Awakened Living Study Program, Lesson 36: CHILDREN


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 CHILDREN. 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.

When was the last time you listened to your son or daughter?
What did you learn about your son or daughter?
When was the last time you shared with your son or daughter?
What did you learn about yourself?
How often do you listen to your children?
Decide to listen to and share with your children.
And it is done!

A child is a son, a daughter, a boy, a girl or a person who is not an adult. In the Greatest Love of all” by Whitney Houston we learn the following lessons:

I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children's laughter remind us how we used to be.

But what do we really know about our children? Do we use standards set by society to raise them or do we learn from their nature and love them? This presentation will answer these and similar questions to help us to understand our children and to help them to live on earth with knowledge, wisdom, understanding and joy.

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 worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today. Stacia Tauscher
2 In a dark moment I ask, "How can anyone bring a child into this world?" And the answer rings clear, "Because there is no other world, and because the child has no other way into it." Robert Brault
3 I brought children into this dark world because it needed the light that only a child can bring. Liz Armbruster
4 Children need love, especially when they do not deserve it. Harold Hulbert 
5 "Choose to commit to your children that you will become the living example of what they should strive to live up to in their adult lives." Keith and Maya Traver
6 "I believe that it is our behaviors and activities that we are passing on to children - not our preachings or teachings." Hyacinth Mottle
7 The greatest gift that parents can give to their children is to let them see how much their parents love each other." Marko Petkovic
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 Experiencing the present moment, and enjoying the child who is in front of you without worrying about your meeting the next day is paramount to any other obligation you currently have. Nathalie Perlman,
10 Parents are the ultimate role models for children. Every word, movement and action has an effect. No other person or outside force has a greater influence on a child than the parent. Bob Keeshan
11 I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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 The destruction of the family destroys its rituals of righteousness, and when the righteous rituals are no more, unrighteousness overcomes the whole family." Bhagavad-gita 1:40
2 Care about your children. Just bless them instead of worrying, as every child is the little Buddha who helps his parents to grow up. Buddha
3 You can only coil a fish when it is fresh. African Religions, Nupe Proverb
4 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
5 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
6 The gentleman works upon the trunk. When that is firmly set up, the Way grows. And surely proper behavior towards parents and elder brothers is the trunk of Goodness? Confucianism. Analects 1.2
7 Those who wish to be born in [the Pure Land] of Buddha... should act filially towards their parents and support them, and should serve and respect their teachers and elders. Buddhism. Meditation on Buddha Amitayus 27
8 Let your mother be a God to you; let your father be a god to you; let your teacher be a god to you; let your guest also be a god to you. Do only such actions as are blameless. Always show reverence to the great. Hinduism. Taittiriyaka Upanishad 1.11.2
9 Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.Judaism, Tanakh: Proverbs 13:24
10 An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.” Christianity, New Testament: Luke 9:46-47

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 is from Japan and it is called MOMOTARO, OR THE STORY OF THE SON OF A PEACH

 Once upon a time an old man and an old woman lived in Okayama. The old man was a woodcutter and his wife washed clothes. All they wanted was a child they could raise with love and care, but there was none and they were already past their reproductive years. One day the woman was at the river washing clothes and she saw a giant peach floating toward her. She took the peach and went home with it to her husband who immediately cut it in to two. To their surprise, there was a baby inside but they were afraid to touch the baby. The baby boy sensed their apprehension and said to them: “Do not be afraid for heaven has answered your prayers for a child to bless your old age and to bring peace to Okayama.” Thus assured they rejoiced and removed the baby, cleaned him, wrapped him in a blanket and called him Momotaro, meaning ‘Peach-Boy’.

Momotaro grew up to become a strong man and a great leader. Meanwhile the demons of the Oni Island have been terrorizing the people of Okayama and Momotaro came up with a plan to bring peace to his people. His mother made some delicious millet dumplings for his journey and Momotaro set out to attack the demons at Oni Island. On his way to the Island Momotaro met a dog, a monkey and a hawk. He told them his plans and invited them to join him and that he would share his food with them if they agreed.  They agreed to join him but they decided to eat first before attacking the demons. As soon as they were done eating Momotaro took his sword and led his friends to attack the demons. But first he asked the demons to surrender and make peace but they simply laughed. That strengthened Momotaro and his friends and they fought valiantly until the demons were defeated. Then the demons surrendered and promised to stop terrorizing the people of Japan and there was peace in the kingdom.

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 from Dorothy Nolte:

Children learn what they live.
If a child lives with criticism... he learns to condemn.
If he lives with hostility... he learns to fight.
If he lives with ridicule... he learns to be shy.
If he lives with shame... he learns to be guilty.
If he lives with tolerance... he learns confidence.
If he lives with praise... he learns to appreciate.
If he lives with fairness... he learns about justice. Dorothy Nolte 1924 – 2005

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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