Yesterday my 7 year old son came downstairs to my room when he woke up. Sweet tousled thing needed something. I could tell. When I got up to make coffee he took over my space in the bed and wouldn't give it up. He needed something but couldn't explain it. Queenpins know these things.
After finally being allowed back in my bed, I read US magazine to him and explained who all the trashy people were and why people watched them on t.v. That made no sense to him so we got up and tried some yoga. After a few moves he said, "Mama, are you going to put on the Buddha music? Are you going to do your Buddha stuff?" An ache from my kid. He is missing spirit, quiet, something, and it is the Queenpin's job to help him find it.
I used to be a member of a Buddhist Center. I taught the Dharma for Kids program once a month and I had a fierce desire to have my kids be raised in that center. However, there few other parents with kids my age, and even worse, I began to question some of the center's teachings. I was a single mom, full time teacher, graduate student, so I let the center go. I would be a Buddhist without a center and I would teach my kids Buddhism.
It's not so easy to teach my kids Buddhism though. I have only been practicing for about 4 years and I am not an avid student. My kids loved going to the center. They would bring offerings to the Buddha, pick through the sog, and were fascinate by the shrine. Here in our house, we have shrines, but not much sog, and we don't have the energy of the center. We just have me, imperfect, impatient, many times ignorant, teaching these kids spiritual lessons. So scary.
I guess that is what my son was feeling when he asked for the Buddha yesterday morning. We sat and did meditation prayers. We meditated for a few brief moments, and then I asked him, do you want to go back to the center? "Yes." Was his firm reply.
Last night I dragged my kids to a puja at the center. Thankful that there was only one other person there we participated in our first family puja. There was lots of shuffling, and laying around, one bathroom break, and some wispering, but we made it through and the kids left with some blessed toys, some pudding, and an apple that we ate with dinner. They also left with a sense of quiet, spirit, and blessings.
I was raised an Episcopalian. My mom found peace in the rituals of the church, and in some of the teachings, but she struggled with much of the dogma. She wanted her kids to have a spiritual base, she wanted us to have the community of church. Until I had kids I never understood the importance of this. I cannot be both spiritual base and community to my kids, too much responsibility. Too much to get wrong.
Even Kingpins have a priest. I decided last night to rejoin the center and to make it about me teaching my kids about Buddha. I want them to experience the peace and joy I find in my path. When they feel lost and are unable to speak it, I want them to know the mantras to say, instead of having to come downstairs and take over my bed.