Osho on Parenting

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Osho on Parenting

Post by Leila »

On the home being the first classroom

The relationship between the child and his parents is primarily based on love, freedom and a total acceptance of the child as an individual. The parent's core philosophy, in dealing with their children, should be a deep trust in children's natural intelligence and their ability to make their own decisions based on awareness and understanding.

The relationship between parents and children should be such where children should be able to express themselves with honesty and integrity, have trust in themselves and understand that their lives, actions and feelings are their own responsibility, and have a non-serious, zestful, confident, creative and fearless approach to life and learning.

The parent's main focus should be to help children transform their natural curiosity into a strong inner discipline and motivation. Parents should understand that each individual child comes with some gift, some treasure. It may be academic, it may be practical, or it may be artistically creative. Parents should try to provide as much space and as many opportunities as possible for the child's individuality and creativity to unfold.

Parents should not use comparison and competition as stimuli for achievement and performance. Life is so vast, individuals so unique, and there are so many human gifts that cannot be quantified, tested or measured: for example, a loving heart, sensitivity, courage, awareness, honesty, vitality, being generous or understanding. All these qualities are valued as precious, in fact priceless.

Parents are the first teachers of the children and their homes their first classroom. Parents should help in every possible way to give freedom, to give opportunities for personal and spiritual growth to their children.

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Re: Osho on Parenting

Post by Leila »

On why parents are cruel to their children

PARENTS ARE CRUEL TO THEIR CHILDREN because parents have some investment in them. Parents have some ambitions they would like to fulfill through their children -- that's why they are cruel. They want to use the children. The moment you want to use somebody, you are bound to be cruel. In the VERY idea of using somebody as a means, cruelty has entered, violence has come in.

Never treat another person as a means! -- because each person is an end unto himself.

Parents are cruel because they have ideas: they want their children to be this and that. They would like their children to be rich, famous, respected; they would like their children to fulfill their unfulfilled egos. Their children are going to be their journeys.
The father wanted to be rich but could not succeed, and now death is approaching; sooner or later he will be cut off from life. He feels frustrated: he has not yet arrived. He was still searching and seeking... and now comes death -- this looks so unjust. He would like his son to carry on the work, because his son represents him. He is his blood, he is his projection, his part -- he is his immortality. Who knows about the soul? Nobody is definite about it. People believe, but belief is out of fear, and deep down the doubt remains.

Each belief carries the doubt in itself. Without the doubt there cannot be any belief. To repress the doubt, we create the belief -- but the doubt remains gnawing in the heart like a worm in the apple; it goes on eating inside you, it goes on rotting you from the inside. Who knows about God and who knows about soul? They may not be.
The only immortality known to man is through children -- that is actual. The father knows, "I will be living in my son. I will be dead, soon I will be under the earth, but my son will be here. And my desires have remained unfulfilled." He imposes those desires, implants those desires, in the consciousness of his son: "You have to fulfill them. If you fulfill them, I will be happy. If you fulfill them, you have paid your debts to your father. If you don't fulfill them, you have betrayed me."

This is from where cruelty comes in. Now, the father starts moulding the child according to HIS desire. He forgets that the child has his own soul, that the child has his own individuality, that the child has his own inner growth to unfold. The father imposes HIS ideas. He starts destroying the child.
And he thinks he loves: he loves only his ambition. He loves the son also because he is going to become instrumental; he will be a means. This is what cruelty


They cannot help it, because they have ideas, ambitions, desires -- unfulfilled. They want to fulfill them, they want to go on living through their children. Naturally, they prune, they cut, they mould, they give a pattern to the children. And the children are destroyed.
That destruction is bound to happen -- unless a new human being arises on the earth, who loves for love's sake; unless a new parenthood is conceived: you love the child just for the sheer joy of it, you love the child as a gift from God. You love the child because God has been so... such a blessing to you. You love the child because the child is life, a guest from the unknown who has nestled into your house, into your being, who has chosen you as the nest. You are grateful and you love the child.
If you really love the child, you will not give your ideas to the child. Love never gives any ideas, never any ideology. Love gives freedom. You will not mould. If your child wants to become a musician, you will not try to distract him. And you know perfectly well that being a musician is not the right kind of job to be in, that he will be poor, that he will never become very rich, that he will never become a Henry Ford. Or the child wants to be a poet and you know he will remain a beggar. You know it! but you accept it because you respect the child.

Love is always respectful. Love is reverence. You respect! because if this is God's desire to be fulfilled through the child, then let it be so. You don't interfere, you don't come in the way. You don't say, "This is not right. I know life more, I have lived life -- you are just ignorant of life and its experiences. I know what money means. Poetry is not going to give you money. Become a politician, rather! or at least become an engineer or a doctor." And the child wants to become a woodcutter, or the child wants to become a cobbler, or the child simply wants to become a vagabond, and he wants to enjoy life... rest under trees, and on the sea beaches, and roam around the world.
You don't interfere if you love; you say, "Okay, with my blessings you go. You seek and search your truth. You be whatsoever you want to be. I will not stand in your way. And I will not disturb you by my experiences -- because my experiences are my experiences. You are not me. You may have come through me, but you are not me -- you are not a copy of me. You are NOT to be a copy of me. You are not to imitate me. I have lived my life -- you live your life. I will not burden you with my unlived experiences. I will not burden you with my unfulfilled desires. I will keep you light. And I will help you -- whatsoever you want to be, be! with all my blessings and with all my help."

The children come through you, but they belong to God, they belong to totality. Don't possess them. Don't start thinking as if they belong to you. How can they belong to you?

Once this vision arises in you, then -- then there will be no cruelty.


No, I am not saying there is any sense in making parents responsible -- because they have suffered because of THEIR parents, and so on and so forth.... Understanding is needed. Finding scapegoats is of no help. You cannot simply say, "I am destroyed because my parents have destroyed me -- what can I do?" I know, parents ARE destructive, but if you become alert and aware you can get out of that pattern that they have created and woven around you.

You ALWAYS remain capable of getting out of any trap that has been put around you! Your freedom may have been encaged, but the freedom is such, is so intrinsic, that it cannot be utterly destroyed. It always remains, and you can find it again. Maybe it is difficult, arduous, hard, an uphill task, but it is not impossible.

There is no point in just throwing the responsibility, because that makes you irresponsible. That's what Freudian psychoanalysis has been doing to people -- that is its harm. You go to the psychoanalyst and he makes you feel perfectly good, and he says, "What can you do? Your parents were such -- your mother was such, your father was such, your upbringing was wrong. That's why you are suffering from all these problems." You feel good -- now you are no more responsible.

Christianity has made you feel responsible for two thousand years, has made you feel guilty, that you are the sinner. Now psychoanalysis goes to the other extreme: it simply says you are not the sinner, you are not to feel guilty -- you are perfectly okay. You forget about all guilt and you forget all about sin. Others are responsible!
Christianity has done much harm by creating the idea of guilt -- now psychoanalysis is doing harm from the other extreme, by creating the idea of irresponsibility.

You have to remember: the parents were doing something because they were taught to do those things -- their parents had been teaching them. They were brought up by parents also; they had not come from heaven directly. So what is the point of throwing the responsibility backwards? It doesn't help; it will not help to solve any problem. It will help only to unburden you from guilt. That is good, the good part; the beneficial part of psychoanalysis is that it unburdens you from guilt. And the harmful part is that it leaves you there; it does not make you feel responsible.

To feel guilty is one thing: to feel responsible is another thing. I teach you responsibility. What do I mean by responsibility? You are not responsible to your parents, and you are not responsible to any God, and you are not responsible to any priest -- you are responsible to your inner being. Responsibility is freedom! Responsibility is the idea that "I have to take the reins of my life in my own hands. Enough is enough! My parents have been doing harm -- whatsoever they could do they have done: good and bad, both they have done. Now I have become a mature person. I should take everything in my own hands and start living the way it arises in me. I should devote all my energies to my life now." And immediately you will feel a great strength coming to you.

Guilt makes you feel weak: responsibility makes you feel strong. Responsibility gives you heart again, confidence, trust.

That is the meaning of sannyas. Sannyas wants you to be free from Christianity, Hinduism, Jainism, Mohammedanism, and sannyas wants you to be free from Freudian psychoanalysis and things like that too. Sannyas wants you to live your life authentically, according to your innermost voice, not according to any other voice from anywhere. Not according to the Bible or according to the Koran. If God has spoken in a certain way in the Koran, it was specifically meant for Mohammed, not for you. It was God's dialogue with Mohammed, not with you. You will have to find your own dialogue with God. You will have to find your own Koran!

If Jesus has spoken those beautiful words, they are out of the dialogue that happened between him and the totality. Now don't go on repeating them. They are meaningless for you. They are not BORN in you, they are not PART of you! They are like a plastic flower: you can bring a plastic rose and hang it on the rosebush -- yes, they are like that -- it is not the same as when a roseflower comes out of the rosebush itself.
You can deceive people. Those who don't know may be deceived. They may see so many beautiful flowers are blooming on the rosebush, and they are all plastic. But you cannot deceive the rosebush -- you cannot deceive yourself. You can go on repeating Jesus, but those words have not been uttered in your cars by God; they are not addressed to you. You are reading a letter addressed to somebody else! It is illegal; you should not open that envelope. You should search and find your own relationship with the totality.

That relationship I call responsibility. Response means spontaneous capacity to relate. Response means capacity to respond tc life situations according to your heart, not according to anybody else. When you start feeling that, you become an individual. Then you stand on your own feet.

And remember, if you stand on your own feet, then only one day will you be able to walk without feet and fly without wings. Otherwise not.


JUST TRY TO UNDERSTAND THOSE MISTAKES. If you see the point, why they are committed, you will not commit them. Seeing a truth is transforming. Truth liberates. Just see the point! -- why your parents have destroyed you. Their wishes were good, but their awareness was not good; they were not aware people. They wanted you to be happy, certainly, they wished you all happiness. That's why they wanted you to become a rich man, a respected man; that's why they curbed your desires, cut your desires, moulded you, patterned you, structured you, gave you a character, repressed many things, enforced many things. They did whatsoever they could. Their wish was right: they wanted you to be happy, although they were not aware of what they were doing, although they themselves had never known what happiness is. They were unhappy people! and unaware.

Their wish was good -- don't feel angry about them. They did whatsoever THEY could. Feel sorry for them, but never angry at them. Don't feel any rage! They were helpless! They were caught in a certain trap. They had not known what happiness is, but they had some ideas that a happy person is one who has much money. They worked for it their whole lives; they wasted their whole lives in earning money, but they remained with that stupid idea that money brings happiness. And they tried to poison your being too. They were not thinking to poison you -- they were thinking they were pouring elixir in you. Their dreams were good, their wishes were good, but they were unhappy people and unaware people -- that's why they have done harm to you.

Now be aware. Search for happiness. Find out how to be happy. Meditate, pray, love. Live passionately and intensely! If you have known happiness, you will not be cruel to anybody -- you cannot be. If you have tasted anything of life, you will never be destructive to anybody. How can you be destructive to your own children? You cannot be destructive to ANYBODY at all.

If you have known awareness, then that's enough. You need not ask "And how can one avoid making the same mistakes?" If you are not happy and aware, you cannot avoid making the same mistakes -- you will make the same mistakes! You are bound to, you are doomed to make the same mistakes.

So I cannot give you a clue as to how to avoid -- I can only give you an insight. The insight is: your parents were unhappy -- please, you be happy. Your parents were unaware -- you be aware. And those two things -- awareness and happiness -- are not really two things but two aspects of the same coin.
Start by bang aware and you will be happy! And a happy person is a non-violent person.

And always remember: children are not adult; you should not expect adult things from children. They are children! They have a totally different vision, a different perspective. You should not start forcing your adultish attitudes upon them. Allow them to remain children, because they will never be again; and once lost, everybody feels nostalgia for the childhood, everybody feels those days were days of paradise. Don't disturb them.

Sometimes it is difficult for you to accept the children's vision -- because you have lost it yourself! A child is trying to climb a tree; what will you do? You immediately become afraid -- he may fall, he may break his leg, or something may go wrong. And out of your fear you rush and you stop the child. If you had known what joy it is to climb a tree, you would have helped so that the child could learn how to climb trees! You would have taken him to a school where it is taught how to climb trees. You would not have stopped him. Your fear is good -- it shows love, that the child may fall, but to stop the child from climbing the tree is to stop the child from growing.
There is something ESSENTIAL about climbing trees. If a child has NEVER been doing it, he will remain something poor, he will miss some richness -- for his whole life. You have deprived him of something beautiful, and there is no other way to know about it! Later on it will become more difficult for him to climb on the tree, it will look stupid or foolish or ridiculous.

Let him climb the tree. And if you are afraid, help him, go and teach him. You also climb with him! Help him learn so he doesn't fall. And once in a while, falling from a tree is not so bad either. Rather than being deprived forever....
The child wants to go out in the rains and wants to run around the streets in the rain, and you are afraid he may catch a cold or get pneumonia or something -- and your fear is right! So DO something so that he is more resistant to colds. Take him to the doctor; ask the doctor what vitamins should be given to him so that he can run in the rains and enjoy and dance and there is no fear that he will catch cold or will get pneumonia. But don't stop him. To dance in the streets when it is raining is such a joy! To miss it is to miss something very valuable.

If you know happiness and if you are aware, you will be able to feel for the child, how he feels.

A child is jumping and dancing and shouting and shrieking, and you are reading your newspaper, your stupid newspaper. And you know what is there -- it is always the same. But you feel disturbed. There is nothing in your newspaper, but you feel disturbed. You stop the child: "Don't shout! Don't disturb Daddy! Daddy is doing something great -- reading the newspaper." And you stop that running energy, that flow -- you stop that glow, you stop life. You are being violent.

And I am not saying that the child has always to be allowed to disturb you. But out of a hundred times, ninety times you are unnecessarily disturbed. And if you don't disturb him those ninety times, the child will understand. When you understand the child, the child understands you -- children are very very responsive. When the child sees that he is never prevented, then once you say, "I am doing something please..." the child will know that it is not from a parent who is constantly looking to shout at him. It is from a parent who allows everything.

Children have a different vision.

"Now, I want it quiet " said the teacher, "so quiet you can hear a pin drop."
A deep silence descended on the classroom. After about two minutes an anguished voice from the back shouted, "For Pete's sake, let it drop!"

It was the little boy's first day at school, and as soon as his mother had left him, he burst into tears. Despite all efforts on the part of his teacher and the headmistress, he went on crying and crying until finally, just before lunch, the teacher said in exasperation, "For heaven's sake, shut up child! It's lunch-time now, and then in a couple more hours you'll be going home and you'll see your mummy again."
At once the little boy stopped crying, "Will I?" he said. "I thought I had to stay here until I was sixteen!"

They have their vision, their understanding, their ways. Try to understand them. An understanding mind will always find a deep harmony arising between him and the child. It is the stupid, the unconscious, the non-understanding people, who go on remaining closed in their ideas and never look at the other's vision.... Children bring freshness into the world. Children are new editions of consciousness. Children are fresh entries of divinity into life. Be respectful, be understanding.

And if you are happy and alert, there is no need to be worried about how not to commit the same mistakes -- you will not commit. But then you have to be totally different from your parents. Consciousness will bring that difference.

Walk Without Feet, Fly Without Wings and Think Without Mind
Chapter #2
Chapter title: First Taste Your Own Being

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Re: Osho on Parenting

Post by Leila »

On how to educate/raise children without encouraging a competitive spirit

The moment you start thinking how to help children to grow without any competitive spirit you are already on the wrong track, because whatever you are going to do is going to give the children a certain program. It may be different from the one that you received, but you are conditioning the children -- with all the best intentions in the world.

The trees go on growing without anybody teaching them how to grow. The animals, the birds, the whole existence, needs no programming. The very idea of programming is basically creating slavery -- and man has been creating slaves for thousands of years in different names. When people become fed up with one name, another name immediately replaces it. A few modified programs, a few changes here and there in the conditioning, but the fundamental thing remains the same -- that the parents, the older generation, want their children to be in a certain way. That's why you are asking "How?".

According to me, the function of the parents is not how to help the children grow -- they will grow without you. Your function is to support, to nourish, to help what is already growing. Don't give directions and don't give ideals. Don't tell them what is right and what is wrong: let them find it by their own experience.

Only one thing you can do, and that is share your own life. Tell them that you have been conditioned by your parents, that you have lived within certain limits, according to certain ideals, and because of these limits and ideals you have missed life completely, and you don't want to destroy your children's life. You want them to be totally free -- free of you, because to them you represent the whole past.

It needs guts and it needs immense love in a father, in a mother, to tell the children, "You need to be free of us. Don't obey us -- depend on your own intelligence. Even if you go astray it is far better than to remain a slave and always remain right. It is better to commit mistakes on your own and learn from them, rather than follow somebody else and not commit mistakes. But then you are never going to learn anything except following -- and that is poison, pure poison."

It is very easy if you love. Don't ask "how", because "how" means you are asking for a method, a methodology, a technique -- and love is not a technique.

Love your children, enjoy their freedom. Let them commit mistakes, help them to see where they have committed a mistake. Tell them, "To commit mistakes is not wrong -- commit as many mistakes as possible, because that is the way you will be learning more. But don't commit the same mistake again and again, because that makes you stupid."

So it is not going to be a simple answer from me. You will have to figure it out living with your children moment to moment, allowing them every possible freedom in small things.

For example, in my childhood... and it has been the same for centuries, the children are being taught, "Go to bed early, and get up early in the morning. That makes you wise."

I told my father, "It seems to be strange: when I am not feeling sleepy, you force me to sleep early in the evening." And in Jaina houses early in the evening is really early, because supper is at five o'clock, at the most six. And then there is nothing else to do -- the children should go to sleep.

I said to him, "When my energy is not ready to go to sleep, you force me to go to sleep. And when, in the morning, I am feeling sleepy, you drag me out of the bed. This seems to be a strange way of making me wise! And I don't see the connection -- how am I going to become wise by being forced to sleep when I am not feeling sleepy? And for hours I lie down in the bed, in the darkness... time which would have in some way been used, would have been creative, and you force me to sleep. But sleep is not something in your hands. You cannot just close your eyes and go to sleep. Sleep comes when it comes; it does not follow your order or my order, so for hours I am wasting my time.

"And then in the morning when I am really feeling sleepy, you force me to wake up -- five o'clock, early in the morning -- and you drag me out for a morning walk towards the forest. I am feeling sleepy and you are dragging me. And I don't see how all this is going to make me wise. You please explain it to me!

"And how many people have become wise through this process? You just show me a few wise people -- I don't see anybody around. And I have been talking to my grandfather, and he said that it is all nonsense. Of the whole household, that old man is the only sincere man. He does not care what others will say, but he has told me that it is all nonsense: `Wisdom does not come by going early to bed. I have been going early to bed my whole life -- seventy years -- and wisdom has not come yet, and I don't think it is going to come! Now it is time for death to come, not for wisdom. So don't be befooled by these proverbs.'"

I told my father, "You think it over, and please be authentic and true. Give me this much freedom -- that I can go to sleep when I feel sleep is coming, and I can get up when I feel that it is time, and sleep is no longer there."

He thought for one day, and the next day he said, "Okay, perhaps you are right. You do it according to yourself. Listen to your body rather than listening to me."
This should be the principle: children should be helped to listen to their bodies, to listen to their own needs. The basic thing for parents is to guard the children from falling into a ditch. The function of their discipline is negative.

Remember the word "negative"... no positive programming but only a negative guarding -- because children are children, and they can get into something which will harm them, cripple them. Then too don't order them not to go, but explain to them. Don't make it a point of obedience; still let them choose. You simply explain the whole situation.

Children are very receptive, and if you are respectful towards them they are ready to listen, ready to understand; then leave them with their understanding. And it is a question only of a few years in the beginning; soon they will be getting settled in their intelligence, and your guarding will not be needed at all. Soon they will be able to move on their own.

I can understand the fear of the parents that the children may go in a direction which they don't like -- but that is your problem. Your children are not born for your likings and your dislikings. They have to live their life, and you should rejoice that they are living their life -- whatever it is. They may become a poor musician....

I used to know a very rich man in the town who wanted his son, after matriculation, to become a doctor. But the son was interested only in music. He was already no longer an amateur; he was well known in the area, and wherever there was any function, he was playing the sitar and was becoming more and more famous.
He wanted to go to a university which is basically devoted to music. Perhaps it is the only university in the world which is devoted completely to music, and has all the different departments -- dance, different instruments -- but the whole world of the university is musical.

The father was absolutely against it. He called me -- because I was very close to his son -- and he said, "He will be a beggar all his life," because musicians in India cannot earn much. "At the most he can become a music teacher in a school. What will he be earning? That much we pay to many servants in our house. And he will be associating with the wrong people," because in India, music has remained very deeply connected with the prostitutes.

The Indian prostitute is different from any prostitute in the rest of the world. The word "prostitute" does not do justice to the Indian counterpart, because the Indian prostitute is really well versed in music, in dance -- and India has so much variety. If you really want to learn the deeper layers of music, of singing, of dancing, you have to be with some famous prostitute.

There are famous families -- they are called gharanas. Gharana means family. It is nothing to do with the ordinary family; it is the family of the master-disciple. So there are famous gharanas which have a certain way of their own. Presenting the same instrument, the same dance, different gharanas will produce it in different ways, with subtle nuances. So, if someone really wants to get into the world of music, he has to become part of some gharana -- and that is not good company. According to a rich man it is certainly not a good company.

But the son was not interested in the company. Not following his father, he went to the music university. And his father disowned him -- he was so angry. And because his father disowned him, and because he had no other ways -- because the university was in a very remote mountaineous area where you cannot find any job or anything -- he came back and had to become exactly what his father was predicting, just a school teacher.
His father called me and told me, "Look, it is just as I have said. My other sons -- somebody is an engineer, somebody is a professor, but this idiot did not listen to me. I have disowned him; he will not inherit a single cent from me. And now he will remain in just the poorest profession -- a school master."

But my friend himself was immensely happy... not worried that he had been abandoned by his family, that he was going to live a poor man's life, that he would not be receiving any inheritance. These things did not bother him; he was happy, "It is good they have done all this -- now I can become part of some gharana. I was worried about them, that they would feel humiliated. But now they have abandoned me, and I am no longer part of them, I can become part of some gharana."

Teaching in a school, he became part of a gharana, and is now one of the best musicians in India. It is not a question of his being one of the best musicians; what is important is that he became what he felt was his potential. And whenever you follow your potential, you always become the best. Whenever you go astray from the potential, you remain mediocre.

The whole society consists of mediocre people for the simple reason that nobody is what he was destined to be -- he is something else. And whatever he will do, he cannot be the best, and he cannot feel a fulfillment; he cannot rejoice.
So the work of the parents is very delicate, and it is precious, because the whole life of the child depends on it. Don't give any positive program -- help him in every possible way that he wants.

For example, I used to climb trees. Now, there are a few trees which are safe to climb; their branches are strong, their trunk is strong. You can go even to the very top, and still there is no need to be afraid that a branch will break. But there are a few trees which are very soft. Because I used to climb on the trees to get mangoes, jamuns -- another beautiful fruit -- my family was very much worried, and they would always send somebody to prevent me.

I told my father, "Rather than preventing me, please explain to me which trees are dangerous -- so that I can avoid them -- and which trees are not dangerous, so that I can climb them.

"But if you try to prevent me from climbing, there is a danger: I may climb a wrong tree, and the responsibility will be yours. Climbing I am not going to stop, I love it." It is really one of the most beautiful experiences to be on the top of the tree in the sun with the high wind, and the whole tree is dancing -- a very nourishing experience.
I said, "I am not going to stop it. Your work is to tell me exactly which trees I should not climb -- because I can fall from them, can have fractures, can damage my body. But don't give me a blank order: `Stop climbing.' That I am not going to do." And he had to come with me and go around the town to show me which trees are dangerous. Then I asked him the second question, "Do you know any good climber in the city who can teach me even to climb the dangerous trees?"

He said, "You are too much! Now this is going too far. You had told me, I understood it..."
I said, "I will follow it, because I have myself proposed it. But the trees that you are saying are dangerous are irresistible, because JAMUN" -- an Indian fruit -- "grows on them. It is really delicious, and when it is ripe I may not be able to resist the temptation. You are my father, it is your duty... you must know somebody who can help me."
He said, "If I had known that to be a father was going to be so difficult, I would have never been a father -- at least of you! Yes, I know one man" -- and he introduced me to an old man who was a rare climber, the best.
He was a woodcutter, and he was so old that you could not believe that he could do woodcutting. He did only rare jobs, which nobody else was ready to do... big trees which were spreading on the houses -- he would cut off the branches. He was just an expert, and he did it without damaging their roots or the houses. First he would tie the branches to other branches with ropes. Then he would cut these branches and then with the ropes pull the other branches away from the house and let them fall on the ground.

And he was so old! But whenever there was some situation like that, when no other woodcutter was ready, he was ready. So my father told him, "Teach him something, particularly about trees which are dangerous, which can break." Branches can break... and I had fallen already two, three times -- I still carry the marks on my legs.
That old man looked at me and he said, "Nobody has ever come, particularly a father bringing a boy...! It is a dangerous thing, but if he loves it, I would love to teach him." And he was teaching me how to manage to climb trees which were dangerous. He showed me all kinds of strategies of how to protect yourself: If you want to go high up the tree and you don't want to fall onto the ground, then first tie yourself with a rope to a point where you feel the tree is strong enough, and then go up. If you fall, you will be hanging from the rope, but you will not fall to the ground. And that really helped me; since then I have not fallen!

The function of a father or a mother is great, because they are bringing a new guest into the world -- who knows nothing, but who brings some potential in him. And unless his potential grows, he will remain unhappy.

No parents like to think of their children remaining unhappy; they want them to be happy. It is just that their thinking is wrong. They think if they become doctors, if they become professors, engineers, scientists, then they will be happy. They don't know! They can only be happy if they become what they have come to become. They can only become the seed that they are carrying within themselves.

So help in every possible way to give freedom, to give opportunities. Ordinarily, if a child asks a mother anything, without even listening to the child, to what he is asking, the mother simply says no. "No" is an authoritative word; "yes" is not. So neither father nor mother or anybody else who is in authority wants to say yes -- to any ordinary thing.

The child wants to play outside the house: "No!" The child wants to go out while it is raining and wants to dance in the rain: "No! You will get a cold." A cold is not a cancer, but a child who has been prevented from dancing in the rain, and has never been able again to dance, has missed something great, something really beautiful. A cold would have been worthwhile -- and it is not that he will necessarily have a cold. In fact the more you protect him, the more he becomes vulnerable. The more you allow him, the more he becomes immune.

Parents have to learn to say yes. In ninety-nine times when they ordinarily say no, it is for no other reason than simply to show authority. Everybody cannot become the president of the country, cannot have authority over millions of people. But everybody can become a husband, can have authority over his wife; every wife can become a mother, can have authority over the child; every child can have a teddy bear, and have authority over the teddy bear... kick him from this corner to the other corner, give him good slaps, slaps that he really wanted to give to the mother or to father. And the poor teddy bear has nobody below him.

This is an authoritarian society.

What I am saying is in creating children who have freedom, who have heard "yes" and have rarely heard "no", the authoritarian society will disappear. We will have a more human society.

So it is not only a question of the children. Those children are going to become tomorrow's society: the child is the father of man.

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Re: Osho on Parenting

Post by Anna »

Awesome Leila. I enjoyed this share, especially the parts where Osho is educating his father lol

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Re: Osho on Parenting

Post by Carrie »

Wow Leila. This is awesome. Quite an eye opener.

Thanks for sharing this.

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Re: Osho on Parenting

Post by Leila »

On what one owes ones parents

THE TROUBLE with the family is that children grow out of childhood, but parents never grow out of their parenthood! Man has not even yet learned that parenthood is not something that you have to cling to it forever. When the child is a grown-up person your parenthood is finished. The child needed it -- he was helpless. He needed the mother, the father, their protection; but when the child can stand on his own, the parents have to learn how to withdraw from the life of the child. And because parents never withdraw from the life of the child they remain a constant anxiety to themselves AND to the children. They destroy, they create guilt; they don't help beyond a certain limit.
To be a parent is a great art. To give birth to children is nothing -- any animal can do it; it is a natural, biological, instinctive process. To give birth to a child is nothing great, it is nothing special; it is very ordinary. But to be a parent is something extraordinary; very few people are really capable of being parents.
And the criterion is that the real parents will give freedom. They will not impose themselves upon the child, they will not encroach upon his space. From the very beginning their effort will be to help the child to be himself or to be herself. They are to support, they are to strengthen, they are to nourish, but not to impose their ideas, not to give the shoulds and should-nots. They are not to create slaves.
But that's what parents all over the world go on doing: their whole effort is to fulfill their ambitions through the child. Of course nobody has been ever able to fulfill his ambitions, so every parent is in a turmoil. He knows the death is coming close by every day, he can feel the death is growing bigger and bigger and life is shrinking, and his ambitions are still unfulfilled, his desires are still not realized. He knows that he has been a failure. He is perfectly aware that he will die with empty hands -- just the way he had come, with empty hands, he will go.
Now his whole effort is how to implant his ambitions into the child. He will be gone, but the child will live according to him. What he has not been able to do, the child will be able to do. At least through the child he will fulfill certain dreams.
It is not going to happen. All that is going to happen is the child will remain unfulfilled as the parent and the child will go on doing the same to his children. This goes on and on from one generation to another generation. We go on giving our diseases; we go on infecting children with our ideas which have not proved valid in our own lives.
Somebody has lived as a Christian, and his life can show that no bliss has happened through it. Somebody had lived like a Hindu and you can see that his life is a hell but he wants his children to be Hindus or Christians or Mohammedans. How unconscious man is!

I have heard:
A very sad, mournful man visited a doctor in London. Seating himself in a chair in the waiting room and glumly ignoring the other patients he awaited his turn. Finally the doctor motioned him into the inner office where after a careful examination the man appeared even more serious, sad and miserable than ever.
"There's nothing really the matter with you," explained the doctor, "you are merely depressed. What you need is to forget your work and your worries. Go out and see a Charlie Chaplin movie and have a good laugh!"
A sad look spread over the little man's face. "But I am Charlie Chaplin!" he said.

It is a very strange world! You don't know people's real lives; all that you know is their masks. You see them in the churches, you see them in the clubs, in the hotels, in the dancing halls, and it seems everybody is rejoicing, everybody is living a heavenly life, except you -- of course, because you know how miserable you are within. And the same is the case with everybody else! They are all wearing masks, deceiving everybody, but how can you deceive yourself? You know that the mask is not your original face.
But the parents go on pretending before their children, go on deceiving their own children. They are not even authentic with their own children! They will not confess that their life has been a failure; on the contrary, they will pretend that they have been very successful. And they would like the children also to live in the same way as they have lived.


Don't be worried at all -- all parents are disappointed in their children! And I say all, without any exception. Even the parents of Gautam the Buddha were very much disappointed in him, the parents of Jesus Christ were very much disappointed in him, obviously. They had lived a certain kind of life -- they were orthodox Jews -- and this son, this Jesus, was going against many traditional ideas, conventions. Jesus' father, Joseph, must have hoped that now he is growing old the son will help him in his carpentry, in his work, in his shop -- and the stupid son started talking about kingdom of God! Do you think he was very much happy in his old age?
Gautam Buddha's father was very old and he had only one son, and that too was born to him when he was very old His whole life he has waited and prayed and worshipped and did all kinds of religious rituals so that he can have a son, because who is going to look after his great kingdom? And then one day the son disappeared from the palace. Do you think he was very happy? He was so angry, violently angry, he would have killed Gautam Buddha if he had found him! His police, his detectives were searching all over the kingdom. "Where he is hiding? Bring him to me!"
And Buddha knew it, that he will be caught by his father's agents, so the first thing he did was he left the boundary of his father's kingdom; escaped into another kingdom, and for twelve years nothing was heard about him.
When he became enlightened he came back home to share his joy, to say to the father that, "I have arrived home," that "I have realized," that "I have known the truth -- and this is the way."
But the father was so angry, he was trembling and shaking -- he was old, very old. He shouted at Buddha and he said, "You are a disgrace to me!" He saw Buddha -- he was standing there in a beggar's robe with a begging bowl -- and he said, "How you dare to stand before me like a beggar? You are the son of an emperor, and in our family there has never been a beggar! My father was an emperor, his father was too, and for centuries we have been emperors! You have disgraced the whole heritage!"
Buddha listened for half an hour, he didn't say a single word. When the father ran out of gas, cooled down a little... tears were coming out of his eyes, tears of anger, frustration. Then Buddha said, "I ask for only one favor. Please wipe your tears and look at me -- I am not the same person who had left the home, I am totally transformed. But your eyes are so full of tears you cannot see. And you are still talking to somebody who is no more! He has died."
And this triggered another anger, and the father said, "You are trying to teach me? Do you think I am a fool? Can't I recognize my own son? My blood is running in your veins -- and I cannot recognize you?"
Buddha said, "Please don't misunderstand me. The body certainly belongs to you, but not my consciousness. And my consciousness is my reality, not my body. And you are right that your father was an emperor and his father too, but as far as I know about myself I was a beggar in my past life and I was a beggar in a previous life too, because I have been searching for truth. My BODY has come through you, but you have been just like a passage. You have not created me, you have been a medium, and my consciousness has nothing to do with your consciousness. And what I am saying is that now I have come home with a new consciousness, I have gone through a rebirth. Just LOOK at me, look at my joy!"
And the father looked at the son, not believing what he is saying. But one thing was certainly there: that he was so angry but the son has not reacted at all. That was absolutely new -- he knew his son. If he was just the old person he would have become as angry as the father or even more, because he was young and his blood was hotter than the father's. But he is not angry at all, there is absolute peace on his face, a great silence. He is undisturbed, undistracted by the father's anger. The father has abused him, but it seems not to have affected him at all.
He wiped his tears from the old eyes, looked again, saw the new grace...
Shunya, your parents will be disappointed in you because they must have been trying to fulfill some expectations through you. Now you have become a sannyasin, all their expectations have fallen to the ground. Naturally they are disappointed. but don't become guilty because of it, otherwise they will destroy your joy, your silence. your growth You remain undisturbed, unworried. Don't feel any guilt. Your life is yours and you have to live according to your own light.
And when you have arrived at the source of joy, your inner bliss, go to them to share. They will be angry -- wait, because anger is not anything permanent; it comes like a cloud and passes. Wait! Go there, be with them, but only when you are certain that you can still remain cool, only when you know that nothing will create any reaction in you, only when you know that you will be able to respond with love even though they are angry. And that will be the only way to help them.


That is their business! And don't think that if you had followed their ideas they would not have worried. They would have still worried; that is their conditioning. Their parents must have worried and their parents' parents must have worried; that is their heritage. And you have disappointed them because you are no more worrying. You are going astray! They are miserable, their parents have been miserable, and so on, so forth... up to Adam and Eve! And you are going astray, hence the great worry.
But if you become worried you miss an opportunity, and then they have dragged you again back into the same mire. They will feel good, they will rejoice that you have come back to the old traditional, conventional way, but that is not going to help you or them.
If you remain to be independent, if you attain to the fragrance of freedom, if you become more meditative -- and that's WHY YOU are here: to become more meditative, to be more silent, more loving, more blissful -- then one day you can share your bliss. To share first you have to have it; you can share only that which you have already got.
Right now you can also worry, but two persons worrying simply multiply worries; they don't help each other.


It must have become their conditioning. It is the conditioning of everybody in the world.

A rabbi was being hosted by a family, and the man of the house, impressed by the honor, warned his children to behave seriously at the dinner table because the great rabbi is coming. But during the course of the meal they laughed at something and he ordered them from the table.
The rabbi then arose and prepared to leave.
"Anything wrong?" asked the concerned father.
"Well," said the rabbi, "I laughed too!"

You don't be worried about their seriousness, about their worrying about you. They are trying unconsciously to make you feel guilty. Don't let them succeed, because if they succeed they will destroy you and they will also destroy an opportunity for them which would have become possible THROUGH you.


Be thankful for that, but there is no need to feel guilty.


There is no need to turn from them, but there is no need either to follow them. Go on loving them. When you meditate, after each meditation pray to the existence that "Something of my meditativeness should reach to my parents.
Be prayerful for them, be loving to them, but don't follow them. That won't help you or them.


You owe this: that you have to be yourself. You owe this: that you have to be blissful, that you have to be ecstatic, that you have to become a celebration unto yourself, that you have to learn to laugh and rejoice. This is what you owe to them: you owe to them enlightenment.
Become enlightened like Gautam the Buddha and then go to your parents to share your joy. Right now what can you do? Right now nothing is possible. Right now you can only pray.
So I am not saying turn away from them, I am saying don't follow them, and this is the only way you can be of some help to them. They have helped you physically, you have to help them spiritually. That will be the only way to repay them.

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Re: Osho on Parenting

Post by Leila »

On sex education to small children

Truth is truth, and nobody should be debarred from it. Just because children are small, do they have to be fed on lies? Is truth only for grown-ups? Then does it mean truth is dangerous to the delicate consciousness of the child?

Truth is never dangerous, untruth is dangerous. And if you tell an untruth to a grown-up he may be able to defend; it can be forgiven. But never say an untruth to a child because he is so helpless, so indefensible. He depends so much on you, he trusts so much in you – don’t betray him. This is betraying! Telling any lie means you have betrayed the child. And finally you will be in trouble. Sooner or later, the child will discover that you have been telling lies. That very day all trust in you will disappear.

If young people start rebelling against the parents, the responsibility is not on them, the responsibility is of the parents. They have been telling so many lies. And now, by and by, the children start discovering that they were all lies. And if you have been telling so many lies, even the truth that you have told to them becomes suspicious. And one thing is certain, they lose trust in you. You have betrayed, you have deceived, you have become ugly in their consciousness. Your impression is not good anymore. In fact, they will never be able to trust anybody.

That’s the problem I am facing every day. When you come and become sannyasins, the problem that you have with your parents starts being imposed on me. You cannot trust me either. In a subtle way I become your father figure. And because your parents have deceived you, who knows? If even your parents deceive you, then I am a stranger and if even parents cannot be relied upon, then how can you rely upon me?

You will never be able to trust the woman you love, the man you love. You will never be able to trust the master you surrender to. You will never again be able to regain your trust in your life. And for what has your trust been destroyed? For such foolish things….
What is wrong? Sex is a simple fact. Tell it the way it is. And children are very, very perceptive. Even if you don’t tell them, they will discover it on their own. They are very curious people.

Carl was assigned to write a composition entitled, “Where I came from.” When he returned home from school, he entered the kitchen where his mother was preparing dinner.

“Where did I come from, Mama?” he asked.
“The stork brought you.”
“And where did Daddy come from?”
“The stork brought him, too.”
“And what about Grandpa?”
“Why, the stork brought him too, darling.”

Carl very carefully made notes on what Mama had told him, and the next day he handed in the following composition:

“According to my calculations, there hasn’t been a natural birth in my family for the past three generations.”

Children are very perceptive. They go on watching, they go on seeing what foolishness you are talking about. And how long can you deceive them? Life is there, and life is sexual. And they are watching life. They will see animals making love, they will see birds making love. And you may go on believing that they have never seen you making love; you can go on believing it, but children know that their parents make love. In the beginning they may think they are fighting or something, but sooner or later they discover that something is going on behind their back.

Why create these suspicions and doubts? Why not be true? Truth is always good, truth is always divine. Let them know things as they are.

I know a friend of mine who was determined to have it out with his older boy and spent several hours painstakingly explaining sexual physiology to him. At the conclusion, feeling utterly exhausted and knowing that he didn’t want to go through it again with his younger son, he said, “And Billy, now that I’ve explained it to you, can I count on you passing it on to Bobby?”

“Okay Dad,” said young William.

His elder son went out in search of his younger brother at once. “Bobby,” he said when he found him, “I just had a long lecture from Dad and he wants me to pass on what he told me to you.”

“Go ahead,” said Bobby.

“Well, you know what you and I were doing with those girls behind the barn last month? Dad wants me to tell you that the birds and the bees do it too!”

Don’t be foolish, let things be as they are. Truth can never be the enemy, sexual or otherwise. Befriend truth.

And children are very understanding. They immediately accept the fact. They have no prejudices, they have no notion of right and wrong. If you tell them the truth, they understand it is so and they forget all about it. And it will create a great trust in you. You never deceived them.

It is sex education which is one of the fundamental causes of the rift between the generations. The day the child discovers that the parents have been deceiving him, he loses all roots in trust. That is the most devastating shock you can give to that delicate system.

Go on telling the truth as it is and don’t try to philosophize about it, and don’t go on round and round. Tell it the way it is.

Why is there so much fear about it in you? – because your parents have not told it to you, so you feel a little shaky, nervous, afraid, as if you are moving in some dangerous territory.

Be very simple, direct. And whenever a child inquires about anything, if you know about it, tell it. If you don’t know about it, say that you don’t know. There are two wrongs that you can do: one is saying something as it is not – one danger; another is saying something which you don’t know.

For example, the child asks, “Who created the world?” and you say, “God.” Again you are leading him into some mischief. You don’t know; you are pretending that you know. Soon the child will discover that you know nothing, your God is bogus.

And the problem is not that your God is proved bogus, the problem is that now the whole concept of God is proved bogus. You have destroyed a great possibility of inquiring into God. You should have said, “I don’t know. I am trying to know. I am as ignorant as you are. If I find before you do, I will tell you, if you find before I do, please tell me.”
And your son will respect you forever for this sincerity of the heart, for this equality, that you never pretended, that you never tried to show, “I know and you don’t know,” that you were never egoistic.

Saying to the child, “God created the world,” without knowing it, is nothing but just an ego trip. You are enjoying at the cost of the child’s ignorance. But how long can you enjoy this knowledge?

Never tell the child that which you yourself are incapable of doing. Don’t tell the child, “Be truthful, always be truthful” – because once he catches you red-handed being untruthful, you have destroyed something immensely valuable. And there is nothing more precious than trust.

How long can you hide the fact? One day somebody knocks on the door, and you say to the child, “Tell him Daddy is not at home.” And now the child knows that to talk about truth is one thing, but it is not meant to be followed and practiced. You have created a duality in him of saying something, pretending something, and being something else quite the contrary of it. You have created the split.

And if you know something, if the child asks about sex or how children come into the world, and you know – then simply say it as it is. Make it as simple as possible because the child is not asking about the physiology or about the chemistry or about the inner mechanism of sex. He is not asking about all that nonsense; that is not his interest. Don’t start telling him about physiology – because what they do in schools in the name of sex education is teach only physiology. And the child is simply bored; he is not interested.
He simply wants the truth. How do children come, where do they come from? Just say it. And never try to give him more information than he needs and he asks for, because that will be too early. Particularly in the West that too is happening, where the idea has become prevalent that children have to be given sex education. So parents are in a hurry. Even if the child has not inquired, they go on pouring their knowledge that they have acquired from books. Children simply feel bored. Unless the inquiry has arisen in the child, there is no need to say anything. When the inquiry has arisen there is no need to hide anything.

And it is not a question of age at all, so don’t ask about small children. Whom do you call small? What is the age limit? Is seven years old small? Or is nine years old small? It is not a question of age. Whenever the child inquires he is ready to be given the information. He may be four, he may be five, he may be seven. The more intelligent a child is, the earlier he will inquire, that much is certain. The stupid, the mediocre child may not inquire when he is twelve, and at fourteen he may inquire. But the intelligent child is bound to inquire because life is such a mystery that from the very beginning the child becomes aware that something is happening. All around, life is happening, life is perpetuating itself.

He sees the eggs of the birds in the garden, and then one day the eggs are broken and the birds come out. He goes on seeing his mother’s belly growing bigger and bigger, and he certainly becomes curious. What is happening? Is his mother ill or something? And then one day she comes from the hospital with a child. And where has the child come from? It has been brought by the stork. And he sees the belly is not big anymore. Now he is puzzled. What happened to the belly?

Don’t create unnecessary puzzles for children. Life is puzzling enough as it is. Life is so mysterious, the inquiry is bound to be there. But remember, the more intelligent a child is, the sooner he is going to inquire. So if your child inquires early, don’t think that he seems to be dirty from the very beginning. He is not dirty, he is intelligent. If anybody is dirty, you are dirty. He is simply intelligent.

Tell him things as they are and tell him the way he can understand. Don’t philosophize, don’t go indirectly round and round; go directly to the point. Make it as clear as two plus two is four.

And you will be surprised, once the fact has been told the child goes away and starts playing. He is not much interested anymore; he never brings the question again. If you falsify, he will bring the question again and again – from this side, from that side, any excuse and he will bring the question because he wants to know the fact, and unless the fact is given he is not going to be satisfied.

Only facts satisfy. Falsifications can postpone but they cannot satisfy.

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Re: Osho on Parenting

Post by Leila »

On The Delicate Art Of Motherhood

“Just to give birth to a child is one thing – to be a mother is totally different. Any woman can give birth to a child; that’s a very simple phenomenon. But to be a mother needs great art, needs great under-standing.

You are creating a human being – that is the greatest creation! A painter paints a picture; we call it great art. Picasso – we call him a great artist. But what about the mother who created Picasso? A poet writes beautiful poems, but what about the mother who created Shakespeare?

We don’t think about mothers as the greatest creative people on the earth. That is one of the reasons why women are not great painters and great poets – they need not be: they can be great mothers. Why does man try to become a great scientist, poet, painter, this and that? – he is jealous of women: he cannot create children. He feels impotent. Sigmund Freud has talked much about phallic Jealousy – that women suffer from a jealousy because they don’t have penises. Now this is utterly meaningless, absurd. It is as if a woman Sigmund Freud is born and starts talking about men suffering from breast-jealousy because they don’t have breasts.But, one thing is certain: deep down man always feels jealous that he cannot mother, that he cannot carry an alive life in him, that he cannot reproduce life. To substitute it he paints, he sculpts, he writes poetry, he composes music; he goes to the moon, he goes to Everest. He wants to prove at least to his woman that “I can also do something,” otherwise he feels impotent. Compared to woman’s capacity, he looks like a child, looks almost accidental. His work is not much: giving birth to a child, he simply triggers the process. A small injection can do that; that is not much of a work.
The woman passes through those nine months of agony and ecstasy. And then the work is not finished! In fact, then the work, the real work, starts – when the child is born.

And the child brings again a fresh quality to life. Every child is primitive, a barbarian; now the mother has to civilize. Every child is a barbarian, remember; he is animal, wild. And the mother has to give him culture, has to teach him the ways of life, the ways of man. It is a great work.You have to remember that – that your work has not finished, it has started. Take it joyously!
You are creating something immensely valuable – you are carving a life, you are protecting a life.

The work is such that no sacrifice is great enough for it – any sacrifice can and should be made. One thing. Second thing: don’t take it too seriously, otherwise you will destroy the child. Your seriousness will become destructive. Take it playfully. The responsibility is there! but it has to be taken very playfully. Play upon the child as one plays upon a musical instrument – and she knows how to play on musical instruments. Let the child be your instrument now. Play carefully but play playfully. If you become serious, then the child will start feeling your seriousness and the child will be crushed and crippled. Don’t burden the child; don’t start feeling that you are doing something great to the child. When I say you are doing something great, you are doing something great to yourself.

By helping this child to grow into a beautiful human being, into a buddha, you will be becoming the mother of a buddha. You will not be obliging the child: you will be simply enjoying your own life; your own life will become a fragrance through the child.This is an opportunity, a God-given opportunity.
And these are the two pitfalls: either you neglect the child, you are tired of it; or you become too serious about the child, and you start burdening him, obliging him.

Both are wrong. Help the child – but for the sheer joy of it. And never feel that he owes any debt to you. On the contrary, feel thankful that he has chosen you to be his mother. Let your motherhood bloom through him.If you can bloom into your motherhood, you will feel thankful to the child forever.And, naturally, there will be sacrifices, but they have to be made…joyously. Only then is it a sacrifice! If you do it without joy it is not sacrifice. Sacrifice comes from the word sacred. When you do it joyfully, it is sacred. When you don’t do it joyfully, then you are just fulfilling a duty – and all duties are ugly, they are not sacred. This is a great opportunity. Meditate over it, go into it deeply. You will never find such a deep involvement – in fact, there is none as it is between a child and the mother. Not even between the husband and the wife, the lover and the beloved – the involvement is not so deep as it is between the mother and the child. It cannot be so deep with anybody ever – because the child has lived in you for nine months as you; nobody else can live in you for nine months as you.And the child will become a separate individual sooner or later, but somewhere deep down in the unconscious the mother and the child remain linked.If your child can become a buddha, you will be benefited by it; if your child grows and becomes a beautiful human being, you will be benefited by it – because the child will always remain connected with you. Only the physical connection has been disconnected; the spiritual connection is never disconnected.

Thank God! Motherhood is a blessing.” Osho

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Re: Osho on Parenting

Post by Leila »

On the major mistakes in bringing up children

The major mistakes in bringing up children are many, but I will talk only about the most important. First: the idea that they belong to you. They come through you; you have been a passage, but they don't belong to you. They are not your possessions. Out of this idea of possessiveness many mistakes arise.

Once you start thinking that they are your possessions, you have reduced them into things, because only things can be possessed, not human beings. It is the ugliest act you can do. And those poor children are so helpless, so dependent on you, they cannot rebel. They accept whatever your idea is. And to protect your possessiveness you make them Christians the moment they are born. You make them Hindus, you make them Mohammedans, you make them Buddhists, you make them Jews -- you can't wait! And can't you see the absolute absurdity of it?

In politics, the person will be adult and capable of voting when he is twenty-one. Is religion something of lesser quality than politics?
But the child cannot even understand language and he is circumcised; he is told that he is a Jew. He is baptized, with no consent from his side -- for the simple reason that you don't need any consent from your furniture, where to put it, to keep it or throw it. You are behaving with your children in the same way, like things.

If the parents are really alert, conscious, they will wait for the child to grow up so that he can choose. If he feels like becoming a Christian, he is free. If he feels like becoming a Buddhist, he is free. But he should choose only when he decides.

My feeling is that if twenty-one is the minimum age for politics, then for religion forty-two should be the minimum age when people can decide. And in fact that is the time when religion becomes important. You have lived life; you have seen all the seasons of life -- forty-two is a very important turning point. You have to decide whether you will continue the same routine life, or you will bring some new dimension to it. And that new dimension is religion.

If the person chooses to be religious -- simply religious, not belonging to any organization, not belonging to any church -- that's perfectly good. He has chosen freedom. But it is personal, intimate, absolutely his own affair; nobody can interfere in it. But parents start interfering from the very beginning. Why the hurry? The hurry is that later on the child will argue, later on he will ask why he is a Jew -- because he was not born a Jew; no child is born a Jew or a Christian or a Hindu. All children are born as a tabula rasa: a clean slate. Nothing is written on them... pure innocence.
The first thing to remember is, don't reduce the child into a thing, by any of your efforts. Give him individuality; don't impose personality on him. Individuality he brings with himself; personality is imposed by the parents, by the society, by the educational system, by the church. If you understand, you will not impose anything on the child, you will help the child to be himself.

Certainly it is difficult. That's why all the societies of all the ages have chosen the simple path: it is simpler to impose something on the child. Then he is obedient; then he is not rebellious. He does not give you any trouble, he is not a nuisance. But if you give him total freedom and help him to be free and individual, he is going to give you trouble about many things. People have chosen to destroy the child rather than accept the troubles.

If you are so much afraid of troubles, it is better not to give birth to a child. But to give birth to a living being, and then to destroy it just for your peace of mind, is very inhuman. Children are the most enslaved class of people in human society, the most exploited -- and exploited "for their own sake."
The child, if he is free, is going to ask questions which you don't know the answers to. And your ego does not allow you to say, "I don't know" -- it is better to force the child to keep his mouth shut. Every parent is continually telling the children, "Shut up. Sit silently. When you grow old you will know the answer."

My grandfather used to tell me the same thing in my childhood. Year after year I continued to ask the same questions, and I asked him, "I am growing, but your answer remains the same: Shut up... when you grow up. Can you please tell me at what age I will know the answer?"
The day I asked him, I was fifteen. I said, "I have been hearing this for ten years. In ten years nothing has changed, and I suspect that even in a hundred years nothing is going to change. My question will remain a question and there is not going to be any answer. And you cannot look directly into my eyes. You also don't know the answer, but you don't have the guts to accept it."
He was taken aback, shocked, but he thought that it would be better to say something, because it was going to happen again and again. He said, "You are right; I am sorry. I don't know the answer, I was just postponing it. I thought you would forget all about it. And that's how it has been all along. I had also asked the same question and I was told, `When you grow up you will know.' And now I am seventy-five, just on the verge of death, and I have not got the answer. Just by growing old, you cannot get the answer. I was hoping that you will also grow old, you will have your children asking you the same question, and you will say to them, `Grow old and you will get it.' This is how it has been done for centuries."

An individual child is troublesome because he is alive, because he is intelligent, because he can expose your ignorance. And you are ignorant in almost all the basic points of life. Do you really know God? Do you really know that Jesus Christ was the only begotten son of God? Do you know that there is a hell and a heaven beyond this life?
What do you know? Do you know yourself, who you are? -- except the name, which is a label glued to you after you were born, except your profession, that you are a doctor, that you are an engineer, that you are a scientist, that you are a professor. But this is not your being, this is your profession. What do you know about yourself?

The whole society has been living in utter ignorance -- and perpetuating it by not allowing children to be individual seekers, because it is through individual seeking that one comes to know who he is, and whether there is any God or just a fiction. One comes to know whether his life is eternal or just confined to seventy years. Only experience... but experience needs enquiry, search. But all of that is being stopped by the parents, by the teachers, by the priests.
Either they say that you will get it when you are old enough, or they give a fictitious answer, which the innocent child cannot argue against. They say that God created the world. Every child asks, "Who created the world?" Every child is being told, "God created the world." Do you really know? Were you a witness when God was creating the world? Was there any witness at the time of creation? If there is no witness, then what are the grounds on which you are basing your fact? And stupidity knows no limits....

Christians say God created the world four thousand and four years before Jesus Christ's birth. They exactly know the time -- four thousand and four years before Christ was born. Certainly it must have been January first, Monday. That can be easily inferred. But the whole answer is nonsense, because we have excavated ancient cities in China, in India, of civilizations which are seven thousand years old. Ruins of great civilizations -- they must have remained in existence for a few thousand years. We have found skeletons of animals fifty thousand years old. And according to Christianity, it is only six thousand years old -- the whole of creation!
But the child cannot ask. If he is too inquisitive, he is punished for it. If he is obedient, if whatever you say he accepts without any argument, he is praised. That's your story of Adam and Eve. Why were they expelled from the Garden of Eden? Because they disobeyed. There begins the wrong upbringing of children. They were the first children, mythologically.

And what kind of father was this God, who told them not to eat from the tree of knowledge and not to eat the fruit from the tree of eternal life? Two trees are prohibited....
The story is significant. It shows what perhaps every father is doing: preventing the child from becoming wise, keeping him ignorant. But it is the natural curiosity of every child -- if you prevent him, if you tell him not to eat the fruit of this tree... In the Garden of Eden there must have been millions of trees. If God had not pointed them out, I don't think we would be sitting here; we would be still wandering in the Garden of Eden. It would have been almost impossible to find those trees.
The whole civilization, the whole evolution of man goes back to the disobedience of Adam and Eve. They ate from the tree of knowledge.

And you can see the antithesis that I was talking about just before: God says, "Don't eat from that tree," and the devil comes in the shape of a snake and says, "Eat it -- because if you eat it you will be wise, and if you eat from the other tree also, you will be as eternal as God, as wise as God. And that old guy is really jealous; he does not want you to be equal to him."

Now this is conspiracy! On the one side prevention, on the other side provocation. And what can you expect of innocent Adam and Eve? They ate from the tree of knowledge. They loved it -- for the first time they became alert, alert of their nakedness, alert of their animalness. But before they could reach to the other tree, they were expelled. They were caught red-handed and expelled from the Garden of Eden, and since then man has been searching and searching for the other tree.
The whole scientific endeavor is nothing but a search for eternal life, and the whole religious endeavor is also nothing but a search for eternal life. The other tree we have missed. And the first tree has been so helpful to make us human beings -- now we know we can be equal to gods. All enquiries are basically to find some source so that life can be eternal... or perhaps it is eternal and we have to discover it.

What God did to his children, every father is doing to his children. It is perfectly right to say, "God, the father" -- they have a similarity. Every father should be called "Father, the God."
Obedience has become the basis of bringing up children, and that is the wrong basis. Intelligence, rebelliousness should be the basis. The child should say yes only when his intelligence says yes; otherwise he should say no. And his yes or his no has to be respected. He is a stranger from an unknown world, a visitor, a guest to your family. Behave with him as a friend, as a guest. He has every right to say no or yes, and you have to make it completely clear that whatever he says will be respected; otherwise we create yes-sayers. That is spiritual slavery.

In offices they are saying yes to the boss, in the home they are saying yes to the wife. They have forgotten completely that the word `no' exists. And it strange that `no' defines you, gives you a clear-cut personality; `yes' dissolves you.
One should first learn to say no.
Your yes is meaningful only when you are also capable of saying no. If you are incapable of saying no, your `yes' is a robot `yes'. It is meaningless.

Children should be treated with great respect. All the societies have done just the opposite: they have been teaching children to respect the parents, respect the elders, the grandparents.
It was a continuous problem for me because in India the families are joined. In my family there were almost sixty people; everybody was an elder, and there was a continual exercise to touch their feet. Finally I said to my father, "Enough is enough. I don't see any point in it. I don't have any respect for these people; I don't see anything worth respecting in them. Why should I touch their feet?" I refused. My father said, "That is going to be a trouble."

I said, "That is your problem, that is not my problem. I have solved my problem. I will certainly touch the feet of somebody whom I feel respect for, whom I feel some deep love for. But why should I go on doing this exercise to every person for whom I don't have any feeling?"
But this is the way the children are being brought up: respect the old people. Why? Just because they are old? Has oldness something respectable?

And this is the same logic: respect the people who are dead, because they are even older. Respect the people who have been dead for thousands of years, because nobody can beat them. You are making the living respect the dead. You are making the fresh, the newly sprouting leaf respect the dead leaves which have fallen on the ground, or are just going to fall down.
In a right upbringing of children, children should be respected, because the old people are soon going to disappear, but children have a long life to live.

And respect has an alchemical effect. If children are respected, the very respect will prevent them from doing many things -- it goes against their respectability. It will make them do many things which they would not have ever cared to do, but now they are so much respected, they feel like being worthy of that respect. But right now the whole thing is upside down.
The children need to be taken care of, they need your help, but they don't need to be made dependent on you. Your real help will be to make them independent; your real help will be such that your help is no longer needed.

They are strangers in the world. You can keep an eye on them so that they cannot fall into a ditch, but there is no need to enslave them just to save them from the ditch. If these are the only two alternatives, I prefer the ditch. At least by falling in the ditch they will learn something. They will learn what ditches are; they will learn not to fall again into any other ditch. But slavery for their whole life, protection for their whole life, makes them incapable of learning.

When you send them to school, a basic education should be given to all children. By basic education I mean: one international language to create one world, their mother tongue, the three R's: reading, arithmetic, writing. You can see it: people's handwriting is so ugly for the simple reason that nobody pays any attention to their writing. And writing is their signature; it shows their whole personality, whether there is a rhythm, an art. Their writing should be a painting, an art.
This should be the basic education. And after the basic education, the teachers, psychoanalysts, psychologists should be continuously learning about the children and what are their potentials. Tests can be developed which can give more evidence that the person can become a great musician or a painter or a poet or a scientist. Right now the whole world is in a chaos: the painter is making shoes, the man who was meant to make shoes is painting. Naturally, if you see the painting it looks crazy -- it is no wonder! Everybody is somewhere where he is not supposed to be. It is such a mess!

I am reminded of a great surgeon. He was the greatest surgeon in his country, very much respected, a Nobel prize winner -- and he was retiring. He was almost seventy-five, but still no young man was capable of doing such artful surgical work as he was capable of. Even at the age of seventy-five, his fingers were not trembling. He was a brain surgeon. In your small skull there are seven million nerves -- you can think how small they will be -- and when somebody is operating on the brain to remove some nerves, the danger is he may cut other nerves which are so close together, so the hand has not to shake at all.

At the age of seventy-five he was still a perfect surgeon, and all the doctors and the surgeons had given him a party because he was retiring. They were dancing, singing, but he was sitting in a corner, sad, with tears in his eyes. One of his old friends came by and he said, "What is the matter? Everybody is so happy and you are looking so sad -- I even see tears in your eyes." He said, "Yes, there is a reason. In the first place I wanted to become a dancer, I never wanted to become a surgeon. My parents forced me. Although I became the most famous surgeon, it was not my heart's desire. I would have been far happier just with a guitar on the street as a beggar -- a singer, a dancer.

"All this fame has meant nothing to me. All these awards have meant nothing to me. Each award has only reminded me of one thing, that I am losing my life and I am not where I am supposed to be. And now my whole life is finished. These tears are... I am crying because... why could I not rebel against my parents, and just do whatever I wanted to do?"

The world is so miserable. Ninety percent of its misery and anguish comes from the fact that everybody is doing somebody else's work. Naturally he is not happy; he cannot put his whole soul into it.
So the parents should not decide where their children are going, in what direction. It should be decided by psychoanalysts, psychologists, teachers who have watched those children for four years during their basic education. The children should be given tests so everything is clear, where they will feel a fulfillment.

Now parents decide for a better job; their reasons for deciding are different. They are not deciding for the child and his potential, they are deciding for financial reasons, for respectability. If he becomes a great engineer or a surgeon he will have a good life, a comfortable life; he will have a respectable life. Their intention is not bad, but the path to hell is paved with good intentions. The question is not their good intention, the question is what is hidden in the child that needs a flowering.

And that is possible now. We can find out what is hidden in a child and let him move in that direction. Perhaps he may not have a very comfortable life, but he will have very contented life -- and what is comfort in comparison to contentment?

Perhaps he may not become world famous, but who cares? How many people know him does not make any difference. But dancing or singing or painting, he will have a fulfillment, a flowering.
His life will be juicy.
His aura will be of joy.

This whole world can be a paradise; we just have to put everybody in his own place. Right now everybody is in the wrong place: nobody is happy, nobody is blissful, nobody is contented. And the whole responsibility is on how we start bringing up children.

- Socrates Poisoned Again After 25 Centuries, Chapter #2

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