My daughter came back home from school and told me that they learned in school today that Ravana picked up a woman and made her cry so we burn him down. This over-simplification of facts worried me a great deal and as I grappled with how to make her understand the true story of Ramayana, I also wondered whether lessons from the great book were relevant to kids today.
Here are 5 important lessons that we can teach our children from Ramayan whatever be their age.
1. A promise is a promise: King Dasharatha sent his beloved son Rama on exile to honour the word he had given to his wife. Crown Prince Ram accepted the 14 years of exile only to honour his father's promise. Perhaps the best way to teach integrity to your children is to lead by example. How many times have you told your kids to stop playing on the iPad during mealtimes only to check your whatsapp message in middle of the family dinner?
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2. Love your siblings: If you are looking for ways to end the constant sibling fights in your home, try telling your kids stories of brotherly love between Ram and Lakshman. For example, when Ram was exiled for 14 years, Lakshman followed him to the forest instead of staying back at the palace and living a luxurious life. If that wasn't a sticking up for your brother I don't know what else is!
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3. Pride comes before a fall: King Ravana was a wise and great ruler, and was also blessed with immortality. But his arrogance and haughty nature destroyed his knowledge and finally led to his downfall. In today's competitive world, it is important for parents to develop healthy self esteem in children but sometimes too much praise can boost their ego and foster arrogance. Here is our mantra on praising kids for a supremely balanced ego.
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4. Kill the Ravan within: The essence of The Ramayan is definitely good triumphs over evil. Children are exposed to temptation on a daily basis. They are constantly exposed to gruesome acts on the news. There never has been a better time to tell them that what goes around comes around and though it might seem like it takes a long time, good will always triumph over evil.
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5. Stay away from negative people: According to the Ramayana, Queen Kaikeyi asked King Dasharatha to exile Lord Rama — a decision that caused the death of her husband and brought a lot of misery to the kingdom, only because she was under the bad influence of Manthara. This story could be used to highlight how important it is that children stay away from the bad company and not be influenced by negativity.
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