Bruce and I are embarking on my SLE inspired reading list for children by starting off with one of the most ancient religious texts of all times, the Bhagavad-gita. Our family belongs to the United Methodist church, so introducing Hinduism to my six year old might seem a bit odd. But the motto of my church is “Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors”, and this is something that the Bardsley household tries to follow. We have enough confidence in our own beliefs to boldly explore onward with our children! (But not Jenna yet. She’d be too confused.)
Here are the Learning Goals for my SLE Inspired Reading List:
- Understand that people from other countries, cultures and religious traditions might have different core beliefs and thoughts about the world than we do.
- Identify, explore and evaluate those beliefs, and consider how they influence action and practice.
- Become well versed in Greek mythology, and understand the connection between ancient stories and the Western values we prize today in the modern world.
Here are the Values I would like Bruce to take Away From the Bhagavad-gita
- Respect for creation
- Respect for life
- Understanding that the essence of your being, or soul, is separate and distinct from the shape, age or condition of your body
The Primary Concept I would like Bruce to Understand after Reading the Bhagavad-gita
- Reincarnation. Our family does not personally believe in reincarnation, but many people and cultures do.
There weren’t many options for books about the Bhagavad-gita for children, and perhaps there are better choices out there, but I purchased Our Most Dear Friend: An Illustrated Bhagavad-gita for Children because the price was right!
This is not a book about Hinduism for Western children, this seems to be a book by Hindus, for Hindus. That doesn’t really disturb me however. The book binding itself was quite horrible and I needed to reinforce part of it with mailing tape after just one reading. But if you can get past that part, the book is pretty neat. The pictures vary from beautiful, to bizarre, to beautifully bizarre. Major concepts about the sanctity of life and soul are clearly explained in a child appropriate way.
We have only done our first reading of the Bghagavad-gita together, and I’m not exactly sure where we are going to go from here. My SLE inspired paradigm quickly breaks down without a section group of 20 Stanford students to discuss and analyze the text! I think we are going to try out reading the book at bedtime this week for starters. My other ideas include checking out more books about India from the library, spending a week eating vegetarian, and breaking out our Yoga Pretzel cards on a daily basis for three consecutive weeks.
As always, I welcome your thoughts and suggestions, (especially if you are Hindu)!