The programme was organised with a focus on the methods and practices for parents to bring up children in conscious ways that ensure children blossom into happy, fulfilled individuals and in complete alignment with the purpose of their lives. The sessions were divided into 5 parts according to the age group, starting from pre-natal education to 18 years and above. About 40 participants registered for this event and all the sessions were conducted in a constructively interactive way.
In the first session, possibility of evolution only through birth was discussed, stating evolution as a double process; evolution of consciousness and evolution of nature. The highlight of the session was the stress on purity of aspiration as the key element in the process of birth, especially a mother’s aspiration to conceive a child in a particular state of consciousness and how conscious parenting starts from knowing oneself. Undergoing a purification process as a preparation before conception, importance of harmonious relationship between partners and father’s role as an enabler of supportive environment were also brought to participants’ attention. Other factors like physical environment, food, mental and emotional aspects were also discussed during the session.
The second session focused on the age group of 0-5 years, where the development of physical and motor-skills happens for a child. The session progressed with a discussion on two lines of child-development; one at the quality level and another of faculties of consciousness enabling development of skills in the child. Importance of mother’s milk and developing an attitude of necessity and nutrient source towards food was discussed with highlighting the role of discipline around food intake both for the mother and the child. At this stage, the child is like a sponge and absorbs everything from the environment as the separative consciousness is still not developed. Instilling trust and security in the child, exposure to beautiful things and addressing the curiosity of the child with openness are some of the points shared with the participants along with emphasising on the fact that a child imitates and learns by example, which makes parenting a sadhana and need to be the right mirror for the child. The session came to a close by bringing participants’ attention to the three natural qualities already present in the child at this stage; goodness, generosity and perseverance.
Session 3 was structured around the age group of 5-14 years where the development of emotional independence and search for identity begins for the child. Gitanjali discussed how, at this stage, the child makes an attempt to harmonise the differences experienced in the environment and this can be a perfect time to sow the seed of a self-directed life by turning the locus inward. Disciplining the emotional being and giving the right kind of exposure to the child for development of faculties of mind – observation and concentration – were the key elements discussed. Qualities developed during this stage are progress, courage, receptivity and will to know. The session came to a close with a message that the emotional being can only be trained when it has a higher ideal to which it submits itself and discipline and has some physical work that it enjoys doing and spends its energy.
The fourth session addressed the age group of 14-18, which is the time for mental independence in the child. The child develops the ability of critical thinking and understanding of abstract concepts. It is a stage of explorations and career choices, where it is necessary for the child to know that, with the freedom to choose, comes the responsibility of action and learning to choose wisely. The speaker highlighted the addictions that can begin at this stage and the developing awareness about sexuality in the child. Creating a space for conversation and introduction of a larger world-view helps the child to not give to peer pressure and enables a better understanding of the harmonious development of the body and seeing it as a part of biological evolution. The session came to a close with discussion on looking at a child beyond gender and focus on the soul qualities. The qualities developed at this stage are sincerity, humility and gratitude.
Fifth session focused on 18+ years, where a child becomes an adult and is ready for the spiritual independence and carving his or her own path. Gitanjali emphasised the ability of making life a constant unfolding of the ideal the child strives for and retaining the greater vision of life formed till this age. The discussion then focused on the parent’s ability to let go and allow the child to handle as much responsibility as possible by being in the background as their safety-net if required and how important it is for the parent to continue engaging meaningfully in life and be healthy. Another key factor for a parent is to instil the pursuit of excellence in the child and inculcate ability to discern between important and expedient. The qualities developed at this stage are equality and peace.
This continuous 5-day exploration on conscious parenting was well received by the participants. There was an atmosphere of consecration throughout, a beautiful offering to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Every significant point was made in reference to Them. Points like true education start even before birth and the importance of being the right role-model for the child and to instil into the child a love for learning and a will to progress were reiterated throughout all the sessions. With Gitanjali sharing her own personal experience of consciously raising a child made the sessions practical and concepts approachable for the participants. In the last session, Gitanjali was joined online by her son, Aryan, who shared his experience of being at the receiving-end of conscious parenting in action. Overall, the sessions were a balance of information and experience; the sharing which not only enriched the participants with the knowledge and importance of the process but also made them well equipped with the necessary tools to apply in their own journey of conscious parenting.
“The whole workshop was very relevant and inspiring. Giving bigger guidance followed by concrete examples were good. And bringing the Mother and Sri Aurobindo’s work together, eg. the wheel of qualities etc. mentally and spiritually enlightening with joy. I also loved Aryan there in the last session, seeing an inspiring product of this whole path of evolution was touching.”
“Thank you deeply, Gitanjali, Monica and James. Every day was an opportunity to receive, absorb and reflect. The last day to meet your son was a beautiful moment for us to witness all your care in making Aryan his very own radiant person. It was so wonderful to hear him share his original thinking of how the philosophy in which he as raised manifested in his life. Thank you for the rare and generous opportunity.”
“Thank you for this, Gitanjali. This is such a natural and beautiful progression from the womb to a conscious individual in the world, I also liked how you connected the journey with the 12 qualities given by the Mother.”