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Hindu View of a Harmonious Family

Every human being is potentially divine and the goal of life is to express this divinity by performing useful work. A harmonious family is an institution which provides the energy and inspiration to bring forth one's divinity. A child of a harmonious family becomes a divine personality.

Expressing one's inherent divinity is akin to entering a house that has four doors, with each door having a unique key. Each door must be opened to gain entry into the house. There is one road that leads to this house. In this example, the four doors are dedication, contribution, learning and responsibility. The four keys are love, recognition, sharing and trust. The name of the road is offer and receive (sammarpan and swik„r). The following illustrates which key opens which door:

OfferLove & ReceiveDedication
RecognitionContribution
Sharing Learning
Trust Responsibility


Love and Dedication

Love is accepting a person as he (or she) is and helping him to grow. Love is a divine feeling which is beyond likes and dislikes. Dedication is self-sacrificing devotion to whatever one does. Dedication builds attitudes in people. Positive attitudes are necessary to perform useful work in the world.

Love and dedication are two aspects of the same relationship. When parents are loving, the children are dedicated. When the children are dedicated, the parents are loving. When the teacher is loving, the students are dedicated and when the students are dedicated, the teacher is loving. The love-dedication relationship brings out noble qualities of the child and helps him to grow and establish harmonious relationships within the family and with the outside world.

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Recognition and Contribution

While attitudes are necessary, abilities and skills are required for an active and contributing personality. Abilities and skills are developed by performing useful work. It is essential to ensure an atmosphere of daily useful work in the family. When children contribute to useful work, they can perform useful work for the society, nation and humanity in their adult lives. Recognition and contribution are two sides of the same interaction. Recognition begets contribution and the contribution begets recognition. Parents are the starting point. When parents recognize and appreciate, children will contribute more and more. When children contribute, parents will appreciate more and more.


Sharing and Learning

Dedication and contribution alone are not sufficient. Knowledge is necessary to perform useful work in the world. Knowledge comes from learning, and learning comes from sharing. While there is an end for every teaching, there is no end for learning. When parents continuously share their knowledge and experience with their children, the children continuously learn. Sharing and learning are two aspects of the same relationship. When parents share, children learn and when children learn, parents share. Sharing is the best way of teaching. Sharing encourages learning. With a positive attitude towards work and learning, children can grow into noble personalities.


Trust and Responsibility

Positive attitude, dedication and knowledge alone are not sufficient for a person to express divinity. Responsibility is another key factor. A responsible person is an enriched person. Assuming responsibility for the family, society, nation, and humanity is divinity. It is essential to inculcate a sense of responsibility into children, a task for the parents. The parents cannot perform this task unless they are responsible themselves. Trust and responsibility are two aspects of the same interaction. When parents trust their children, the children take on responsibility, and in turn develop increasing trust with their parents. A trusted person is a divine person.

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Conclusions

  • A harmonious family is an institution, which provides the energy and inspiration necessary to bring forth one's divinity.

  • The key to a harmonious family is the offer and receive philosophy (sammarpan and swik„r), as taught by rishis. Family members must learn to rise above the take and take (a thief's philosophy), take and give (government philosophy), give and take (business philosophy) and adopt the offer and receive philosophy within the family.

  • The love-dedication relationship builds positive attitudes in children. As parents offer love and receive dedication, children will offer dedication and receive love.

  • Encourage children to participate in all aspects of daily work of the family. With positive attitudes and useful work, they will develop into noble and productive personalities in their adult lives.

  • Share knowledge with children. With positive attitudes, useful work and learning, they will become dedicated, knowledgeable and contributing personalities.

  • When parents trust children, children will take on responsibilities. A responsible person is an enriched person.

  • The three basic ideals of Hindu Dharma-Sewa (unselfish service), vishva kutumbam (universal family), and sahaviryam (together-ness in the family)-can be realized when children grow into responsible, knowledgeable, and dedicated contributors.


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