Say you live in Ghaziabad or Delhi.
And you are a ‘Go green’ person, highly conscious of a sustainable living, and not even in dreams would contribute to pollution.
But when you go out, do you think you will reap the benefits of your efforts
breathe in the pollution that has been collectively created by the activities in your city?
There is something we can call as social karma that we are contributing to and getting influenced by!
If you are hearing the term social karma for the first time, it might seem too abstract or metaphysical.
Let’s talk about it.
K – Karma: Understanding our role in Social Karma
Post #11 of the series: Instilling Social Equality in Children
Unfortunately, we began to associate ‘karma’ with ‘reward and punishment’, ’cause and effect’, and things like excuse/justification for one’s shortcomings and incapability. Instead, when we begin to look at ‘karma’ as nothing but just memory – emotional, physical, & mental memory of how we perceived situations before – we will also begin to understand that ‘karma’ is a workable part of ourselves and not a pre-determined confinement we are pushed into.
Since karma acts by unseen forces, we would not have concrete, logical relationships between why something at a particular geographical location or within a community happened the way it happened. However, just because humans are yet to understand, its existence cannot be denied. From conception of a fetus to communal riots to catastrophes like earthquake and tsunami – everything is happening because of a ‘memory’ about how something works.
If we want to see changes in such social karma, we need to rework on the memories that are circulating around!
How does social karma influence children?
Note that the statements here don’t say that social karma ‘affects’ people; rather social karma ‘influences’ people and society. So what we all collectively contribute to the society comes back as influences upon our children. And according to the laws of evolution, the stronger influences have stronger impacts on the next generations.
There are 300+ houses in our residential community. Apart from technology and games, one discussion I observe among children is the measurement of who is rich or poor. As mentioned in previous posts, these children when they visit each other’s homes for a few minutes, they start asking if it’s an own house or rented house. Then they move to scan what car each one in owning, the worth of the gadgets lying around, and the overall materialistic set-up of the house. Based on their comparative analysis, they conclude who takes which rank in social status. I am talking about conversations between 6 to 10-year-olds!
Say there are 10 children forming a group of play. Of the 10 families they all come from, if three or four, or even one family constantly focused on rich/poor discriminatory conversations at home, through that one child of that family, the discrimination leaks out into the children’s group. The other 9 families could be non-discriminatory in their attitudes but their collective thoughts are not as strong as that one family’s discriminatory power. And from these 10 children the conversations on social discrimination can pass to their respective school groups, from where it gets carried on to other residential communities, and it can continue.
Children whose homes never intended discrimination unintentionally become a part of social discrimination.
What can parents do?
If you are one among those families who are habituated to discuss about other’s abilities to buy a house or car, the superiority or inferiority of other castes, criticisms of practices that are different than yours, and anything that can pass on discrimination to children, you just know what not to do if you are reading this line.
Raise your children’s attitude over discriminations
Even if one child among the 9 had a stronger voice to stop economic comparisons and insisted on unity and friendship, the chain of discrimination would have ended at the source!
If you are one among those families who do not in particular converse that lead to discriminations, you have a greater responsibility now! The collective forces of those 9 families need to increase. As emphasized all along in this series, family conversations are important. Keep it humble and clean of discriminations. Make use of right times to educate children about the necessity for equality, mutual respect, and peaceful co-existence.
Play an active role in social karma
If you were to see a tap leaking in your house, you would turn it off, isn’t it? What do you do if you see a public tap leaking, say on the streets or a restaurant? It’s easy to feel ‘What’s my problem?” and remain quiet. But, indirectly, you might be contributing to an impending water scarcity in your locality.
When you spot discriminations stemming among children, stop them right there! Speak to them. Children’s hearts and minds are fresh slates. What’s rewritten multiple times there is what that would stand strong in them. Write and rewrite social equality!
Every drop in the ocean counts. Every conversation, attitude, and behaviour in the family is a contribution to social karma. We cannot predict what among that we speak or behave will be carried to the society outside by our children to be passed on to other societies and eventually to the next generations.
May they carry good will and good thoughts from our homes to infuse as a part of our social karma!