Gujarati Parenting: in alignment with our roots
Want a calmer morning?
There are no right or wrong ways of parenting. No matter what part of the world or what culture you are from we all do the best we know how from our own conditioning, programming and the way we were raised.
Having said that, we are who we are because of our parents. Our value system is instilled in us by their parenting. Many of us that live outside of India fear that we will assimilate into our new environment so much that we will lose touch with our roots and our culture. This may be true for we all want a sense of belonging. The key is to welcome the new and value the old. Our roots and traditions are what make us unique in this large melting pot of we call world.
For our fast-paced life today it is hard to be mindful of teaching our children the importance of our rich culture as it can seem like one more thing on your already full to do list. It doesn’t have to be that way. You can introduce ideas gently and be flexible with their implementation.
By no means, I have this parenting thing figured out however I know what has worked and what seems to work for many families around me.
1. Quick morning affirmation: This begins with the first thought we put in our head. Many Gujarati families do “pratah prarthana” (morning prayers) We all may not have time for this so how about a quick thank you to the Universe for all you have and guiding you throughout the day. Here is a link to a sholaka I use first thing in the morning, if you wish to learn.
2. Greeting and acknowledging: Greet all family members with a smile and saying gods’ name or other spiritual greetings used in your family. For example many say Jay Shree Krishna and some choose to bow and touch the older family members’ feet to get the blessings for the day to come and also to acknowledge the God that lives in every single one of us.
3. Morning Prayers: Bowing down at the altar takes less than 30 seconds but it sets your day and the tone for your day. If you don’t have time to do that then do what many Gujarati parents do they play prayers, bhajans and sing with their children in the car on their way to school.
4. Mindful morning/Doing a quick Mada This is the kind of meditation practice that I learned at a very early age. I was given a set of beads and I was asked to follow a mantra and close my eyes. It only took less than a minute however this grounded me and calm my thoughts down before the day started.
5. Warm Nasto: The rule in our family is as much as we can, to sit down and eat all meals together and this begins with breakfast. There is something about starting your digestion process with warm food. It is not necessarily Indian breakfast every day but it feels so good to have something warm in your belly and I like to plan out all of my meals Sunday night for the upcoming week to make things go easier.
Once again these are just suggestions and there is no perfect way of starting your morning. We can however strive to have calmer mornings. What are some of your morning routines that have worked for your family?