Today, our youth and young adults who have left the Temples believe that there is a divide between now and then.
By dictionary definition, Hinduism is a religion, a religious tradition, a set of religious beliefs, and “a way of life”.
From a Western lexical stance, Hinduism, like other faiths, is appropriately referred to as a religion.
In India, dharma is a preferred term that is broader than the Western term religion.
As parents, we need to ask ourselves whether our children in North America have access to the deep-rooted knowledge of dharma? What makes them distant from Hinduism?
Some young Hindus say that they are leaving the Faith for science, believing that Hinduism is incompatible with what they are learning in high school or at the university level.
The new World of today’s youth is vastly different than the World of their parents. The culture at large, fights for their attention and affection.
We need to offer three quotients, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual, if we are going to impact the lives of young people, i.e., IQ, EQ, and SQ.
Today, parents need to swiftly, categorically, and purposefully, influence their Faith, heart, and mind at a tender age, as they are growing fast. If you don’t, it is inevitable; someone else will.
The reasons young people distant are complex and varied. However, there is an emerging profile of one of the most common ways this happens. Many Hindu scholars and Historians will agree with the following methods of encouraging our youth to understand our Faith and let them know that we care:
- Practice Hinduism authentically, and this means to walk the talk! To practice what we preach, as children learn from our actions.
- Connect with them through new mediums. Stay in touch with them, the way they stay in touch. In 2020, if we are going to make a connection with young people, we need to be in tune with social media. So, get out of the comfort zone and get connected with the young people of our Temple. It’s not only an excellent way to communicate, but our presence may very well be the accountability system they need.
- Let them know we care. Do something special for your kids regularly. Nothing excessive but do something nice for a young person like giving a small gift or sending a funny card to assure that you often think of them.
- Have them serve in various capacities of the Temple. Keep them involved in the worship experience of the Temple. Encourage them to participate in Satsang, call on them to pray, let them help, etc.
Place expectations upon their lives.
- When young people have expectations, it helps them build discipline. They will eventually learn that those expectations were in place because of love and grace with consistency and compassion.
- Volunteer time for community events. Give time to their cause. Sponsor a child for summer camp. Serve as a chaperone at the next outing. Become a presence in their activities, not just an “old-person” on a pew.
- Compliment their efforts. Everyone enjoys compliments, and young people especially need to know they are accepted. We are generally good at pointing out their flaws, but on occasion, accentuate and applaud their positive attributes.
- Share personal experiences with them. Be real and be honest. Share life, testimonies, trials, and victories. They need hope; the hope of growing up and surviving in this challenging World.
- Pray together daily. Above and beyond all other things, prayer is the key to influence. Keep their name on a list. Call it out often, passionately, and precisely.
Finally stands a million-dollar question.
What do YOU need in 2021 to unlock the true potential of being a successful parent in the continually changing World?
The key is having a mentor.
If you are continually pouring into kids’ lives and nobody is pouring into you, sooner or later, you’re going to feel empty. Whether that mentor is a Priest (Guruji), a more experienced leader, or a wise friend from the Temple, you need somebody who can offer you a fresh perspective, hold you accountable, pray for you, love you, and inspire you to keep going.
You can follow Tushar Unadkat on Twitter @TusharUnadkat | Instagram @tushar_unadkat
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