Saying That Namaste!

posted by Anisha Haria, February 16, 2016

As someone who was born and brought up in India, teaching the values and culture of our motherland to our US-born children, has always been a priority for my husband and I. We try to teach them our native language so they can speak fluently; the cuisine we give them includes Indian food so that they enjoy it and we hope that they learn to respect our elders and greet them.

So when my in-laws were here a few years ago, we would literally force our kids every morning to greet their grandparents with a Namaste and Pranaam. Some days the kids would happily do it, other days they would just refuse and some days we would all completely forget about it. Days would go by and the kids would only greet our parents when told to do so. We would often question them as to why they wouldn't care to remember and say Namaste to ' Dada and Dadi' every morning. The only answer we got usually was 'Oh, we forgot!' But I realized, how can I blame my kids when at times I also forget to do the same. Soon it was time for my in-laws to go back to India and we were back to our routine, left with no elders to greet every morning.

Every time any of our parents plan a visit to us, we start envisioning our kids will greet them and be respectful to all elders not just our parents, we dream about kids speaking in our native language by the end of the grandparents visit and what not!

Last year, my parents visited us. We again raised our hopes. But this time, before I could ask my children to say Namaste to my dad; my dad went to my kids and said Namaste. Kids responded back. Same thing repeated the second day and then the third day. My dad would greet his grandkids and they would respond. On the fourth day, while we were having tea, my daughter sneaked in from behind and joined her hands and said Namaste to my dad, my mom, my husband and to me. I was overjoyed. Every day after that, kids would greet them with a Namaste and Pranaam and if the kids forgot, my dad would go and greet them. Not only did my kids learn something, but even I learned that sometimes to teach someone something, you have to set an example by practicing it.

To this day, when the kids wake up and come to us in the morning, it's either us or them; we try to remember and greet each other with a Namaste. If you are trying hard to get your kids to learn something, you need to teach them by example. Yelling and frustrations have never helped anyone and I bet won't help you either.

So how do your kids greet you every morning?

Image credits: Anisha

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