Yesterday, I attended my nephew Anirudh’s upanayanam (thread ceremony done for young Brahmin boys) ceremony. It was a great experience for my kids to interact with their ‘cousins from Cupertino’ and wait expectantly for the usual gifts of chocolates and toys from the great land of the United States
As I sat through the ceremony (in between running up and down the stairs with my 3 year old, getting Nutella sandwich for my son who refused to eat pongal and upma and baby sitting the host of children ranging 2 to 8 years), I watched my nephew sit in front on the “homam” (holy fire) and recite all the shlokas with uncharacteristic patience. His parents were brimming with pride as he wore the sacred thread and emerged a happy, young, more responsible (?) boy.
Whether one pays heed to these rituals or understands the shlokas or believes in their importance , or not – is every individual’s choice. But, participating in such ceremonies right from childhood instills in the child a feeling of belonging and a sense of discipline – which goes a long way in making him more confident. So, when someone asks me “How does wearing a white thread at the age of 9 help improve a young boy?”, I don’t shake my head and say “I don’t know – it’s been a family practice for years and I’m merely following it!”
I know for sure that such an event will teach the child:
1. To be patient (by sitting through 4 hours with an old pujari reciting things in a language you don’t know )
2. To adjust (and not complain when you are asked to eat a glass of milk and a little pongal, without touching the crispy vadas which everyone else is gobbling up)
3. To be disciplined (by not getting up to join the Bay Blade battle that your cousins are engaging in as you sit for the puja)
….and many other important things in life! This is a topic which has probably been debated with great gusto in many family rooms on a Saturday evening. What do you think? Do you feel that “religion” has an important role to play in the upbringing of our children?
Also Read : How can children learn life skills?