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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

For the kids...

You know how when you're a kid, your parents have certain rules like no television during dinner or no more than two cookies for dessert or ice cream is not a breakfast food? Then you grow up, move out on your own and eat dinner sitting on the floor in front of the television, eat three cookies, and eat ice cream for breakfast...or is that just me?

We enjoy doing things our own way, but what puts a stop to it is when we have children of our own. Suddenly the cycle starts over again and you find yourself telling them that they can't have three cookies.

When it's just us, we make our own choices, bad or good, but when there are little kids who we are responsible for, we want to teach them to make good choices. Even though they are highly likely to grow up and disregard it all until they have their own children.

Sometimes I feel like I do the same thing with spirituality.

I don't sit down for a puja every morning. I don't meditate every day. But I figure that when (if) I have children, I will do these things every day just to set a good example to them.

But then they'll just grow up and continue the cycle, only doing spiritual things when it's for show, to demonstrate to their own children.

Why don't I do these things regularly for my own sake? For my own soul? When will the cycle end, whose soul will actually benefit? It will be the one person in this chain who performs her spiritual tasks for her own sake, not to show it to others.

I want to do things because they will help and benefit my soul, not as practice and to get in the habit for when I have children who are looking to me to see how they should live.

I wonder if this is why spiritual differences between spouses becomes much more pronounced after they have children? People in general seem to become much, much more spiritual once they have children. I guess it's not just me.


  1. Quite true...I think this may be because everybody assumes he/she will be an exception to the rule...I can indulge in that one last drink/puff/cake to satisfy my craving this time and from then on I will lead the exemplary life with detachment towards everyting...The one last time never occurs! My sister-in-law recently gave birth to our niece. Even though she herself never had time to learn various Indian shlokas, etc. she is now very eager to teach her daughter "Indian" culture. I guess, it may also be because she resides in the US and when one is away from India, one ends up with many romantic/nostalgic thoughts about all the wonders of India that one grew up loving. On a recent trip to India she ended up buying a host of stuff (Chandamama, Amar Chitra Katha, Malgudi Days, Complete Stories of Feluda, etc.)

  2. I do the same thing with cleaning too! Oh, I'll be good about picking stuff up when I have kids to set a good example, but I'll live in mess. Why? So weird.

  3. "When will the cycle end, whose soul will actually benefit? It will be the one person in this chain who performs her spiritual tasks for her own sake, not to show it to others."

    I like your ponderings.

    I'm a believer that it is the person who in their own quiet moments performs their spiritual rituals with no explanation to others who benefits.

  4. I agree, D. I catch myself not doing things because there's no one to show it to and then I smack my forehead and think how silly that is! The benefit is for me. Praying and meditating and other things like that are a benefit to my own soul and it seems hard to value them as such. Now that I've noticed this tendency, I can work to correct it!