cultural values
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How to Instill Cultural Values in Kids as an Expat

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Guest Post by Deepa Bhavsar on Imparting Cultural Values to Kids as an Expat in UK

From Home to the UK

Marriage is a bond shared by two families and with it life changes. New ventures, new avenues, new pastures and for me it was the United Kingdom. So travel to the United Kingdom brought me to a completely new world.

Moved here after marriage and a total unexplored new domain, both marriage and UK. Wrapped in the modernised education system back home, yet living the life laced with traditional values with parents and siblings, I found it very unsettling in the beginning to settle into this fast-paced, super busy loner’s life.

Making UK my Home

To add to the unexplored domains along with marriage and UK, came the news of my pregnancy! To feel at home I had to do something I actually did at home.

So I started making these little changes to my new UK life by adding these valuable bits of my learning’s from back home. The evening prayers, cooking desi food, reading books written in my native language.

Most of us, Sanatani/Hindu kids look at the idea of lighting a lamp as an utmost divine act. I reckon, during our young days, we sisters used to sit with our mother, around the Tulasi plant (Indian Basil) in the evening, Sadhyakaal (Sandhya= dusk, kaal= time), light an oil lamp and recite evening shlokas(Prayers).

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Getting my son involved

I still do and my son accompanies me now. The satisfaction I derive out of this is very abstract yet soothing to my physical being. Miles away from my birthplace; it envelops me with positivity and fond memories of my mother, siblings, the values, and the oneness we shared as a family.

While doing so, the sense of gratitude I experience towards our planet and the creator is immense.

Getting my son to be a party to this everyday ritual has been a very enriching and enjoyable journey that we embarked on right from the time I conceived.

Most of us are aware, an unborn, is able to hear the sounds from outside the womb so isn’t that a great way to connect with them. If Abhimanyu can listen and remember the secret of getting into a chakravyuha from his mother Subhadra’s womb, our little one’s can undoubtedly grasp and benefit from these thoughtful little values we choose to bestow upon them.

Instilling the Sanskaar (Culture)

So, as a family we ensured we consistently lit an earthenware oil lamp, said our shlokas be it in India or UK, and one fine day, my son started reciting with us whilst enjoying this little family space we had created for him at home and at the same time facilitating him build his stash of memory with this very sacred and positive ritual every day.  

puja

Sourcing a little lamp isn’t a task these days with online shopping trending everywhere. The idea is to keep doing what we have been doing for ages as a family with our parents and passing the same to our little ones. Begin with whatever little is available and things get going.

It is an ode to our mother nature and is a gesture towards her that we acknowledge the days, evenings and nights. The energies associated with these mundane days, evening’s and night’s yet crucial events around us impact our thought processes and behaviour in myriad ways.

In the times bygone, when the technology was fast asleep in the womb of its future conceiver’s, the only means of light was a humble lamp!!

Days were meant to work and nights to rest, nature’s way of setting up the biological clock for us!

Our Cultural Background behind our Rituals

diya
Photo by Unma Desai on Unsplash

We are made of Panchbhutas, the five elements, Air(Vayu), Water(Apas), Fire(Agni), Earth(Prithvi), Ether(Akasha). Fire, the element Agni keeps life going and stands for brilliance. A humble earthenware lamp lit with certain oils or ghee (clarified butter) just sets the right environment by creating a sphere of positive energy and focus around it. Just a perfect Shree Ganesh for every beginning in our lives.

Our ancestors followed this religiously to make sure we abide by the natural biological clock Mother Nature has designed for us and at the same time not wander off in the dark oblivion.

Today, we do have access to a variety of traditional and modernised lights and lamps with a choice of colours, dancing lights, musical lights and whatnot. But try lighting a simple oil/ ghee lamp and look at it to thank the creator, the peace one can experience within is nothing but pure ecstasy.

A simple unembellished oil lamp is the most certain way to ring in the light of unity. Single yet Unifying!

Evening Shloka:

शुभं करोति कल्याणमारोग्यं धनसंपदा ।

शत्रुबुद्धिविनाशाय दीपज्योतिर्नमोऽस्तुते ॥

Shubham Karoti Kalyaannam-Aarogyam Dhana-Sampadaa |

Shatru-Buddhi-Vinaashaaya Diipa-Jyotir-Namostute ||

Meaning:(Taken from internet)

“I fold my hands before the light that brings prosperity, auspiciousness, good health, abundance of wealth and destruction of the enemy’s intellect”. Here, Darkness symbolizes enemy’s intellect and with the arrival of light, darkness disappears. Likewise, light (God’s Grace) destroys darkness (enemy’s intellect).

http://vulimiridevotion.blogspot.com/2013/10/meaning-of-subham-karoti-kalyanam-deepa.html

Wishing you all a happy Diwali.

About Deepa Bhavsar

deepa

I am Deepa Bhavsar a full-time mother, to a chirpy little five-year-old boy, better half of Chandra Kumar, a full-time IT professional,  and an on the go Protection advisor. Been living in the UK for the last six years. Being an ex-pat makes us look like people with dual personalities so is the case with me.

I strive to impart the family values and traditions given by my parents to my little one along with learning from him about life here. I find myself singing most of the time when I am alone, attributing to my interest in Hindustani classical music and any music. Happy to write on my dear friend Rupali’s blog as a guest writer and hope these little bits will keep us all going ahead with ease in this journey.

Finally, I would like to thank Rupali and I wish her the best. The experience she as a mother shares with us all is invaluable.

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I hope you all must have enjoyed reading this Guest post by Deepa. Do share your thoughts & give your feedback by commenting below.

Share this with your friends & family to let them know too about passing our cultural values in our kids.

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20 Comments

  1. My mom didn’t raise us in her culture, so I’m trying to learn more now as an adult so I can teach my daughter.

    1. I appreciate your efforts to learn your culture. Thanks for your feedback

  2. I was not much aware of the Indian culture and this post enlightened me about it. I found it really interesting!

    1. Hey Glad you know some of the Indian culture now. Thanks for your feedback.

  3. Thanks for sharing your experience with this. I appreciated reading this so much.

    1. Thanks for your feedback

  4. Great post. I have two kids!
    I try to tell them diversity makes the world go round, and makes life more interesting, and that culture adds fun to life.
    ~Michelle
    https://michellescrazybusylife.net

    1. That is so true Michelle. There is so much importance of diversity. We in India have so much unity in diversity as every state has their own culture & traditions too along with the main traditions that we follow. Thank you so much for your lovely words.

  5. It is wonderful to hold onto traditions. This is a thought-provoking post.

    1. Thanks for your feedback.

  6. As an expat myself, I completely understand the need to bring customs to the new country. This act gave me a lot of comfort in the moments when I missed home.

    1. Absolutely second that. It is so important we follow our customers especially when we are ex-pats & miss our home. Thanks for your feedback.

  7. Elizabeth Flores says:

    Thanks for sharing about your culture! We recently celebrated “Dia de Los Muertos” Day of the day with my family.

    1. You are very welcome 🙂 Thanks for your lovely words. You are more than welcome if you want to share about instilling your culture in your kids.

  8. Although sometimes a challenge, it is so important to hand on the traditions of our ancestors to our children, no matter where we happen to make our home. ☺️????

    1. Totally agree with you. Thanks

  9. so very heartwarming read.. following our traditions with love and passion ensures our children imbibe them too

    1. So true. Thanks, Vidya for your feedback.

  10. Shilpa lakkaniki says:

    The narration was like a story told and the chronological order from newly wed to a mother…and the changes associated with the transforming roles…is explained well…culture is a discipline and a moral value that every parent must impart to their kids..whats important is..to explain why one should follow a certain ritual…very well comprehended and explained…throughly enjoyed reading and could connect very well with the post…being an expat and a mom myself.

    1. Thank you Shilpa for such wonderful feedback. I am glad you enjoyed the blog.

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