Simple Self Awareness and Self-Discipline Techniques for Kids Using Indian Mythology and Itihasas:
By Jayaram Rajaram
Narrate the following to your child:
Ravana was a very powerful man who prayed hard to Lord Shiva for many powers. Lord Shiva made him very powerful. When Ravana saw Sita in the forest, he liked her a lot, so he used his powers to convince his uncle Maricha to become a deer, made her chase him and then kidnapped her.
Ask your child: Is this the right thing to do?
Ravana kidnapped her and took her away to Lanka and told her to marry him. Sita refused as she loved Lord Ram very much. Lord Ram (Rama) was very sad to find Sita missing when he got back to his hut in the forest.
Rama vowed to get Sita back safe and started his search for Sita with the help of his brother Lakshmana, Hanuman (Monkey God) and his monkey God friends. With their help Rama travelled to Lanka and killed Ravana even though Ravana had several powers.
Tell your child:
Ravana = Rakshasa, Bad, Anger, Lies, Stealing, Hurting People, Hurting Woman
Rama = God, Good, Truth, Dharma (Righteousness), Friendly, Caring, Peaceful, Healthy, Happy
Do you know God is hiding inside every human being and every creature?
If you breathe deep while closing your eyes how do you feel? (Chant Om if you wish while your child does this). Introduction to mindfulness and meditation helps children relieve anxiety, stress and brings about clarity of thought, focus and expanded awareness / Creativity )
Do you know what happens when you get angry?
Tell your child that Ravana and his ten heads start growing inside. Ask the child how he / she feels when angry and screaming / throwing a tantrum.
Tell your child that every time they do something bad Ravana grows in them and this can make them feel very bad and cause bad things to happen to their body.
Explain the concept of Karma simply : If you do good , you get good. If you do bad, you get bad.
Then when they do something wrong like get angry/ tell a lie, tell them that they need to bring out Rama who is hiding in them to kill Ravana, by saying sorry and closing their eyes and praying / meditating.
Make this a ritual and these simple techniques can help you teach your child good manners using Indian mythology / Itihasas. It also helps you teach them basic concepts of Sanatana Dharma and that God resides in all beings and everyone must be treated kindly.
Only a very small portion of Ramayana is used in this post. You are advised to narrate or read the Ramayana in its entirety to your child.
You may use any God and Demon combination and story to help your child become self-aware and self-discipline himself / herself. Eg. Vishnu in Narasimha Avatar God and Hiranyakashipu Demon
Note: Dharma (Appropriate and correct way of conduct) and Karma are Indian concepts that have ensured harmonious coexistence of diverse religions peacefully for thousands of years.
Image Credits: ritsin.com