The beauty of the wonderful epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata is that they have something to offer to whoever is reading them, irrespective of their age. So read the epics to your child, maybe split into short portions, like a bedtime story. Even if your child knows the “story” try weaving it around “lessons” he can relate to in his life. This will enable him to see the epic as more than a mere story.
1. Love between Siblings
If your child has siblings, talk to him about the love that Rama and Lakshmana had for each other. When Rama had to leave the palace and its comforts, his family, and live in the jungle for 14 years, Lakshmana didn’t hesitate a second to join him. For Lakshmana a life of hardship with his brother was far better than a life of princely luxury without him.
Another example is Bharatha, for whom his mother Kaikeyi had Rama banished from Ayodhya, refused to ascend the throne and placed the slippers of Rama on the throne and ruled on his behalf till Rama’s exile was over. In today’s age, where disputes on properties are commonplace, this bond of love and respect that the siblings had for each other, is a real inspiration for present day kids.
2. Keeping your promises
Importance of keeping your word. King Dasharatha loved his sons dearly and among them his favorite was Prince Rama, for whom he would have gladly given up his life. But when his third wife Kaikeyi, whom he had promised to grant one wish, asked him to banish Rama from Ayodhya and make Bharath the king, he kept his word although it was the hardest thing that he had ever done and it literally killed him.
3. Respect for Parents and Elders
Respect for parents and elders. Rama wasted the best years of his youth, in jungle away from family and relatives, giving up power and luxury so that he could honor his father’s word. He held no grudge against his father or his step mother but took it as his duty to help his father keep up his promise.
4. Stand by what is right
Have the courage to stand by your beliefs, about the right thing to be done. Vibheeshana, Ravana the demon king’s younger brother was thrown out of his kingdom because he refused to support his brother’s evil deeds. He had the courage to tell Ravana to return Devi Sita with honour back to Rama, and had to pay for it by being banished from his home land. Yet he stood by his beliefs.
5. Try till you succeed no matter how big the obstacles
Lord Hanuman crossed the ocean and reached the city of Lanka to search for lady Sita. Even after searching every square inch of the city he could not find her, but still he did not give up hope and continued till he found her. He ensured that he persevered till he attained his goal, never once giving up.
What other lessons have you learnt from Ramayana that you would like to tell your kids? Tell us in the comments section.