This week's devastating earthquake in Haiti has certainly been a wake-up call. While many of us get lost in the details of our own little world, worrying about what's for dinner or how to get your child to pick up his shoes off the floor, there are children in the world who don't have very much for dinner, or the luxury of owning shoes. The relief efforts now underway throughout the world provide a perfect opportunity to practice and demonstrate positive karma for the children in our lives.
Lisa stumbled upon this great resource online, How to Create Positive Karma, and I find it to be a terrific starting point for practicing good karma ourselves. The principle is simple: Relay positive energy into the world and that positivity will be returned. Some suggestions, such as be considerate of others, consider vegetarianism, try to find common ground with others, even those you dislike, and donate your time and money to those in need, are fairly easy for an adult to comprehend and even put into action.
Teaching our kids is not quite that simple. But it can be done with one simple phrase, and it is the last one listed on this post: Practice the Golden Rule.
Aha! The Golden Rule, which was drilled into me by my grandmother when I was a little girl, is the best starting point I can think of for teaching children to mindful of their thoughts and actions in the world. "Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you." An amazing conversation starter, ask your child (kindergarten-aged or above) what they think this means. Listen as they interpret the golden rule. Help them to simplify it if they need guidance, and then brainstorm ways in which he or she could practice. The Golden Rule will naturally turn into a lesson in positive karma. They may find that sitting with a lonely classmate at lunchtime introduced them to a wonderful new friend, or that helping to care for a family pet brought on that pet's love of sleeping on his or her bed. What goes around comes around!
Haitian relief efforts by the local schools in ChildLight Yoga's hometown show how much children really do care about the world around them. Younger children can get involved by helping to collect much needed items, such as antibiotics, medicines, topical ointments, bandages, shoes and socks. Talk about what you are doing and the reasons why. Introduce the Golden Rule and see if your child can sympathize with the children of Haiti.
Today I began this lesson with my own children, as we collected items from around the house and boxed them up to donate to Life and Hope Haiti through a neighbor's connection to the organization. I explained to my five-year-old that there are children just like her who live far away, and need our help. She had some questions about their lifestyle, and at first couldn't quite understand how they lived without the many things we have, but she soon came around and took pride in sending supplies to Haiti.
For more information about how you can help the children of Haiti, see Hope for Haiti: How to Help TODAY! As always, we'd love to hear about your experiences of teaching positive karma and The Golden Rule to your own children. — Amy Bevan