Q: Dharma seems to be such a big concept. When is the best time to help my child start thinking about Dharma?
A: The concept of Dharma, or life purpose, can be introduced to children at a very young age. My mentor told me that at the age of 2, she remembers having insight that she is here for a reason. She confided that this knowledge has carried her through challenging times throughout her life. In our family, I integrate that we are here for a reason in casual conversation.
Many parents I know suggest careers instead of purpose as the main goal. For instance, I often hear, “you are going to be a doctor” or “Engineer.” Though I would be very pleased if my son does indeed become a doctor or engineer, I tell him that he came because there was something he felt so compelled to do, it filled his heart with such love and compassion, it brought him to this place and time.
In the meantime, at the beginning of homework sessions, we say a short prayer, dedicating his homework, and what he is about to learn, to somehow making the world a better place.
Marc and Craig Kielburger’s book entitled, “The World Needs Your Kid: How to Raise Children who care and Contribute” demonstrate how small actions make a difference in the life of a child and ultimately change the world.