Awakened Living Study Program, Lesson 34: PARENTING


Dear brothers and sisters: Good morning and thank you for attending our weekly Awakened Living Study Program. My name is Alaye Soteme and I will be your host. Our topic for today’s Study is PARENTING. May we focus our full attention on this study for the lessons of life because knowledge is POWER, knowledge is SUCCESS, knowledge is FORGIVENESS, knowledge is WISDOM, knowledge is ENLIGHTENMENT and knowledge is AWAKENED LIVING.

All quotes relating to GOD are interpreted in a Universal sense; in other words our use of the word GOD does not refer to any religion, cultural Gods, saviors, or created Gods. GOD is the underlying ESSENCE of the Universe. GOD has no chosen people, GOD has no Sacred Text and GOD has no Sacred Place! The Universe is the Sacred Text, the Universe is the Sacred Place and all creatures are Testaments of GOD! 

Further you are here to look at life from a different angle. You are not here to follow what others have put in place be it their religion, their Gods, their sacred texts, their beliefs or their way of thinking. You are here to share your LIGHT with the world.  The beliefs of our ancestors are our liabilities. Our challenge is to look at life in ways that promote interdependence and destroy all forms of discrimination including racism, tribalism, nationalism, nepotism, fundamentalism, fanaticism, favoritism, exclusivism, chosen people and racial superiority. 

Lastly, none of the quotes here is absolute or written in blood. They are all human thoughts and ideas based on their experiences and according to their levels of consciousness. The Awakened Living Study Program is a platform to study what others have said and improve on them. Do not for any reason use the quotes as mantra for life because you are the LIGHT!

Opening Meditation
You may offer an appropriate prayer before reading, discussing and reflecting on the famous quotes and the Sacred Texts verses. You may use the following prayer:

O LOVE who pervades the universe, we thank you for this opportunity to learn. We pray for LOVE to manifest amongst us to guide our readings, discussions and reflections. We specially pray for peace of mind and save us from all distractions and concerns of mind and body so that we may learn the lessons of life for our guidance and the transformation of our lives. In the name of Love, the Earth and the Universe, Amen.

The Study Leader may make announcements at this time. Welcome new members, recognize birthdays or anniversaries; make an award or recognize a contribution; announce Circle of Life successes. This is also an opportunity for anyone to share an experience, give thanks or make a request for special prayers.

Opening Thoughts
The leader or an appointed person will stand and read the opening thoughts. The opening thoughts explain the topic of discussion. You may use the information below or explain it in your own words.

Parenting is carrying your baby for nine months or so; making sure that the new born baby is safe by being there all the time; ensuring her good health by having a thermometer to measure her temperature, having the appropriate fever reducer at home and seeing a physician immediately you sense problems; training her to become a productive member of society by developing her social, physical, emotional, intellectual and financial needs; sharing your family values and introducing her to universal spiritual values.

Prenatal Months: You can prepare for your baby by taking pregnancy and parenting classes. Have a health insurance, find a compatible physician and have a regular checkup. Have a regular walk, read to your baby and communicate with your baby. Eat fresh foods; avoid using drugs, smoking and drinking alcohol.

Newborn Months: Be sensitive to the cries of your baby and address them immediately. Quite often babies cry because of hunger, discomfort or loneliness. Use a baby monitor when you are in another room. Educate your baby by reading to her regularly. Tell her stories of love, courage and compassion.

Infancy Months: Support your baby as she learns to walk, as she learns to talk and as she learns to communicate with others. Tell her the stories of your people and share your family values and your family history. Introduce your baby to the library at an early age and make it your duty to visit the library at least once every week. Play with your baby regularly and demonstrate your love until she feels that you really love her.

Toddler Years: Begin early to teach your baby how to brush her teeth. You are your child’s first dentist. Be firm in your discipline and follow through under normal conditions. Make sure your child’s clothes and shoes are proper. Teach your child how to count and how to hold a pencil early. Have daily disclosure meetings with your child and teach her how to meditate and to pray.

Preschool Years: Set proper rules to guide her behavior and ask for her input when setting those rules. Use your family values as your guide and make sure your family values are on a wall where she could read them. Have rules for when to go to bed and when to wake up in the morning; when to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner; when to go to school and when to play.

School Years: Emphasize the importance of education by going to the library regularly with your child. Help out with homework and attend all school activities with your child. As your child interacts with other children in school she could bring new information that may challenge your values but do not take this personally since she is now exploring. Instead this is the time for you to demonstrate your love and support in order to guide her through this phase.

Adolescent Years: Your child is now becoming an adult. She will undergo emotional as well as physical changes. Girls begin to grow breasts and begin to have a regular menstrual cycle. Boys develop facial hairs, have a deep voice and produce semen. The significance of these changes is that a girl could have a child and a boy could make a girl have a child. But both are not mentally, financially and socially ready to have children. Thus it is wise to educate your children to postpone sexual activity and concentrate on their education.

Famous Quotes
Take turns to read the famous quotes and discuss what you have learned from each quote.  Please give credit to the author of the quote and as an assignment for presentations each person may choose an author and find out more about the author to share with the group during the next session.

1 We are apt to forget that children watch examples better than they listen to preaching.” Roy L. Smith
2 “To be in your children’s memories tomorrow, you have to be in their lives today” Anonymous
3 “The best inheritance a parent can give his children is a few minutes of his time each day.” O. A. Battista
4 We may not be able to prepare the future for our children, but we can at least prepare our children for the future. President Franklin D. Roosevelt
5 Your kids require you most of all to love them for who they are, not to spend your whole time trying to correct them. Bill Ayers
6 Most things are good, and they are the strongest things; but there are evil things too, and you are not doing a child a favor by trying to shield him from reality. The important thing is to teach a child that good can always triumph over evil. - Walt Disney
7 Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them. James Baldwin
8 If you raise your children to feel that they can accomplish any goal or task they decide upon, you will have succeeded as a parent and you will have given your children the greatest of all blessings. Brian Tracy
9 Your children are not your children, they come through you, but they are life itself, wanting to express itself. Wayne Dyer
10 Leave your pride, ego, and narcissism somewhere else. Reactions from those parts of you will reinforce your children's most primitive fears. Henry Cloud
11 Educate your children to self-control, to the habit of holding passion and prejudice and evil tendencies subject to an upright and reasoning will, and you have done much to abolish misery from their future and crimes from society. Benjamin Franklin
12 If you are a parent, open doors to unknown directions to the child so he can explore. Don't make him afraid of the unknown, give him support. Osho

Sacred Texts Quotes
Take turns to read all the sacred text quotes and discuss what you have learned from each quote. In your discussion compare and contrast the quotes. What did you learn from the similarities and differences? What quote inspires you? What life lessons did you learn from the quote? Please give credit to the sacred text during your reading by mentioning the name of the text and where the quote could be found. 

1 Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.
Judaism. Tanakh: Proverbs 22.6
2. He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.
Judaism. Tanakh: Proverbs 13.24
3. You can only coil a fish when it is fresh. African Traditional Religion. Nupe Proverb (Nigeria)
4. As the child, according to its natural disposition, commits thousands of faults,
The father instructs and slights, but again hugs him to his bosom. Sikhism. Adi Granth, Sorath, M.5
5 In the Kingdom of Heaven, true love is fulfilled centered on parental love.... The family is the original base [of true love] and the foundation of eternity. Unification Church. Sun Myung Moon, 9-30-69
5 Attend strictly to the commands of your parents and the instructions of your teachers. Serve your leader with diligence; be upright of heart; eschew falsehood; and be diligent in study; that you may conform to the wishes of the heavenly spirit. Shinto. Oracle of Temmangu
6 “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. 14 In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish. Christianity, New Testament: Matthew 18:12-14
7  Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Christianity, New Testament: Ephesians 6:4
8 Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. Christianity, New Testament: Colossians 3:21
9 Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart. Judaism, Tanakh: Proverbs 29:17
10 Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full[a] respect. Christianity, New Testament: 1 Timothy 3:2-4

Teaching Story
The teaching story is a story, a parable or thoughts related to the topic of discussion. An appointed person will read each story and the group will take turns and discuss. What does the story mean to you? What did you learn from the story? Did the story add anything new to the topic of discussion? How has this study enriched your life?

Our teaching story: If You’ve Never Failed – You Haven’t Tried Hard Enough to Succeed, comes from the Swayamsat website and here it is:

I recently heard a story about a famous research scientist who had made several very important medical breakthroughs. He was being interviewed by a newspaper reporter who asked him why he thought he was able to be so much more creative than the average person. What set him so far apart from others?

He responded that, in his opinion, it all came from an experience with his mother that occurred when he was about two years old. He had been trying to remove a bottle of milk from the refrigerator when he lost his grip on the slippery bottle and it fell, spilling its contents all over the kitchen floor—a veritable sea of milk!

When his mother came into the kitchen, instead of yelling at him, giving him a lecture, or punishing him, she said, "Robert, what a great and wonderful mess you have made! I have rarely seen such a huge puddle of milk. Well, the damage has already been done. Would you like to get down and play in the milk for a few minutes before we clean it up?"

Indeed, he did. After a few minutes, his mother said, "You know, Robert, whenever you make a mess like this, eventually you have to clean it up and restore everything to its proper order. So, how would you like to do that? We could use a sponge, a towel, or a mop. Which do you prefer?" He chose the sponge and together they cleaned up the spilled milk.

His mother then said, "You know, what we have here is a failed experiment in how to effectively carry a big milk bottle with two tiny hands. Let’s go out in the back yard and fill the bottle with water and see if you can discover a way to carry it without dropping it." The little boy learned that if he grasped the bottle at the top near the lip with both hands, he could carry it without dropping it. What a wonderful lesson!

This renowned scientist then remarked that it was at that moment that he knew he didn’t need to be afraid to make mistakes. Instead, he learned that mistakes were just opportunities for learning something new, which is, after all, what scientific experiments are all about. Even if the experiment "doesn’t work," we usually learn something valuable from it. Wouldn’t it be great if all parents would respond the way Robert’s mother responded to him?

Closing Meditation
The closing meditation presents the highlights of the Study.  The highlights should include among others what you have learned and what aspects of the study are worth noting. The leader or an appointed person may share the closing meditation. You may use the thoughts and information provided below but I encourage you to use the contributions of the participants and current relevant information.

Our closing meditation is on How to become an effective parent by Dr Sonari

Love your child unconditionally.
Update your parenting skills with classes and seminars.
Read contemporary books on parenting.
Accept your children for who they are.
Do not judge your children.
Create an environment that fosters growth and development.
Be there for your child at all times.
Plan in advance to address the developmental issues of your child
Know and be there when your child needs you the most.
Know how to address the developmental issues of your child.
Do not hit, flog or whip your children.
Use creative educational methods to address poor behaviors.
Do not withhold your love as a condition for proper behavior.
Do not withhold food as a condition for proper behavior.
Do not limit air from your children as a form of punishment.
Love your children even if they misbehave.
Listen to your children irrespective of their behaviors.
Reward your children for their accomplishments.
Encourage your children to try again when they fail.
Always think good of your child.
Seek your child’s opinion when making a family decision.
Admit when you are wrong and apologize for your mistakes.
Be sensitive to your child’s need for a hug or touch.
Introduce the Holy Book to your children.
Meditate and pray in the Temple with your child.
Seek professional help when needed.

You may accept gifts and donations at this time for the work you are doing. It takes effort, time and money to put the Study Program together so I encourage attendants to give. An appointed person may now pass the donation bag. The leader may bless the gifts after the donations.

Closing Prayer
Always close your Study Program with a prayer or an affirmation. Pray for guidance and direction during the week. Pray for everyone present. The leader or an appointed person may offer the closing prayer.

You may serve refreshments after the Study. This is a time to relax and socialize. Get to know the people in the Program with you and I mean really know them well. One of the secrets of success is connection so I encourage you to know the people around you. The host may decide what to serve or he or she may ask the attendants what they want for refreshments before each Study Program.

Talent Contribution
You may now entertain the group with your talent in music, songs, dance and poetry including playing musical instruments. This is also a good time to share some Awakened Living tips for the benefit of the group. 

The Circle of Life
The Circle of Life depicts different aspects of your life. You are at the center and the different aspects radiate outwards to form a circle as long as they are in harmony. You can pinpoint an aspect of your life at any given time and find out if you are in harmony with the rest of the circle. If an aspect needs improvement you may have an uneven circle. Your challenge then is to work on the area that needs improvement in order to keep it in harmony with the rest of the circle.

There are 12 aspects in this version of the Wheel of Life including Health, Spirituality, Family, Relationships, Education, Mission, Finances, Work, Play, Personal Development, Environment, and creativity. Take time to answer the following questions and begin to work on the areas that need improvement.

1. Are you healthy?
2. Do you have any bad habits like drinking, smoking, pornography, fast foods, etc?

1. Are you spiritual?
2. When was the last time you meditated, chanted, affirmed or prayed?

1. Do you have a family?
2. Are you happy with your spouse, children, and parents?

1. Do you have friends?
2. Are you happy with your friends, co-workers, boss?

1. Do you have a degree?
2. When was the last time you read a book?

1. Do you have a mission statement?
2. What is your life mission?

1 Are you financially stable?
2. Do you have any debts?

1. Do you have a job, career?
2. Are you happy with your job, career?

1. Do you play regularly?
2. When was the last time you played with your friends, children, spouse, parents or pet?

Personal Development
1. Do you lose your temper often?
2. When was the last time you took a class on human development?

1 Are you happy with your environment?
2. How are you reducing pollution?

1. Are you sharing your creativity?
2. When was the last time you wrote a poem, painted, sang, danced, or played a musical instrument?

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