Episode 83

April 28, 2024


Helping Children Overcome Problems

Helping Children Overcome Problems
Ajahn Brahm Podcast
Helping Children Overcome Problems

Apr 28 2024 | 00:57:27


Show Notes

Ajahn Brahm talks about the Buddhist attitude to helping children with their problems.

This dhamma talk was originally recorded using a low quality MP3 to save on file size (because internet connections were slow back then – remember dialup?) on 28th April 2004. It has now been remastered and published by the Everyday Dhamma Network, and will be of interest to his many fans.

These talks by Ajahn Brahm have been recorded and made available for free distribution by the Buddhist Society of Western Australia under the Creative Commons licence. You can support the Buddhist Society of Western Australia by pledging your support via their Patreon page.

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Episode Transcript

Helping Children Overcome Problems by Ajahn Brahm [Note: AI generated transcription – expect errors!] So I tried to have a, um, suggestion for the talk. And it's very apt because there's a few kids in front of here and in the middle, I can see quite a few, because the tone tonight somebody asks me to give a talk on the Buddhist attitude to helping children overcome their problems. Now, in case you like me and haven't got any kids, you don't need to leave. Because some of the things I will say will obviously affect each one of us, because he might be helping our friends, helping our, uh, partner in life, even helping our parents, because the same attitudes also apply to children, but especially some people who have a family. We don't know exactly. How can Buddhism help overcome the problems in your children? And of course, it's not just overcoming your children's problems as overcoming your problems with children, which is more to the point. And sometimes people would ask, you know, how can I talk about these things? But it's just like a doctor does not need to have cancer to become an expert on cancer. You don't need to sort of have to experience all these things, but you know what's going on. Because in Buddhism, as a meditator, you know how your mind works. You know what a person is, you know how they work. You know what a child is and how they think. And when you get into the the mind of a child, you know exactly how they feel or what they need to be able to grow. And put it somewhere. You look upon the child as like the seed and you as the gardener, you the parent who are to cultivate that seed, to allow it to grow into a good tree, into a big tree. Because, you know, the first thing of a gardener that sometimes there's only so much you can do with the seed. Because the child comes into your life with its karma from the past. There's only so much you can do with that. Even the best gardeners, if they have a bad seed, can't do much. They can help a lot, but they can't make that tree into a beautiful tree. Maybe it'll be good enough. The same with a gardener who's a poor gardener. If you've got a good see, that seed still grows into a wonderful person. Very similarly, which I give is again from my own life, because my father's father, my paternal grandfather, was a terrible man, according to what my father said. He was. My father was born in Liverpool. My paternal grandfather was a plumber. In the time of the depression in Europe at that particular time, that no work was very hard. And so my paternal grandfather, if he did have a job afterwards, would go to the pub, spend the money on beer, come home drunk instead of looking after the family, and immediately take off his belt to sort of beat any child who happened to be there before turning on his wife and then beating her. And of course, is what we call today quite severe physical abuse. Now about domestic abuse of a man to his wife and also domestic abuse of the father to the children. However, my father was the most kindest man you could ever imagine. And he would never discipline us. It was my mother who did the disciplining, simply because he told me once that when he was being beaten, he almost made a resolution. If ever I grow up and survive and have children myself, I won't do that. Having seen the pain that caused the fear. Just the terror of a little boy being whipped by a big man. He thought, no, that's wrong. I will never do that. And so my father never revisited that violence which he experienced as a child by myself and my brother. He was an example of how we don't always have to. Imitate or react the abuse which is being served on us. We don't need to be the victim and take that abuse and give it to someone else. There is another way, but I use that as an example of a man, my father, who obviously had a very good seed, and even though his parents, his father was a very, very poor gardener, still my father happened to grow into a very big tree, a good tree. His parents with our children. We just have to look after them, nurture them, care for them as much as we can. But we have our limits. One of the first things to remember with nurturing children is to recognize those limits. Not every son can become a rocket scientist. Not every son could even do better than that and become a Buddhist monk. No, but that's the top, isn't it? Come on. Have we say. So. Not every daughter will be just what you want it to be. So your job as a parent is actually not putting those restraints, that burden, that pressure on children. Because that's one place where huge problems arise. A gardener looks after that tree for many years until it's strong enough to live by itself. And at that point, that's when the gardener lets go and goes home, or goes and looks after another tree. The trouble with many parents is. I never let go of their children. They always want to dominate them. Tell them what to do. They're always worrying about them. In Buddhism, we advise to look at how the birds look after their children little babies. Sometimes the mother sits on that egg for hours at a time. If you got a sore bottom sitting on your cushion, that's nothing compared to these uncomfortable eggs. But I'm willing to do that. How do they go searching for worms or whatever else they eat all day feeding their young? Then they teach them to fly. And I did my six months retreat. It was very beautiful with a pair of eagles not far away. I saw that because I had two young and I used to watch them. So teaching their young how to fly. And just watching them just know the two big ones followed by the two small ones. Very wonderful to see. But as soon as those birds can fly. What does Mum and Dad do? They go off and enjoy themselves and they have the kids. Okay, I've taught you enough now. Now you look after yourselves. Go on, get out of it. Wouldn't that be wonderful if you could do that? It's instead of worrying about your kids. They're 20. They're 30. They're 40. And you still worry about them. Say 20 year old. Enough. Now go. Get out. Look after yourself. Now you can see one of the problems is our attachment. We don't actually liberate our children. One of the great things about having children is looking after them and then freeing them. It takes one of these amazing things which help children overcome their problems by giving them trust at an early age. Because a child has to learn their independence. They have to learn to trust. You have to learn to trust them, to give them that freedom. To actually to explore the world in their own ways, not the ways their parents would have them explore the world. They have to experiment themselves. The child tree is not the same as the parent tree. They can't do things like you did. It's a good job they didn't because you were pretty naughty when you were young. Sometime I remember going to visit my brother. He's got two children, a boy and a girl. Then I started telling my niece and nephew of all the naughty things my brother used to do. My brother said, be quiet. Shut up! There can also be said that he loved. Oh, he did that. Did he never told us that. Because the point was that my brother was, in a sense, being dishonest. They're not acknowledging his own faults when he's trying to teach the children to be good, giving that freedom, that honesty is very, very important to a child. They have to grow and you don't grow if you're overly protected. You got to take the seedling out of the pot. Touch it, to grow it in the natural earth, to allow it to be blown around by the wind somehow. Sometimes to be starved of moisture, sometimes to be flooded, to get that strength of real life. Overly protecting your children sometimes creates the problems. Of course you know the big opportunities of learning about life. I remember my parents arguing. They would have arguments. But I also remembered that after the arguments sometimes were lost all day. But I also remembered when they would make up when I take say sorry in case in front of me and my brother. The most important thing they did in front of us so we could actually see. Yes, they had an argument. Yes, they make up what I learned from that as a child. I remember now what I learned was arguments happen. They're part of life. I never expected that two people, a man and a woman, could live together day after day after day without having disagreements. But I also learned how such conflict could be resolved in a very beautiful way. What that taught me was, yeah, even as a man, you'll have conflicts as a. But whatever you do in the world, it always be people arguing with you. And sometimes you can have an argument, sometimes you can shout at somebody. But at the end, well, actually in the monastery don't kiss and make up. But we do make up. What you mean. There is we have this wonderful way of resolving the conflict. And see, what I mean here is that you're teaching children about real life over you. Protecting them is almost in a fantasy world, in a greenhouse, whereas protected from all of the diseases, all of the unpleasantness. It will never work. You actually creating the problems for your child because they've been overly. Protected, not seeing real life. So as a parents, as a person looking at a single parent, looking after the child is okay to argue, but it's important to make up. You know, in this world there is many, many conflicts and you experience conflicts. The point with conflicts. We can't avoid conflicts, but we can learn how to resolve those conflicts in a wonderful way. And I always was praised. It doesn't matter with my mother or my father. Whoever made up first didn't matter who was right and who was wrong. The ones who are sorry for us made the first move. Even as a kid, I respected them the most. So I tell if my monastery. If it is an argument, it does not matter who's right or who's wrong. The wise person, the one who's more advanced on the spiritual path, is the one who goes up to the other and says, sorry. For the first time. Because whenever you have an argument, you're both in denial. You both think it's his fault. It's her fault. She shouldn't have done that. He shouldn't have said that. Don't ever think that that is somebody else's fault. If you think like that, you'll be waiting for them to make the first move and the conflict never ends. It has to be up to you. You be the one who said sorry first. I've done that many, many times in my life and I'm always proud of that, those times. For those of you who've been here long enough to know my predecessor, I once had this really big argument with him. For about a week, is about a main hall up in Sydney. And those of you who go next week for a tenner, you'll see that big hall there. I wanted to build a different type of all. He wanted to build it that way. And I had all of my reasons. I worked all out. That was an expensive way of doing it. That wouldn't work. Look, I said one day would be so big you were hardly be able to squash everybody in there. You see, I'm right back out next week, and I'd squash anybody in there. I was right. I. Okay, but I was also wrong. Clearly creating conflicts. And this is one thing I'm proud of. I don't mind praising this because it's a it's actually I was stupid for one week, but I was wise for about 30 minutes, which counted because I thought, well, I'm not doing this for. What is a monastery anyway? Is a monastery the buildings. Is that what makes a monastery? You could have this beautiful buildings. But sometimes those of you who have gone to see these flash monasteries over in Asia, there is a lovely marble here. Beautiful, inspiring things. But no monks live in it. What's the point of having a beautiful monastery with. No, there's no people actually living there. People actually like our monastery in serpentine. They like going out to get you. Get it to the nuns of monastery Dharma. So why? Because it's harmony and peace. That's what makes a monastery the people, not the buildings. What makes a family? Is it your mansion or is it the people living it? What's most important is the people, not the things. So I had this great inspiration. I went up to Ajax. I bow three times. It's great bowing. That's why we bow here. You know, those of you who had never been here before. We wonder what the people do. All this bowing and scraping. It's a great act of humility, letting go of your ego. Evelyn is not Asian. Even if the Queen comes here, you'd actually bow or curtsy. These are used to do anyway. This is an act of respect. But you're not respecting the monk. You're not respecting the piece of metal. You're respecting what it stands for. If you expecting a Buddha statue, you're bowing down. I when I bow down to would a statue. I'm coming off the point here, but when I bow to a Buddha statue, I bow to purity, compassion and peace. Rose the things which are very important for me. My purity of conduct. Now, compassion. Kindness is a wonderful thing. I worship compassion and I worship peace. The serenity of meditation. So when I bowed down, I'm saying I worship you. I hold this higher than me. I aspire to those things. You can never get more compassion, more purity, more peace. I don't know. That's what I do. I bow to those three qualities and then the psychological effect of bowing down, worshipping something like that. I find that I start to imitate those things more and more. Whatever you worship. You start to imitate. I noticed that 4 or 5 years ago. There was a World Cup soccer and many young men were worshipping David Beckham. No, no, no, not David Beckham. Ronaldo, I think his name was who had this really strange haircut. And I saw because they worshipped him, they started imitating him. They also had the same haircut. I. When I was a young man, I used to worship Jimi Hendrix. And that's what I look like. But I'm not. Whatever we worship. If you worship the Buddha. If you worship him or not, that's what you begin to look like. That's actually why they have a monk or a nun here. You're not worshiping the person. You're worshiping what they stand for. So what happened to me? Because when I was first went to town, I became a monk because I was sort of a young man in the 60s or 70s, equality. And I really left wing. And I see I was the guy, these demonstrations in Cambridge shouting ho ho, Ho Chi Minh down the streets. They know what it meant, but, you know, it's cool. So what he did at that time as a young man with your beard and your beads and. It was going to say, I've forgotten that anyway. That's what it used to. Oh, yeah. It could be forgotten now. That's what you used to do at the time when you're very, very young. But, you know, that's what you used to imitate, what you used to worship. That's actually what used to become. Now if you actually. That's why when I became a monk in Thailand, people started worshiping me. They started bowing down three times. Now. It'd be the same with you if someone did that to you for the first time. You'd feel very uncomfortable. So that's what I did. I told the people band and I said, look, you could do that to the Thai monks, but I'm English. Don't do it to me, please. Now, what I said next was, was actually really hit me very hard. I said, look, we're not bowing down to you. We bowed down to what you represent. And I found out, I suddenly became very disappointed. But. Eventually, I was proud, I was eager, it was nice to have some about. That is just my theory, sort of the way I should have that. But it was nice. But that's not what you do these days. You bow down to what it represents. Okay, so this is actually why we do this bearing bearing business. It's psychology. But actually going back to sort of like to, to children. And actually the we tried actually to uh. Tend to, uh, have children or again, our children. I should have children. I'm not supposed to having children as a monk, which we tried to actually to get children to become sort of better people and to encourage them to learn. And obviously by our example, if they really respect us and we are a good example, then of course, by worshiping us, they will try to imitate us. And of course, that many children obviously do worship their parents. I take them as examples. And so if you are a person hasn't got problems. Then it's very likely. Or if you show the way out of problems is very likely that you will encourage your children also not to have problems. You'll be showing them by example. Children are very smart. They may not listen to what you say, but they certainly listen to what you do. They hear and they watch. Young children imitate you. When they get older. They rebelled against you, but they still listen. One of the things which I know, no matter what you think the children are hearing, sometimes you think they're deaf to your advice. But they do listen. They listen. They think about what's being said and if it makes sense to them, and if they you are a person of respect, they will follow. I remember once my father telling me. That he said, son. If ever you want something that bad, you're willing to steal it. If we want it that bad, you have to consider stealing it from some shop or something. Don't steal it. Come on, ask me and I'll get it for you, no matter what it is. And that really hit me very hard because my father was a very poor man. Now. For most of his life, he was sick. Couldn't really hold down a job because of his illness. Had bad asthma. But he was willing to sacrifice if I really needed something. He said, don't steal. What he taught me there was actually. He was more willing to sacrifice and have me still. He he told me about what Sterling really meant to him. And from that time on, there's no way I would steal. Now. Not that I would ask him for these things. I knew I couldn't afford it, but it really. I found out from that saying just what my father thought about stealing and how bad it was. My father rather sacrificed so much and have his son steal anything. That was actually why I could overcome those urges as a kid, you know, to take things. He was also the one who. That's when I was only 11 years of age, and I got a place in the school soccer team. And of course, you were very proud to play on the school soccer team. And I was even more proud when my father turned up to watch on a Saturday morning, especially when I knew he should have been working. He was supposed to be working on a Saturday morning, had a job in a service station or petrol station in the garage. I asked him afterwards. How'd you do that? I thought you're working that. And he told me he actually lied to see his son play soccer. Because he was ill. He told his boss, who told me that his doctor had ordered a series of injections every Saturday morning for the next seven weeks. The hold of Zeta at the scene. So my father actually not only lied, I'm not a sort of encouraging lying. But what I'm saying there is that my father was actually risking his job, going to such a degree of sacrifice to see his son play soccer. What does that do? What that did was my goodness. It wasn't just sort of, uh, giving up a little bit. He gave up a lot because he knew how much it meant to a little son. Now when you have no like a model like that, somebody can really look up to some of you really respect something you really worship. Of course, than what that person says you really listen to. You take it on board. And of course, if you have that moral authority, then what is said does have enormous weight. As always, remember that story of Mahatma Gandhi when he was a young man living in London, just studying law in his different rooms with the landlady. His landlady came out in one day and said, Mr. Gandhi, my son does not listen to me, but for some reason he listens to you. My son is taking too much sugar. Can you please take him aside and tell him not to take so much? And Mr. Gandhi not famous yet. This was in his biography said. Certainly, madam, I will tell your son about his sugar habit. The days passed, turned into weeks. The son was still taking as much sugar as before. So the landlady came to see Mr. Gandhi and again he said, Mr. Gandhi, do remember what I said a couple of weeks ago about my son's sugar habit? You said you were going to talk to him about it, but you haven't. Why? Her. Mr. Gandhi replied, madam, I have told your son not to take so much sugar, but only this morning. Why did you wait so long? Said the landlady. Because it was only yesterday that I gave up taking sugar, said Mr. Gandhi. Now, I said that story here before, but it's very important. How can you train children if. Yeah. Tell them to do. You know what you don't do? You tell them not to do what you do. When I was a school teacher, there was a rule in the school that no children were allowed to smoke cigarettes. And the children complained to me, who said, every time we go to the staff room and sometimes the doors hold, a cloud of cigarette smoke comes out. You've caused a bunch of hypocrites. Fair enough. Fair comment. So in order to allow those children to overcome those problems, if we want to have some authority to really lead and to help, if we really want to be a good God, now we have to show it by our actions. So one of the great ways of helping children overcome their problems and overcome your problems, first of all. Become a compassionate, wise, selfless, pure hearted, pure speaking person. I say pure speaking because these words can. They hurt very much. And sometimes an unskillful parents can create huge problems by the way they speak to their kids. Years ago I was coming here. I was, I was, um, I think gave a talk at a school somewhere. I think it was the old Scarborough Beach High School years ago, and it's now been removed. And I have one of these, uh, tickets on the buses. And if we go, uh, get on the bus, and, uh, I was having gone to this school, I was coming back here to give a Friday night talk on the back of the bus. I was sat behind two school kids. And I was listening to their conversation and it reminded me of my days at school. Reminded me due to the conversation which happened in the schoolyard and on the way to school on the way home. Kids always cutting each other to pieces with their mouths, always criticizing to listen to the way that some kids speak to each other. It's always critical putting them down. If it's girls here, you're not pretty. You've got a big nose. But look at you. You just got. You're just fat. Whatever it is. A lot of times, the only time that people speak to each other is to criticize. Now remember what it is like being a kid at school, getting criticized by your friends, and you go into class. And unless you're top of the class, you get criticized by your teachers for not trying hard enough, even though you're trying your best. And you go home and you get criticized by your parents. Imagine what that happens to you if you have that day in, day out, year in, year out. No wonder some children have the problems of sturdiness. Uncooperative, even sometimes rebellious to the point of even being suicidal. Why? Listen to what they hear. Wouldn't that be the same with you? The young child needs encouragement much more than criticism. This is a peer pressure growing up. The girls will be most attractive, more pretty. The boys wanted to be stronger, tougher or whatever it is. Growing up together, this incredible competition. Which causes a criticism. This competition business. I said as before, it's one of the worst things about our society, how competitive we are. And this is one of the reasons why I think that in schools, one of the great ways of overcoming the problems of kids in schools is having not just competition, but cooperation. I want to have these schools have the system of examinations or marks at the end of the year. In one class I have 30 kids. Maybe 60 or 70% will be your personal score. The list will be averaged over the whole class. So you'll be marked by how well the class works together. The bright kids helping the weak kids. In every subject and there will be. Rewarded for how well they cooperate. Because what happens in real life when you're married, a family, you have to cooperate. It's not as competition. Who's the best? Sometimes it's like that in a family, isn't it? Competition? Who can speak the sharpest words and get their own way? Sometimes in an office, you know who can get the promotion? That's bad for business. You have to cooperate. In religion. Far too much competition, not enough cooperation. Isn't that one of the great weaknesses of our society? We're always trying to sort of beat each other instead of trying to work together. So we have to. One of the problems with children is a competitive growing up, and we're not encouraging the cooperation between people. And one of the ways to to, to emphasize cooperation is with encouragement rather than always for finding and and criticizing. Which is why when you have a kid. When overcome the problems. Praise. Praise. Price. Encourage encouraging courage. Notice always finding fault with what they're not doing, but praising them for what they are doing. Imagine if you were a kid and you got that type of praise. You'd want to go to school. You'd want to listen to your parents. You'd want to do the homework or whatever it is if you get praised for it. You're always getting criticized. You're not working hard enough. You're going out too long. You know your hair's too long. So if you're too sloppy, you're just not respectful to your parents. You're not doing your chores. Your bedroom's a mess. You can always sort of say something positive and, you know, say, well, you know, sort of your bedrooms and it's, it's it's not as untidy as sort of, you know, that sort of place where the bomb went off in sort of Takata. Always be inventive. You always say something positive. But what is saying here is that they actually are encouraging people and encouraging children. I know I go on about this again. Again, probably every week about praise is much more important than sort of blame. If you're in a relationship with another person and you criticize them, that relationship is going to end. Praise them. It's easy to do. It's fun to do. You get much more traction in your relationship from a better price. It goes a long way. Everybody loves it is free. It's got no bad side effects. It makes you feel good. It makes that her feel good or him feel good makes the kids feel good. They work harder as a result. This is what happened to me when I got praised for my father. Just for, you know, try my best, I tried harder. So what you do when you get praise. You want to work harder for this. And as you get more positive energy. So praising your kids goes a long, long way. If you truly have to find fault with them, counting the number of times you criticize them and find fault with them, you tell them off for something. Count those times every day. Set a notebook and and tally them and make sure at least minimum, every word of criticism is matched with one word of praise or one sentence of praise. One phrase of praise, at least. So the kid feels that they're respected. To their acknowledged that they are loved. Sometimes people think I cause I love my kids. But do you actually show it with your words? And that way you encouraging children to grow up when it's just such a difficult period. Especially in a puberty, is so much competition, so much striving to, you know, to succeed, to, you know, be successful in the mating game. Let alone being successful at school as well, when it's supposed to be so important. So that way that we can actually praise and encourage our kids. Doesn't matter sort of what they do. Encourage them and praise them. They don't always have to become top of the class. They can't always become top of the class. No one can always become top of the class. Now this is so. Have you read that little book of mine? Open the Door of Your Heart, one of the true stories in that book when I was a school teacher. This is how I praise my kids in the class. At the end of the year, one child in my class came bottom of the class. Of course they have to summon us to come bottom. But that kid. I saw him when he gave out the report cards. And as I did in school, you get your report card. They look at the bottom. How am I going to show this to my mum and dad? You saw them there looking really depressed and gram almost suicidal, whereas not suicidal. But they're probably thinking about something like that and. I decided it's time to act. To help children overcome their problems. I went up to them. And I looked to them in the eye and smiled and said, what you've done is a wonderful thing. Input is something you also predecessors coaches. I was a Buddhist. I said, what you've done is like what in Buddhism you call out your bodhisattvas. A bodhisattva is someone who sacrifices their own happiness for the sake of others. You said you've been far more compassionate than these other sort of people in the class, because you've taken this terrible position. It's so hard to become bottom of the class, and it's just so unpleasant and difficult and troublesome. But you, out of your great, compassionate heart, have taken this awful position so that no one else has to suffer the ignominy of becoming bottom. In fact, now, of all the people in this class, you're probably the kindest, no, the most spiritual inside. And I really. I think you should get the medal. And he looks a bit like many of you looking at me, thinking I'm crazy. But it worked. Because he laughed. And that laughter sort of just broke that sort of depression and sadness. He realized how it's funny to see. Come on, somebody, somebody does that word he said, oh, I'm so compassionate because I took that position. Next year. He didn't come bottom someone else to that position. It was encouraging them and sort of instead of like feeling just so down upon yourself because life sometimes does make you bottom of the class. So what? Big deal. These days. I tell people about one of my favorite monks. That month came bothered by the class three years in a row in grade one. He tied it after one year in grade one and tight end. The teacher just could not pass him. I had to redo grade one. I don't know what he couldn't do. Plasticine or no drawing stick because I'm sick. They couldn't be, couldn't pass. So you had to repeat it. After two years, there's no primary school. Teachers are very compassionate. It's only going up to grade two. But I know he has to do it. Third year after three years of grade one, she she couldn't still promote him. So after three years that was he had to leave school. But even finishing grade one is true story. Now, what happens to people who are that sort of, you know, stupid. They settled to a monastery to become monks. For no oil embargoes. Begin life that way. So read to this modestly. And of course, some of these. The Abbotts are just so compassionate and kind. And they accepted this. You know, this basically village idiot. I tried so hard to teach him some basic Buddhism, like Four Noble Truths. How many was that again? That eightfold path. What does that mean? And try to teach him some chanting. But yeah, just nothing would stick. He just couldn't do it. And the poor old Abbot got frustrated after a year or two. So the last resort in this was in Thailand. The last resort. If even in the the village monastery, it doesn't work. They said it was the meditation monastery. The last resort and just the mark there. The teacher said, okay, just have an awareness on it. Just watch your breath, go in and go out. His mind was just so pure and simple. He was just so easy to do. He's still got into the deepest of meditations. Became a saint. And actually that his method, his chanting, he couldn't learn chanting in this life, but he got so deep in meditation, he remembered a past life when his brain was much sharper. When he could learn his chanting from the past life, he actually used that to chant in this life. And that's how he could do all the chanting. He became a very famous saint in Thailand. So any of you who have children who can't pass grade one, send them to me. We could have this great saints. Who? The great psychic powers of great reputation. The point is that that's an extreme example. That every child is valued. Every child is worthwhile, no matter what they do in school. That's not important. It's sort of important you encourage them, but that's not absolutely necessary. When a child feels valued, not rejected. Part of their problems disappear, if not more. So rejection is the main cause of problems in a child. So growing up and already they feel very alone. The mother might say, I really love you. The father might say, you're my son, I love you, but they don't show her. They want them to be something different than they are. In Buddhism, we start how a person is accepting that and that is the start of growth, acceptance, kindness, compassion, love. If we start where we think they should be. And that's fighting battles, wars. That's actually, if you look at it very deeply, that's hatred. It's not real. Love is controlling. Never works. So I look at the children as they are. Except you as you are, child. Whatever you do in your life. The door of my heart will always be open to you as you are. You don't have to succeed. You don't have to pass your exams. You don't have to, uh, tidy your room. I will love you, son. Daughter, for who you are. Always. No strings attached. If you can really do that, your son or daughter would go and tidy the room. Do well at school, whatever you want. Because they want to live up to what you ask of them. This is actually how a child grows without those problems. You're encouraging them rather than controlling them. You're nurturing them. If you have a tree or a plant in your garden, you force feed it. Now we're sort of super fertilizer, so it might grow quickly, but it's not a good flower. Just fall over. It's not coming. It's natural way. As a parent, because you can allow it to grow naturally. And spending time with them know you really care about them. And in that caring, nurturing that's accepting them for who they are. That's where the growth comes. That's where the praise comes. That's where many of the problems come. And if we invest that in our kids, they become great adults. Adults who are both happy inside and who can actually help others. Now it's the main purpose of life. I was asked to for some interview only recently said, why did you become a monk? I said, because even as a young boy, I felt life has two main purposes and this is what I wanted to do in my life. Number one. For your own fulfillment, your own happiness, whatever you do in life, so you feel happy. Number two, so you can serve others and give happiness to other people. Someone asked me what the meaning of life is. I said, that's a twofold happiness. Happy to give happiness to others and to create happiness for yourself. The meaning. The quest for life. If you go one side, you got happiness. We don't give to others. It doesn't work if you give to others. But you're so dry inside it doesn't work. It has to be both. That's how we can teach our children. I want, child. I want you to be happy. So you can give happiness to others. How you do that, whether it's just a bus driver, street sweeper or whatever, that's up to you. That's my goal for you. And I'm here to help you reach that goal. To do that, you have to trust the child, to trust them to almost like manifest their own destiny in this world. So, Matt, to respect their own abilities and what they have to give in this world. I live in a forest down a serpentine. Many of the trees in those forests are dead trees. When I first went to serpentine, I wanted to knock down those dead trees. I saw them off, but I thought they spoiled the forest. Having all these dead, you know, dieback territories up there. Until somebody stopped me, they said, Adam, don't cut those trees down. Because in those trees, that's where the bird's nest. That's where the possums in the corners of the tree. That's where they miss. There's so many beings in this forest. Rely upon those dead trees. These are the lone. And I chose my attitude. I started to value the dead trees in the forest. They were important. When you're wise, everything is value because everything has its place in a forest. They don't all have to be beautiful, straight, big trees with this luxuriant foliage. Even the small trees and the bushes are important. Your children don't have to be these big, great people you know who are great doctors serving the world. Sure farmers should have those beans, but they also those big beings also need the old dead trees, the small little bushes, the crooked saplings. They too are just as important in a forest. The same way that your child. Doesn't matter what they do in this life. Remember, one parent told me they're very happy. Their son, who had been on the dole for many years. I said he had a job working in the office. I was so pleased until I found out that what the office meant was the dole office you just rolled up every week to pick up. It's funny. You call that an office job? But still, he had his place in the world, whatever that place was. And those people are important. Also. Everyone has a place in the world, and so we value them for who they are. You know, some people come and ask me, said, should I got Charles? Should we bring him up as a Buddhist? I say no no no no no. Do not bring your child up as a Buddhist. Otherwise you just become another evangelist. So the last thing you should do is bring your child up to a Buddhist. What you should do. And this actually comes from this mark who's now actually in the United States, such an amateur. He's he's had this brilliant advice. He said. If you got a child being about to value two qualities and to cultivate them until those qualities are very strong inside of them. Bringing them up, to be honest. Number one. To be honest to themselves, to be honest to the world. So they're not deceivers of themselves or deceivers of others. To be honest, number one and number two, encourage and teach them to question. Question as much as you like. And be honest enough. If you don't know the answer to a bit, you don't know. To be honest enough, when you find the answer, yeah, that that feels right. Because he said what you're doing there, you're equipping your child to find their own village and their own path in this world. And if Buddhism is worthwhile, if it's a good religion, those 2 to 2 tools of honesty and questioning will allow them to reach that goal by themselves. Which is what is important for a child. Not that you give them that religion, but they earn it for themselves. You can't give your child to us. No one. Your parents could give you truce. You have to find it yourself. And this was a beautiful device. And how you can bring up children to encourage, not know where they would end up, but how to get there. The tools of life. And of course, all I said so far about praising, encouraging, nurturing, no questioning and being honest. Accepting for who you are doesn't matter if you're an old dead tree, or if you're a young sapling or crooked or whatever that degree of acceptance you find is is this beautiful? Means. For loving others and loving yourself. Accepting others. Accepting yourself. Accepting this world with his arguments, but being able to reconcile. His beautiful white heart. Which can accept all beings and all things as they are. Sometimes I did some stupid things, but my parents would accept that. So that's your learning? They don't approve of it, but they know that I had to go that way. I still feel so sorry about my poor mother when I was only 17. My father had just died, and I remember her standing on the balcony, waving as I took my guitar and my. I didn't have a rucksack, I just had a sleeping bag. Went off hitchhiking to North Africa. I must have driven her crazy, but she let me go. And I learned so much that my first excursion on my own, learning just how to survive. Of course, there was some danger there, but it's all just risk analysis, risk taking. You have to take risks. But I learned so much, and I love my mother so much more for allowing me to go. If he hadn't, I would have gone anyway. But of course you would. But not with the same feeling of sort of acceptance and kindness. Many kids have problems in this world because sometimes we don't know really what love is and what acceptance is, what wisdom is, and how to bring up our children. And look at what you've heard today. Many of you been paying attention, and I'm just a man who never had children. Perhaps I did have children because the number of precepts I ordained monks, even nuns as well. I call them my babies. And there's those babies in my monastery. Those of you who come to feed them every day or every week and see them grow. You see, it is how the I nurture those as if I was a parent. Give them much feed and make an allowance to make mistakes, praising and encouraging them, but very rarely criticizing them. Because that's how my teacher had to enter, almost like my spiritual father would nurture me. Sometimes when I did stupid things, you go up to him expecting to be punished. Because that's how I thought. You know, when you do something wrong, he should be punished. But I did something wrong and told him he would almost fall off his chair laughing. He used to think that all my mistakes were so funny. And that I laughed at myself as well. Instead of actually thinking that he does something terribly, terribly wrong. It was just the joke. The choke of life and city people making mistakes. I was learning and it's just an encouraging thing to say, okay, go away, try and get. But most sort of now sort of holding you back, encouraging to see now how you could manifest what's inside of you and accepting you for who you are. Growing, nurturing. Maybe that way our children won't have so many problems. We can actually bring up our kids to be cooperative, loving, caring, wise, at peace with their role in the world, but still with the ability to reach their potential, to serve for their own happiness and for the happiness of our whole world. So that's little talk this evening on helping children overcome their problems and also helping you overcome yours. Thank you. Okay. Any questions or comments? Now, what did I say? That you're supposed to teach your children two things. One's honesty and the other one is questioning. Obviously, I'm not a very good parent because you think you. That's why they don't care why one evening when they go out to night clubbing or something and then lock the door. 9s So I sometimes have to be firm. If they won't go, put up the rent. Make a quick buck. Stop feeding them. Right. That's a hard thing. The reason why they don't know what it comes down to is because the parents don't want them to go. And you manage by the ways you work hard to make sure they don't go. They get a nice girlfriend. You go. Rubbishing her is a terrible girl. If you won't go out with her anymore, wherever. What? Whatever it is. So sometimes you need to be encouraged. It is important that sort of know that the tree or the sort of the seed, the mango actually leaves the tree to actually to grow by itself. To go out into the world like that. Sometimes the birds actually do kick the young out of the nest. Look at the kangaroos. The kangaroos in our modest field. Now they've got the joeys inside. The little Joey heads are poking out. There's the cutest thing. I've seen this for 21 years now. That monastery. I still get lots of joy. I see these little joeys sort of diving back into their mother's pouch, all legs and tail all over the place, and then just going round inside and poking their head out afterwards. But the champions from last year are now being chased away by their mothers. They've got a new Jersey now. And the tar from last year now has to fend for themselves, and sometimes the mother has to whack him with a paw. I've had an event here. I've seen it many times to go whack. And. No, I'm not encouraging that because you get sued or I get sued for that. But kangaroos don't have lawyers, so it's okay. But you can see the idea there is just an incentive to get rid of a sharp. Any other questions? Thank you. Good. Yet again. The biggest benevolence, the biggest evil, if you like, is stupidity, ignorance. And again, I mean that's that's actually overcome again by questioning and honesty. For the kids, not just kids. If all people really asked a question, question, question. And, you know, to take honesty is really, really important to you to be able to think for themselves and to challenge others. You know, you notice how often it is this spin on the media, the spin on sort of by governments. It spins on even religions. Always getting you to believe, you know, what I say is true. And that is the danger there. When people don't think for themselves. As his little saying, which I heard recently. When everybody thinks the same, no one thinks at all. And the last thing I want in this place here is when everybody sings the same. Do you agree with me? So altogether. Say. Yeah. And so when you question that, malevolence very often just disappears. It's about evidence of like a stupid thinking. We it's very easy, you know, for some of them my position because in front of many people actually to incite anger and hatred because it makes you feel good. I can really get people going, really get the anger going if you really wanted to. It's very easy. But when people say no, that's wrong, that feels wrong, that is wrong. You question, are you honest to that? Then those rabble rousers see, the real malevolent people never hurt other people. They get other people to hurt in their place. That's the real malevolent people. They don't do the dirty work themselves. They use that as. And that's where there's others, you know, have to question just so we can easily let. Why? Because they have been trained in questioning and honesty. From the great things I liked about Buddhism when I was first here. You can ask any question you like. You can disagree. You know, you have many times with me, Lawrence, and I respect you for that. Anyone who keeps on being a psychopath. Saying, yeah, everything you say is just absolutely perfect truth. And then you get very, very worried. Ice cream question, question. And I think the whole world needs actually to do more questioning and be more honest not to believe too easily without really solid grounds. That's the evil in the world. It makes sense. Okay. Any other evil in the world is going over time because you have to go back. I have to go back. And, uh, president here is one the microphone. So thank you for listening today. 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