His Holiness the 17th Karmapa: When We Talk to Children

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Young children are inquisitive and curious. They are trying to work things out for themselves, so it can be very effective to explain the reasons for the instructions and guidance we give them. Rather than mandating behavior or imposing a discipline based on external authority, it is better to help them see the results of acting in a certain way. The long-term goal is for them to adopt the values as their own, rather than experience them as externally imposed.

When we talk to children, we can try to put sense into their heads, but just as importantly, we should try to put sense into their hearts. We should have the patience to talk to children, to educate them. Teach children how to value their own principles. Our aim should be to instill in them good ways of thinking and feeling for themselves.

(From: “The Heart Is Noble. Changing the World from the Inside Out”, p.135)

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