A national parenting seminar was held in the presence of Sadguru Pujya Doctor Swami (Swayamprakash Swami) as well as other senior swamis on Friday 17 May & Saturday 18 May 2019 at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London.
The seminar focussed on effective parenting through unity in the home, and was delivered through a series of personal testimonies from families, video presentations, discourses from swamis and enlightening panel discussions.
The session on Friday explored the balance between the professional and family life that is encountered by many parents in today’s society. Parents shared the positive benefits they have experienced from making sacrifices to their careers and businesses to nurture their children.
Discourses by swamis revealed the salient sources of happiness that children have expressed from spirituality and time with their families. They also shared their observations on the bond that is built between parents and children through joint participation in daily devotional practices as well as household activities and chores.
A panel discussion further reinforced the importance of quality time with children – specifically time without the distraction of screens – with personal testimonies praising the result of mutual and communication, understanding and respect.
Doctor Swami concluded the evening session by encouraging the gathered parents to inculcate values and noble principles in children from birth, and emphasised the participation of children in spiritual activities in the home.
The parenting seminar continued on Saturday with a special assembly focussed on the concept of ghar sabha – a regular gathering between members of the family to discuss spiritual concepts and share updates from one another’s daily lives.
Swamis spoke about the communication challenges that are faced between parents and children in today’s society, and the ways in which ghar sabha provides parents and children a better understanding of each other’s spiritual, physical and emotional needs – messages that were always close to the heart of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, and which are reinforced by Mahant Swami Maharaj.
Swamis also drew upon the teachings from the Ramayan, citing the example of the sacrifices of Sitaji, Lakshman and Bharat as the ideals of family unity. A panel discussion then revealed the benefits of ghar sabha and provided guidance on how the effectiveness of these sabhas can be harnessed. Mothers, wives and daughters-in-law also sent in invaluable insights based on their own personal experiences.
Doctor Swami addressed the gathering and stressed the importance of a family bond between children, parents and grandparents, encouraging the elder members of families to impart their wisdom to their children while stressing that they listen empathetically to the younger generations’ needs and aspirations.