, but they never spend hours and hours doing any of that stuff. If they complain they are bored, they get chores to do, so they don't complain often, lol. They are sent outside to play every day, year round, unless the weather is dangerous.
    Namada
  • Thanks for your post :)

    very good limits Karasti, i will also introduce these "tech limits" to my son. He had limits before, but not like "1 hour and that's it" :)

    Quiet time, is it like, don`t speak or make one sound in 30 minutes?

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    Quiet time is more like "it's important for everyone to take time to calm their minds and their emotions. I like to meditate, but if you like to just sit quiet and read, that is ok too." It is more so just to not give them the idea that they need to be busy or entertained all the time. That just being, is ok. My 16 year old makes less noise during quiet time than the 5 year old does, for example. It's not so much about expecting them to be quiet, but for them to learn how to be quiet, and to enjoy the benefits of it.
    Bunks
  • Namada said:

    Hi Folks

    I`am just wondering how you are learning kids/your children about Buddhism?

    I think the most important is to be a good role model in everyday life, and show a good personality
    towards them and other people, and not push them to much. But gradually learn them new and important things
    when they are ready for it.

    But what is also challenging for parents and kids, are what we have to confront everyday, they are propped with violent games and they also get easily addicted to tv games if you don`t pay attention all the time. This threat you will find everywhere, if not in your home, they have a friend/cousin with playstation3/wee/PC. They can stay there and play, hour after hour, and you have to jump in and stop them. Maybe it was more easy before when kids where outside running around and using their imagination, playing with stones and sticks..





    Being a good role model of course is important. Some kids learn by watching. But in the case when they don't, they have to be taught instead. Instructions from parents are all very important whether we like it or not. Kids have to be taught in all ways possible all the time less they are taught by others whose thoughts may not to be your liking.
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    Namada said:

    Hi Folks

    I`am just wondering how you are learning kids/your children about Buddhism?


    I'm sorry, I have to say it.

    You TEACH.

    They LEARN.

    Living life as wisely and to the best of your conscious, volitional ability is the best way to teach anyone about anything.
    Buddhism - unlike the majority of other religions - does not rely on some unseen benefactor(s) to wield a stick of judgement, to decide whether a follower has been 'bad' or 'good'. (Both of which are subjective anyway....)

    Buddhism, to put it extremely simply, is a set of wholesome guidelines and recommendations for how you can choose to live, and by making certain wise and loving choices, live well and happily.
    These wholesome guidelines and recommendations can be applied to all, every and any circumstance - even those involving choices hinging on other religiously-based factors.

    Buddhism is like clean, sparkling, unsullied mountain spring-water: It adapts itself to whichever environment it finds itself in, without losing any of its clarity or purity.
    Victorious
  • federica said:


    I'm sorry, I have to say it.

    You TEACH.

    They LEARN.

    You obviously haven't traveled to the southern US. :screwy:
    MaryAnne
  • I have to say, as a kid I REALLY loved video games lol but my dad did something really interesting when we were young, that made us active and challenged us, and still allowed us to play video games.

    My parents didn't want my brother and me to be playing video games all the time, so he STRICTLY enforced the rules he set. We would get a set amount of time per week to play video games (they were maybe a couple hours or more). He would tell us, if we want more, we can play tennis with him, or play some kind of sports, or do chores and instead of getting money for it, we'd substitute it for some video game time. And if we played him in sports, we can bet him game time, and if we won, we'd get double the amount that we bet, and if we lost, we'd lose the time. And it made us very active, and it was pretty rewarding in a way lol. And he was very strict with the time he gave us, if we went over the time, or he came home one day and we were on it, he'd take the video games away and hide them for a week or so.

    I think you need to MAKE your kids active. Get them into sports and make sure you MAKE it fun for them. When we were young, we played soccer AND baseball, and our dad was either coach or assistant coach, and him being around us and giving us guidance, was what made it even better. I think you need to step in and make sure your kids know it's not okay to be on the video games all the time, and take control of them.
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    You can't teach kids something without also setting the example yourself. You can preach compassion to them until you are blue in the face, but if they don't see it from you, they will be less likely to use it. When I said lead by setting an example, I didn't mean not to talk to them about those examples. You need to do both. And there is a time and place for formal instruction if you so desire and have the ability, but pushing kids into that environment can also backfire. I was forced to go to vacation bible school and I absolutely hated it, yet I had to go every year. I was forced into a lot of things about my parents beliefs (which had far more to do with going to church than it did learning about the teachings) and the second I had the opportunity to reject it and rebel against it, that's exactly what I did. They would have been better off performing the examples of forgiveness and love your neighbor and so on than forcing me to color pictures of Jesus at bible camp. When we have retreats here, Friday is always kids day, and I always give my kids the option to come but I don't force them.
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    riverflow said:

    federica said:


    I'm sorry, I have to say it.

    You TEACH.

    They LEARN.

    You obviously haven't traveled to the southern US. :screwy:
    Or isn't aware that some people have English as a second language.

  • ^ @vinlyn, I know, that's the first thing I thought when I read the topic's heading....
  • Its correct i do have English as a second language ;)

    teaching would be the correct word.
  • Fredricia say:

    You TEACH.

    They LEARN.

    Anyway teachers also learn from kids how to be a better teacher, so its dualistic for
    both parts.
  • VictoriousVictorious Grim Veteran
    riverflow said:

    federica said:


    I'm sorry, I have to say it.

    You TEACH.

    They LEARN.

    You obviously haven't traveled to the southern US. :screwy:
    Aint federica English? In all fairness you must admit they did invent the language!

    /Victor
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    Conscious that my preliminary comment had potential to steer the discussion off-topic:

    Firstly, I'm perfectly aware that many people on here do not have English as a first language. More than most, I would say.

    Secondly, nobody responding, prior to my post, had pointed out the grammatical error.
    Hence the 'apology'.

    Thirdly, where, in my comment, was any criticism insinuated or hinted at?
    I corrected the error, with no reproach or insult. It was never intended to criticise, it was intended merely to inform.
    Namada said:

    Fredricia say:

    You TEACH.

    They LEARN.

    Anyway teachers also learn from kids how to be a better teacher, so its dualistic for
    both parts.

    (It's 'Federica'....:) )

    Fourthly, it doesn't matter who's learning: kid from teacher, or vice-versa.
    There are those who teach, and there are those who learn.
    People may be interchangeable. The terms are not...


    Lastly, such errors are not confined to 'Southern US'.

    Many of my fellow pupils at school in the UK, would ask me, for example, if they 'could lend my pencil' (meaning, 'borrow'....)
    I would respond: "To whom are you going to lend it, exactly?"

    (And @Victorious, it's "Ain't".... :p :D )

    Hope that clarifies matters.... ;)

    Back to topic, thanks!
    Victorious
  • Everyone knew what the question meant. I'd have thought more than any other forum on the internet that you'd have let it just go. I expect this of most parts of the internet but not here, no grammar police necessary!

    Back on topic...

    I have thought in the past about how I might encourage my kids to be 'Buddhist'. They know that Buddhism exists and that it is something I'm interested in but not really any more than that. Bearing in mind that I only discovered Buddhism last year aged 31, I don't think it is important for children to associate with it. Once I discovered Buddhism I realised that it was the philosophy I had been living my whole life by without even knowing it. Teach children the good values you might associate with Buddhism and let them develop themselves. The right time will either present itself or they will discover the path naturally as I did. This may not be the way in traditional Buddhist parts of the world where children are brought up Buddhist, but in the Western world we have different views of religion and to be Buddhist is somewhat going against the grain. Teach the virtuous characteristics and not the religion.
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    Been here since 2005.
    I'm famous for it.

    Further comments should be confined to PMs.
    As I suggested, indeed: back to topic.
  • VictoriousVictorious Grim Veteran
    federica said:


    (And @Victorious, it's "Ain't".... :p :D )

    I knew you would not be able to resist.

    :D .

    Enough already. I submit and await enlightement on learning kids...or teaching kids...

    Now I really do not know what I mean with that anymore. Bugger.

    Anyway I have two of my own and I am the only Buddhist in the household or village for that matter. And what to teach them has been a serious issue for me.

    I have decided that I will teach them naturally. That is I will continue my practise and when they ask or want to participate I will answer and let them.

    No pushing but no leaning away either.

    The hardest part for me is that I live in an environment that is pretty far from Sri Lanka. In nothern Sweden an entirely other skillset is needed. For Skateing and Skiing I am currently relying on family and friends to teach my kids. (because of my problematic knees).

    And I am wondering what to do about fishing and hunting. I hope I can escape that but I am not sure...sigh.

    But it also feels like cheeting my kids not to support such interests if they begin to want to do it because hunting and fishing is sometimes still a way of bringing food to the table here.

    /Victor
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    @Victorious I live in northern MN, but most of the people here are Finnish in background. Now Sweden, but same mentality as far as the outdoors and hunting/fishing.
    The key is no matter what you believe, you have to allow the possibility that your kids will believe different, either of their own volition or because of involvement of other people they know in such activities. Most young kids tend to trend more towards "don't hurt animals, don't eat them!" naturally, so you can encourage that mindset if you wish. I try to keep a balance, just because even if they opt not to hunt/fish, we have many, many family members that do (for food, not for trophy) and I don't want them to grow up feeling bad about their relatives.
    I was raised in a family that hunted, fishes and trapped. But I was still taught a great respect for life and small rituals/prayers that can be done/said in the event of taking a life to sustain my own. I was never forced to hunt or fish if I didn't want to. I mostly do the same with my kids. That all beings deserve to live. They help catch bugs in the house and release them. They try to prevent problems rather than kill the animals (mosquitoes for example) but that in the event we take a life, we take that seriously and we appreciate what it means. Including for the meals on our tables, whether we caught/hunted them ourselves, or not.
    Remember Buddhism is about Middle Way, too, not strict adherence for the sake of adhering. If your kids show a strong interest in hunting, then perhaps you will have to ask family to help with that as well if you do not wish to do so because of your beliefs. But just as with parents of any religion there is a chance your kids will not grow up with your religious belief set. And that is ok. They aren't rejecting you or the way you find right. They are only finding their own way, like we all do. You will help them a lot in life by respecting that and not causing them conflict by requiring them to be like you.
  • VictoriousVictorious Grim Veteran
    @karasti thank you for the input. That is actually how I intend to play it at the moment. I will not stand in their way. Its their life, I put them here and I owe it to them to empower them the best I can. If they show apptitude for hunting and fishing and I can not avoid it I will go so far as to take up these things myself.

    How old are your kids? And where is MN? Minnesota? Finnish are tough no nonsense kind of people. I like them much. One of my best friends here is Finnish. And a Buddhist but he does not know it yet. :) .

    /Victor
  • Straight_ManStraight_Man Gentle Man Veteran
    MN is Minnesota, yes. In the USA. State name.
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    Sorry about the abbreviation! I should have thought to type it out for you, I didn't even think of it, bad habit. Yes, northeast corner of Minnesota, near Canada. Many Finnish people (including my great grandparents) immigrated and chose here because it was so much like home-climate, lakes/rivers and types of trees. They are an interesting bunch for sure! I've been to Finland but not Sweden, so I'm not sure how alike they are.

    My kids are 16, 11 and (almost) 5. They keep me on my toes, for sure. I asked a Lama who visited last spring and ways to encourage my 5 year old, who asks a lot of questions on Buddhist topics, and his response was "You should open a Buddhist preschool." I love the idea but we live in a really small town and I'm not so sure how a non-Christian religious preschool would go over. Not to mention I'm not an educator. But he recommended some books, too, which was nice. The one we read from a lot is "Kindness: A treasury of Buddhist wisdom for children and parents" by Sarah Conover. It has some wonderful artwork as well. The teenager reads on his own and meditates, he's actually the one that really got me started on Buddhism.
  • VictoriousVictorious Grim Veteran
    edited September 2013
    Thanks for the booktip. I will look into it. I was at the library in stockholm last month and found some buddhist books for children! You seem a happy family. Opening a buddhist preschool seems a lot of work. I am considering starting upp Budo classes for children. But I will probably just involve my own and their friends if they show interest.

    Finnish people and Swedes are very diffrent in mentality. Its hard o explain. Finnish people are often very though on the outside and very emotional on the inside while swedes are more mellow all around. Finnish people often complain that swedes talk too much and swedes think finnish people are too fond of their knifes (both are actually right lol). A resent scientific study described the finnish people along with the hungarieans as those that are most diffrent in genetic composition to other peoples. :) .

    /Victor

    PS
    Mine are just 6 and 4. The eldest just started preeschool.
    DS
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    LOL! I really enjoyed your assessment. I really don't know many people with Swedish heritage but I'd say what you said about Finnish people is pretty right on.

    4&6, such fun ages! My youngest will be 5 in a couple weeks. I love the age he is at. He's very receptive and interesting in everything. My 11 year old will go around and tell people he is Buddhist because he likes the different label, but he doesn't really understand that much about what it means, so we're working on that.

    The Lama who had visited who mentioned the preschool was a student of Chogyam Trungpa who (as I understand) was a big advocate for starting communities including schools. He opened what is the only American Buddhist college in the US. So I can understand why he mentioned it, but I'm not sure it's as do-able here as believed. You can't just sign up to teach kids, you need credentials and certified teachers and approved facilities. I think it would be fabulous. But it also requires a lot of money!

    Have you tried to have your little ones meditate yet? It's interesting with young ones because they tend to giggle about it a lot. But mine at least sits for maybe 5 minutes and he seems to get the point of quieting the our monkey minds, at least to some degree. You could try starting, have them pick a pillow to sit on and then just do it for like 2 minutes, do a guided meditation with them.
  • VictoriousVictorious Grim Veteran
    edited September 2013
    I have tried meditation but they did not respond so well but I think I will give it a go now and then and see if they catch on. My eldest has seen kung fu panda and will now sit crosslegged with his hands clasped and eyes closed in a classical kung fu meditation pose while trying to get his younger brother to follow suite. Since the little brother is a real teaser and does everything to run away its pretty hilarious. lol.

    Starting a buddhist school is not an easy matter here either. I know many muslims schools now are run here so it should be possible. The government here will fund "free schools" per pupil so funding should not be a problem. Still you require certified teachers and adherence to the national studyplan.

    But I guess it could be done...that would really be something though.

    I firmly believe that Buddhism will be the path of choice for Europe in times to come. It is the only option that is compatible with science.

    /Victor

    PS
    Are you familiar with the finnish word "sisu"?
    DS
Sign In or Register to comment.