Hindu View of a Harmonious Family
Every human being is potentially divine and the goal of life is to
express this divinity by performing useful work. A harmonious family is an
institution which provides the energy and inspiration to bring forth one's
divinity. A child of a harmonious family becomes a divine personality.
Expressing one's inherent divinity is akin to entering a house that has four
doors, with each door having a unique key. Each door must be opened to gain
entry into the house. There is one road that leads to this house. In this
example, the four doors are dedication, contribution, learning
and responsibility. The four keys are love, recognition, sharing
and trust. The name of the road is offer and receive (sammarpan
and swêkãr). The following illustrates which key opens which door:
Love and Dedication
Love is accepting a person as he (or she) is and helping him to grow. Love is
a divine feeling which is beyond likes and dislikes. Dedication is
self-sacrificing devotion to whatever one does. Dedication builds attitudes in
people. Positive attitudes are necessary to perform useful work in the world.
Love and dedication are two aspects of the same relationship. When parents
are loving, the children are dedicated. When the children are dedicated, the
parents are loving. When the teacher is loving, the students are dedicated and
when the students are dedicated, the teacher is loving. The love-dedication
relationship brings out noble qualities of the child and helps him to grow and
establish harmonious relationships within the family and with the outside world.
Recognition and Contribution
While attitudes are necessary, abilities and skills are required for an
active and contributing personality. Abilities and skills are developed by
performing useful work. It is essential to ensure an atmosphere of daily useful
work in the family. When children contribute to useful work, they can perform
useful work for the society, nation and humanity in their adult lives.
Recognition and contribution are two sides of the same interaction.
Recognition begets contribution and the contribution begets recognition. Parents
are the starting point. When parents recognize and appreciate, children will
contribute more and more. When children contribute, parents will appreciate more
Sharing and Learning
Dedication and contribution alone are not sufficient. Knowledge is necessary
to perform useful work in the world. Knowledge comes from learning, and learning
comes from sharing. While there is an end for every teaching, there is no end
for learning. When parents continuously share their knowledge and experience
with their children, the children continuously learn.
Sharing and learning are two aspects of the same relationship. When parents
share, children learn and when children learn, parents share. Sharing is the
best way of teaching. Sharing encourages learning. With a positive attitude
towards work and learning, children can grow into noble personalities.
Trust and Responsibility
Positive attitude, dedication and knowledge alone are not sufficient for a
person to express divinity. Responsibility is another key factor. A responsible
person is an enriched person. Assuming responsibility for the family, society,
nation, and humanity is divinity.
It is essential to inculcate a sense of responsibility into children, a task
for the parents. The parents cannot perform this task unless they are
responsible themselves. Trust and responsibility are two aspects of the same
interaction. When parents trust their children, the children take on
responsibility, and in turn develop increasing trust with their parents. A
trusted person is a divine person.
- A harmonious family is an institution which provides the energy and
inspiration necessary to bring forth one's divinity.
- The key to a harmonious family is the offer and receive philosophy
(sammarpan and swêkãr), as taught by rishis. Family
members must learn to rise above the take and take (a thief's
philosophy), take and give (government philosophy), give and take
(business philosophy) and adopt the offer and receive philosophy
within the family.
- The love-dedication relationship builds positive attitudes in children. As
parents offer love and receive dedication, children will offer dedication
and receive love.
- Encourage children to participate in all aspects of daily work of the
family. With positive attitudes and useful work, they will develop into
noble and productive personalities in their adult lives.
- Share knowledge with children. With positive attitudes, useful work and
learning, they will become dedicated, knowledgeable and contributing
- When parents trust children, children will take on responsibilities. A
responsible person is an enriched person.
- The three basic ideals of Hindu Dharma-seva (unselfish service), vishva
kutumbam (universal family), and sahaviryam (togetherness in the
family) can be realized when children grow into responsible, knowledgeable,
and dedicated contributors.