Children, how do you behave with your brothers and sisters?

– Do you fight over toys, clothes, sweets etc?
– Do you like bullying your younger siblings?
– Do you get pleasure from getting your brother or sister scolded or even slapped by your parents, by complaining (even falsely)?
– Do you like to share your favourite dishes with others in the family, or to eat all alone?
– Do you like your brothers or sisters to be away, while you enjoy all alone at home?

Remember, you are a selfish child if you fight over small things – toys clothes sweets etc., and you are likely to keep fighting all your life for small things.

You are a coward, if you relish bullying your younger brother or sister. Your cowardice will be apparent, when you come face to face with children bigger and stronger than you.

If you are in the habit of making false complaints, you will always try to get your work done through lies and deceit, instead of truth and conviction.

You have entered your name in the ‘lazy’ category, if you are in the habit of ordering your younger ones to work for you. Lazy people can never complete any work in time. Not only will they be weak in studies, their indolence will follow them even when they grow up, putting hurdles in the success of their career also.

If you are in the habit of eating good things alone, hiding away from your brothers and sisters, you are not only selfish, you have also fallen into a habit of concealing or even stealing. In such a state, may be you don’t find anything wrong in denying the dues of others.

However, if you enjoy good food more while sharing it with others, your personality is surely on a path of growth and development.

If you find it pleasurable to be alone, sending your brothers and sisters away, you are probably developing within yourself a tendency of ruling the roost, without doing anything.

Remember, he alone will achieve greatness
– who finds pleasure in comforting others
– who delights in serving others
– who takes pleasure in eating only after serving to others

You must have heard the name of Vinoba Bhave. Mahatma Gandhi treated him as his foster son. Considered Mahatma Gandhi’s spiritual successor, Vinoba Bhave was a great man. We will tell you a small incident of Vinoba Bhave’s childhood.

Once his mother brought two pieces of sweet – one quite large and the other somewhat smaller. Vinoba was very happy as this happened to be his favourite sweet. Besides, he was feeling hungry too. As he hastened to devour the sweet, he noticed a small child, his poor neighbour’s son, greedily eying the sweet. Without even the blink of an eye, Vinoba handed over the large piece to the child, forgetting his own hunger and his love for the sweet. Vinoba watched with love, as the child ate. The hungry child was quick to finish the sweet. Sensing that the child still wanted to have more, Vinoba gave away the second piece also.

Vinoba’s mother, watching him from the kitchen, was overwhelmed. “My Vinoba will be a great man someday”, she thought, tears flooding her eyes. She was right. Vinoba did grow to be one of the greatest men of the country.

The child who cannot enjoy sharing – of food, of toys etc.- and the one who keeps fighting with his brothers and sisters over small things, is almost like an animal. Such a person is not even a man- not to talk of being a ‘great man’. He cannot ever help others.

The tendency to help others is inherent. During childhood it can be developed easily and smoothly, starting with befitting behaviour with ones own brothers, sisters and other family members. This can be put to test while living together with your family. In this context a small story from the life of Swami Vivekanand will be relevant.

Swamiji was planning to visit America with the sentiment of universal welfare. Desirous of seeking blessings of Maa Sharda, consort of his Gurudev, Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Swamiji reached her abode.

Bowing at the lotus feet of the mother, he sought her blessings. The mother was working in the kitchen at that time. “Just give me that knife, she said pointing to a kitchen knife. Swamiji picked up the knife and gave it to the mother.

“Go ahead my son. Success will roll at your feet.”

Here one may naturally think, why the mother gave the blessing after receiving something as mundane as a kitchen knife, that too her own knife, which was lying in the kitchen itself. What was so special about it?

There was something special. Special was the way in which the knife was handed over. Swamiji held the knife not from the wooden handle, but from the sharp blade, so that the mother may hold the wooden handle and not be harmed even to the slightest, while taking the knife from him. This was the subtlety caught by the discerning eye of the mother. In this gesture, the mother saw the glimpse of a heart that yearned to serve others even at the cost of one’s own comforts. This is not merely a matter of conduct and etiquettes but that of a much finer sentiment- an approach towards others.

Children, we have to inculcate such sentiment and approach while living, caring and sharing within our family, our brothers and sisters. Then we have to strengthen it while dealing with others.

Integrate such small things into your daily life. The way to greatness will automatically be paved.

Children remember that god has made us human beings only to attain greatness.