Family Virtues: Give Your Child the Spiritual Edge

Family Virtues: Give Your Child the Spiritual Edge



Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780968297629
Publisher: Unity
Publication date: 03/28/2002
Pages: 180
Product dimensions: 6.98(w) x 8.37(h) x 0.47(d)

About the Author

V. Mitra Gopaul is married, a father of two children, and living with his family in Ontario, Canada. His hobbies include community service, traveling, swimming, skiing, and writing. Gopaul is a software consultant offering his expertise to such international companies as Merrill Lynch, IBM, XEROX, the Royal Bank of Canada, and the Barclays Bank of England. Active for more than 25 years in information technology, he currently specializes in databases and is the author of several computer books.

Read an Excerpt

A Scary Thought

I was about to turn 50. Compared to earlier years, I noticed, my mind was a bit slower, my body was weaker, my muscle pains lasted longer, and my memory was becoming fuzzier.all signs of aging. I realized, as never before, that death is the final moment in this inevitable process, a thought I had never reflected upon before, except for a short period when my father passed away. Naturally, aging brought nostalgic feelings of bygone days when I had strength, stamina and the endless drive of a motivated youth. In the past every task was a challenge; now challenges have transformed into tiresome chores.

Recognizing that a new stage in life was upon me, I decided to pause to reflect where I had been in the past five decades and how to make the best of the future.this was a comforting thought. Fifty is not so old, after all. With the human life span growing longer these days, I may still have another three decades to go.

I searched back as far as my memory could go. My adolescence started with many hopes and with a future to look forward to. During those youthful days of the 70's, I thought of changing the world, traveling to California. and Katmandu, hitchhiking through Europe, living on a few dollars a day, getting an education, coming up with that million-dollar idea, inventing a gadget that the whole world would love, and so on. Like many people, I was full of ideas and dreams.even some crazy ones. In those days, it seemed anything was possible.

At fifty I started thinking about what had happened to those world shaking ideas. Life turned out to be very different than the original plan. I hitchhiked through Europe and parts of Asia, but I never made it to California or Katmandu, nor did I come up with any great invention. Obviously, I did not invent Windows, Netscape, or Yahoo!, nor did I write any Internet software, though I could have, I thought, since I have been in software development for about thirty years. As I read about thirty-something billionaires in dot-com companies, envy reared its head in my heart. However, this train of thought was leading me to a depressed mood. Immediately, I changed course from what did not happen to what actually did.

I did get a university education, traveled to over 30 countries, and had over 25 years of a rewarding career in the software business. I wrote and published several computer books for professionals. Also, I have a fine family with two lovely, healthy children, and a caring, supportive wife. I have learned many things, especially how to avoid trouble. Generally, life has been a relative success.

When I considered my youthful dream of changing the world, I was drawn into deeper thought. I spent some time thinking about the world we live in. I realized that I have not brought world peace.a big job for one person. However, I believe everyone contributes to the changes to this world, in whichever direction it takes us.

A Challenging Time

I was not sure what was scarier: turning 50 or living in today's world. It has been said, " Change is the only constant we can count on." The older I get, the harder change becomes. It is frustrating when the reasons for this neck-breaking transformation in every corner of the world are not clear. Humans are uncomfortable with changes unless it is a wet baby. In the last hundred years, every decade has experienced a "new age." The changes we are going through are astonishing. Knowledge is doubling every ten years, computing power is doubling every eighteen months, and data traffic is reaching new heights every six months. Someone who has lived over 75 years, something common now but unusual in bygone days has already lived through horse and buggy days, world wars, Great Depressions, radio and TV, nuclear energy, the cold war, information age, economic boom, rock-n-roll, disco, hip-hop, rap, the hippy age, baby-boomers, global economy, and the Internet, all in one life. A lot in just one life!

The above is just a short list. These changes have touched each human life throughout the whole planet as if an equilibrium has been upset. With no sign of a slowdown, the scary part is that we are all caught up in this rapid motion of life with less time to reflect on the direction we are taking. Do we need all these changes? Are they good or bad? How are they affecting us as humans, families, communities, societies, and nations? Are we producing kinder, gentler generations? How are our children surviving these whirl-wind transformations? Can one generation relate to another? How can parents proof their children from the nasty things of life, like drugs, abuse, misuse of Internet, and violence on TV?

Tackling the Big Question

My mind was racing through these questions, going back and forth between the past and the future. I stopped. I decided to wrestle the big one: what is the purpose of life? Deep in us, it is the most compelling question, a search for meaning, a question often contemplated by philosophers, religious leaders, and many great thinkers throughout the ages. It seems there are many answers to this single question: perhaps as many as there are seekers. During my search, I looked for explanations everywhere including the sources just mentioned, but to my great surprise, the core answer to this important question is right at home.

My attention turned to my two children, Laila and Sanjiv, who were then in their formative years of 13 and 8, respectively. I thought perhaps I could make a major difference in their lives, which in turn might change the world in a positive way, as a compensation to my youthful goals that were not accomplished.

As responsible parents, we cannot avoid thinking about what children are exposed to nowadays, how best to raise them, and how best to equip them to cope with this fast changing world. Raising children now is very different from the way you and I were raised. As mentioned earlier, the world has changed a lot since then. How can our children be better equipped for this world? Is it ok to be smart, educated and rich, or is character more important? Can they have such strong characters, so that regardless of the situation, they will be able to exert a good influence on others and not become victims of bad influences?

History shows that someone with a strong moral character, self-esteem, and meaningful purpose in life can weather many difficulties. It is evident that virtues are at the very heart of self-fulfilment and happiness.

Why this Book

What is virtue? Virtue is simply the practice of goodness extended to oneself or any other living creatures doing the right thing. This practice starts with a thought of extending goodness, which is translated into some kind of voluntary action. There are always two parts to virtues: volition and action. If you say to a loved one, "Honey, I will buy you a beautiful home when I win a lottery," it is only a good thought, not a virtue. And if you did win a lot of money, and subsequently bought this dear person a dream home, this move definitely would be a virtuous act: generosity. Let's look at another example. We say someone is smart if that person does smart things, rather than just talking about being smart. Virtue is to "talk the talk and walk the walk." We qualify someone as being loving or patient only when these qualities are manifested in appropriate situations. The litmus test of virtues occurs when goodness results from conduct; it is then virtues is practiced.

This book is not written exclusively from a religious point of view, though Holy Scriptures have been cited to establish a few fundamental spiritual truths; as well, its wisdom does not only stem from the perspective of psychoanalysis, though psychology in child-rearing is certainly considered; its essential truths do not only evolve through a scientist's mind, though reasoning has been a guide; it is certainly written from a parent's perspective. The parent who is always faced with unforeseen challenges, and unexpected woes, all mixed with many joyous moments and much pride for having raised another human being.

Family Virtues: Give Yuor Child the Spiritual Edge describes the beliefs and practices of one family, mine. Of course this is a single example in the whole universe. I am sure that you have a set of values and practices based on the realities that your family understands. In this book, a wide variety of subjects are covered that will give you an opportunity to analyze the ways your family members deal with daily parenting issues. Our family has also learned that raising children is not just about providing their financial needs. Parenting is much more. To become a resilient, successful human, children need far more advice, guidance, direction, wisdom and faith to name a few. This book is an exploration of all those parenting concerns, with "doing the right thing" as the primary goal.

Parents often feel inadequate that they'll never become experts in this universal job. In parenting, no one can ever claim to have all the answers. However this book provides a new approach that can make this important job rewarding and successful.

Is This Book for You?

Through the rushed routines of getting children out the door on time in the morning, battling traffic on the way to work, completing all the assignments for your boss so that you will not have to work late, getting food on the table every evening, washing clothes, keeping going in spite of lack of sleep, we do not have time necessary to ask and answer the difficult questions: Why? What is the purpose of everything? This book raises and provides answers to over 120 such questions for you, the parent. Here is a sample:

  • Is it possible to prepare our children so that, instead of being unduly influenced, they set the standard and guide others?
  • Can virtues enrich family life?
  • What happens when we die?
  • What is the worth of a human being?
  • How many of us think we are noble?
  • How do you like to be treated?
  • What would make you happy?
  • Are we ignoring the warning signs?
  • Why do we have free will?
  • Evil: does it exist?
  • Is God male or female?
  • What is the ultimate purpose of growing virtues?
  • Who is the boss?
  • What is a family dream?
  • What is authority?
  • What is intuition?
  • Can rules be arbitrary?
  • Should we teach children about detachment?
  • Are we having fun yet?
  • How do we put love in what we do?

Too often parenting does not earn enough respect, value, support, and attention. Yet, I believe, it is the most important and difficult job you will ever do. Take your time to realize this high station of parenting, a task that serves no other than fulfilling the purpose of creation, if done properly.

A delicious dessert is eaten slowly, allowing each piece to stimulate the taste buds, and savoring every moment. In this book, each section is a bite-size portion. Read one section or paragraph at a time, reflecting on the subject at hand. Have a notebook and pen or pencil handy to write any thoughts that come to you. These pages will no doubt provoke many ideas for enriching your family life...

Table of Contents

Foreword ..... x

Preface ..... xi
A Scary Thought ..... xi
A Challenging Time ..... xii
Tackling the Big Question ..... xiii
Why this Book ..... xiii
Is This Book for You? ..... xiv
How to Read this Book ..... xv

Chapter 1: Understanding Virtues1
Where do Virtues Come From? ..... 3
What About God? ..... 4
Making The Right Choices ..... 6
Mixing Virtues, Morals and Laws ..... 8
Receiving Help ..... 9
Virtue Fertilizer ..... 12
Virtue Killer ..... 14
Evil: Does it Exist? ..... 15
Why Bad Things Happen to Good People ..... 16
Changing the Self ..... 19
Becoming Gender-free ..... 20
Avoiding Pride and Prejudice ..... 20
Increasing Good Karma ..... 22
Surviving Death ..... 23
Remembering Purity ..... 27
Moving Towards Perfect ..... 28

Chapter 2: Looking At the Big Picture ..... 30
Reducing Stress in the Modern Family ..... 30
Becoming Virtues-centric ..... 34
Taking an Holistic Approach ..... 36
Body ..... 37
Mind ..... 37
Spirit ..... 38
Building Blocks ..... 39
Discovering Nobility in Us ..... 39
Giving and Getting Respect ..... 44
Building Self-Esteem ..... 46
Reaching For Happiness ..... 48
Physical happiness ..... 50
Spiritual happiness ..... 50
Avoiding Family Crisis ..... 52
School system ..... 52
Politics and religion ..... 54
Techno giants and spiritual midgets ..... 54
Sweet home ..... 55
What Next? ..... 56

Chapter 3: Parenting, Learning, and Teaching ..... 57
Developing An Unique Path ..... 61
What Parenting Has Got to Do With Love ..... 64
Calling Parents By Many Names ..... 67
Recognizing The First Teacher ..... 72
Who is the Boss? ..... 75
Counseling Your Children ..... 81
Honoring Your Parents ..... 82
Becoming Effective Role Models ..... 86
Not Glamorous ..... 89
Networking ..... 91
Creating a Home Growth Lab ..... 93
Raising Resilient Children ..... 96

Chapter 4: Vision, Plans, Tools, and Strategies ..... 104
Creating a Far Reaching Vision ..... 105
Making Clear Plans ..... 110
Winning Strategies ..... 111
Discipline ..... 113
Understanding Divine Intelligence ..... 115
Flying With Your Spirit of Faith ..... 117
Following Your Conscience ..... 119
Relying on Your Emotional Intelligence ..... 122
Connecting to the Source Through Prayer and Meditation ..... 126
Step 1: Pray and meditate about it ..... 128
Step 2: Arrive at a decision and hold it ..... 129
Step 3: Have determination to carry the decision through ..... 129
Step 4: Faith and confidence ..... 129
Step 5: Act as though it has all been answered ..... 129
Working With Your Intuition ..... 133
Uttering Sweet Words ..... 135
Following The Rules ..... 137
Being moderate ..... 139
Trying virtue-specific rules ..... 140
Being positive ..... 140
Associating rules with consequences ..... 140
Being constructive and growing ..... 140
Consistency has big payoff ..... 141
Negotiation will give you headaches ..... 141
Being flexible ..... 142
Creating a Quiet Time Each Day ..... 142
Managing Family Meetings ..... 144
Prayers and meditation 144
Things that are going well 144
Planning for the week ..... 145
Jobs and responsibilities ..... 145
General issues ..... 145
Personal problems ..... 146
Avoiding Self-centeredness ..... 148
Soaring With Detachment ..... 149
Detachment from the material world ..... 152
Detachment from ideas ..... 152
Detachment from virtues ..... 152
Accounting for Deeds ..... 153
Having Fun Yet? ..... 154

Chapter 5: Random Acts of Goodness ..... 156
Laughing Eyes ..... 157
A Lost Cry ..... 161
The Riches of Oseola ..... 163
On work ..... 170
On saving money ..... 170
On good living ..... 171
Honesty Does Pay ..... 171
Kindness Everywhere ..... 172
Tram Accident ..... 175
Mother Theresa: A Story of Love and Compassion ..... 177
On greatness of the poor ..... 179
On love ..... 181
Lemon Butter ..... 183
Heart Transplant ..... 183

Bibliography ..... 189
Index ..... 190

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Family Virtues 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading it and I am very pleased with the way the author, Mita Gopaul, has compared the scientific approach to life with the practical insofar as vision, plans and action are concerned.. I think every parent can relate to his ideas and suggestions for developing spiritual virtues not only in children but also for adults who may be striving to be develop their own spiritual virtues and to be a better person as they walk through life.... I highly recommend it to anyone ..It is very easy to read, straightforward but interesting at the same time.. Sincerely Maddie Wingett