Children and Discipline

Sri Harold Klemp

If any of you who are parents have ever sent your child off to the grandparents for a week, then you know what it’s like when children have it all their own way, without any discipline. Some grandparents don’t listen when you tell them, “Bedtime’s at nine o’clock.” You find out later, when the child comes home, that bedtime was eleven or twelve o’clock or whenever the child would fall asleep from sheer exhaustion.

We can love our children, but the greatest service we can give them is discipline. We can show them how to grow up in this society as ECK children who are acquainted with the Sound and Light of Divine Spirit. We can do the Spiritual Exercises of ECK with them so that they can establish for themselves a foundation built on something other than the human love of their parents or, later in life, their loved ones. . . .

Sometimes you just wonder, What are we as a civilization doing? The other evening I went downstairs in the hotel and saw all these video games. I was curious about Pac-Man. Games like this are like anything else: It’s not the game but what we do with it. Unfortunately, it has become almost an addiction for some children. They don’t have anything to replace it that they consider to be better.

Whenever we get too much of any one thing and it rules our life so that we lose control, then we have to consider very carefully: Is this for our best interest? This is when our lives are out of balance, with excesses of any kind—the passions of the mind.

It’s an interesting thing: People are looking for adventure, and when we are not able to go inwardly and find this adventure, we look outwardly. We look to our [electronic devices]. . . . This is not a criticism of them. But we owe ourselves a greater awareness than accepting the consciousness of another individual feeding us his ideas in a steady stream through the television set, through stories, and even through games like Pac-Man. . . .

I’d have to say that people like you and I are on the path of ECK because we love life. So what we do is to look for ways we can grow.

Yet I looked at the whole idea of Pac-Man, and its whole purpose is to destroy. The little man gobbles up dots, and after he gobbles up a certain amount of dots he becomes empowered. That means he can turn around and go chasing the little monsters who were chasing him, but only until they revitalize their forces and come back chasing him. The game teaches our children something we have to consider very carefully.

An ECK parent can say, “My son, my child, please don’t do that,” or better yet, find other activities for him to do. In other words, what most people in this world do to cure a negative trait, whether it’s drinking or whatever, is to try to get rid of it. They’ll say, “I will go on a fast,” or, “I will stop drinking at a certain time.” There’s a better technique, and that’s to replace it with something that will help you more than this negative trait has hurt you. Replace it with something better.

Journey of Soul, pp. 161–63