Raising healthy children.
There is an urgent need to focus on the plight of children. Future societies are shaped by how children are treated and reared.
Who are children? The Indian worldview points at souls taking on a human form to build up on their experience in the journey from darkness to the truth. Everything whether positive or negative has to be personally experienced to learn and grow.
The process is best left to nature. But that can be harsh. We have therefore intervened, and our interventions have turned out much worse as childhood faces a crisis never before observed in history.
Children should be treated like independent souls. They are helpless because of their forming bodies and minds but their level of awareness and maturity is much beyond we comprehend. Our duty is to try and fathom their mindset and put them in the best position to achieve their goal. This needs a discerning and detached mind and the realization that children are not personal property or that they come to fulfill parental aspirations. We have to mature first so that our children may be led towards maturity.
We should be very concerned about presenting them with a healthy body and mind and an education that will make them useful components of society as well as lead them towards their life’s goal.
Where life begins is difficult to say. Parents when they are born already determine what their children would be as they carry epigenetic memories from their ancestors. Then their own life and habits add to that. Vitality and quality of sperm and ovum depends on how parents shape themselves before they become so. If you are not healthy in body, mind and spirit do not expect to beget children who are. Your internal world is reflected in your children.
The ideal conditions are difficult in today’s world where medicine tells us otherwise. The current paradigm asserts health is independent of what you think or do. You can behave wantonly and still be healthy and beget healthy children. Nothing could be further from the truth and that paradigm has led to a profoundly sick and disturbed society. Our earlier generations carried forward experiences of the past, strengthened the experiences with their own studied and thoughtful lives, and passed on the best to their children with instructions to carry the process forward. The entire social structure was built around that.
A calm mind and personality endowed with positive habits living in a congenial environment, aware of the benefits of brahmacharya and endowed with a worldview that encompasses the physical and spiritual worlds is a fit parent.
The earlier process involved brahmacharya (retaining sexual integrity) till marriage, treating the partner respectfully as one for life, bringing children into the world with responsibility and afterthought fully realizing the importance of bringing a life into the world, allowing an alkaline undisturbed womb by staying apart and keeping the lady in a congenial atmosphere, natural childbirth, extensive breastfeeding and bonding, care from senior household members, and preparing for the child's future.
If we want we can still learn from that process. Reckless freedom has always brought destruction in its wake. The entire emerging science of the microbiome, epigenetics, role of mitochondrial energy in health, and the role of nature and circadian rhythm in our lives supports the earlier paradigm and negates the current. As we sow so we reap.
Are we willing to go the whole hog and sacrifice our profligate natures to beget a healthy generation? If not then we should stop crying wolf. We are the force that shapes our world.
Physical and mental health depends upon adherence to natural laws and the consequent vitality. Man going against nature itself is one big step for such a fall. It is nature that has formed our bodies and framed our minds. We are not an external pawn implanted on the world. The same earth, air, water and space that constitutes the world is also what we are composed of. The microbiome that shapes us is how we interact with nature and it interacts with us at physical, mental and emotional levels. Our composition that is the stable results of such interaction is passed on to the next generation through the mothers microbiome passed on at natural birth. This microbial load is the carrying forward of impressions known traditionally as sanskar. Society shapes that sanskar. An intelligent society has a positive outcome. I am leaving out consciousness here as it belongs to an esoteric level. We have intervened at the pregnancy, childbirth, infancy and childhood levels that has severely disturbed the process of inheritance and natural growth. We have built an artificial society cut off from nature and based on known toxic chemicals and adopted a lifestyle that is far from natural that has severely impacted our physical, mental and emotional health.