Spiritual parenting may bring to mind a multitude of thoughts. Some parents in the midst of life with young children may even think the term is an oxymoron! How does one meld the powerful teachings of the Vedas with the intense marathon of parenting, one of the most commonly shared experiences among humankind, and one of the biggest responsibilities embraced in adulthood. Answering this question was the purpose of the Spiritual Parenting retreat, held on July 13-15, 2018 at Chinmaya Somnath in Chantilly, Virginia.
With the theme of “Vision of Balance,” the weekend brought together approximately 60 people, both couples and families to enjoy a mix of discourses, participatory and practical sessions, individual reflection time and leisure activities. Dedicated Sevaks ran a parallel session for children, during the adult lectures, including sessions with Avinashji, yoga, and storytelling. The participants were grateful to have Vivekji and Vilasiniji to guide them through the topics covered.
Through Chapter 14 of the Bhagavad Gita on Gunas, Vivekji distilled the characteristics associated with the Gunas and translated them to simple and practical actions parents can take to invoke Vedantic philosophy in their parenting. Vilasiniji used entertaining comic strip images to illustrate the everyday challenges parents face, and sparked discussion on solutions for engaging cooperation from children and helping them manage their emotions. The weekend also included ideas on how to create a saathvic home, and a lively and participatory session on navigating technology and social media in children’s lives, where parents had an opportunity to learn from each other and discuss their shared challenges.
Overall, parents had an opportunity to reflect on not only their parenting style, but also their own journey of self-development, and how both are intimately tied together in having the potential to positively impact and influence their children.
“The retreat provided specific steps and workable actions which each parent could take to have more peaceful and positive atmosphere at home. It also helped in opening our eyes on how we as parents are equally responsible for a negative environment at home. The retreat was a testimony to how self-improvement of each individual is a must to have a happy home. It takes a village to raise a kid. Retreat provided the opportunity to build that village for your child, as every parent were dealing with similar situations with their kids and together we could build a community to support each other and our families.” ~ Testimonial from a participant.