The TAO in Everyday Life
The TAO is in every aspect of life: growing up; receiving education; seeking careers; getting married; raising children; connecting with others; staying healthy; growing old; and facing life challenges.
                           THE TAO IN RAISING CHILDREN

Raising children requires discipline to teach them what is right and wrong. But the teaching is never over-demanding, over-exertive, and over-disciplinary. Telling children to do what you think is right and righteous is not the TAO of advice. Sharing with children what you believe is right and righteous, while letting them observe, understand, and intuit is the Way of the TAO.

If children follow the Way, they have the wisdom; if they do not, enlightenment is not yet ready for them. Imposing on children what is right and righteous according to you is controlling -- the opposite of the TAO. Remember: you are you, and your children are not you.

Actions speak louder than words. Children learn by examples through experience, observation, and intuition. So, be a model.

Always saying: "Thank you" is a reflection of gratitude and appreciation. Spending money is a reflection of generosity and money values. Expressing love and compassion for others is the teaching of sexual intimacy.


The three essentials of the TAO: Compassion, humility, and faith.

"The Way is great beyond comparison.
If there were any comparison,
it would no longer be great.
“The Way is great because of its three essentials:
compassion, humility, and faith.

With compassion, there is no fear.
With humility, there is no strife.
With faith, there is no impossibility.

Without compassion, fearlessness becomes ruthlessness.
Without humility, efforts become complicated and difficult.
Without faith, possibilities become controlling and self-centering.

Compassion is the root.
Humility is the stem.
Faith is the flower.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 67)

Compassion is showing and expressing love for those who are less fortunate than yourself. Humility is self-acceptance of who you are with all your imperfections. Faith is trust and obedience in the Creator, who controls everything, including the destiny of your children.

With humility, you gain faith to become your true self, naturally expressing your love and compassion to others. Your example is your teaching to your children.

Wisdom is power; intelligence is strength: Understanding is everything.

“Knowing others is intelligence.
Knowing ourselves is true wisdom.
Overcoming others is strength.
Overcoming ourselves is true power.

Understanding that we have everything we need,
we count our blessings.
Identifying with our own true nature,
we hold fast to what endures.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 33)

Knowledge is intelligence, giving you the know-how to follow the TAO. Wisdom is power to understand, to internalize, and to self-intuit the TAO.

With wisdom, your children may know how to be in the world and not of the world because they may see who they are, as well as the realities of all things as they come and go.

Your children are made with a mission and a purpose in this world. Their role in this world is to find out their own mission and passion, and then pursue them accordingly.

The problem is that in their pursuit they may follow their way, rather than the Way of the Creator. Another problem is: how do they know what is their way or the Way of the TAO?

With humility, they may begin to let go, giving way to emptiness, to be filled with the wisdom of the Creator.

Remember: the Creator always gives them the freedom to choose.

Balance and harmony: Living a life of simplicity is the way to achieving balance and harmony in the days to come.

“Before we can shrink anything,
we must first let it expand.
Before we can get rid of something,
we must first let it flourish.
Before we can receive something,
we must first give it away.
They are called the natural laws
of the way things were, are, and will be.

The soft overcomes the hard.
The slow overcomes the fast.
Gentleness and flexibility
bring positive results
that force and rigidity
fail to produce.
Just trust the natural laws
of the mighty Creator.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 36)

Just follow the laws of nature with acceptance and flexibility.

Control and out of control: All children have their own destinies beyond the control of their patents.

“Controlling external events is futility.
Control is but an illusion.
Whenever we try to control,
we separate ourselves from our true nature.
Man proposes; the Creator disposes.
Life is sacred: it flows exactly as it should.
Trusting in the Creator, we return to our breathing,
natural and spontaneous, without conscious control.

In the same manner:
sometimes we have more,
sometimes we have less;
sometimes we exert ourselves,
sometimes we pull back;
sometimes we succeed,
sometimes we fail.

Trusting in the Creator, we see the comings and goings of things,
but without straining and striving to control them.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 29)

Control is fear of the future, of the unknown. With no expectation, and living in the present while doing what is doable, there is peace and harmony.

Separating the truths from the untruths: An empty mind and not a pre-conditioned mind for children.

“The more we look, the less we see.
The more we hear, the less we listen.
The more we crave, the crazier we become.

What is materialistic is separate from what is spiritualistic.
Therefore, value what is within, and not what is without.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 12)

The more you hear, the more information you get, and the more your mind may become pre-conditioned and even prejudiced, such that you may not be able to “listen” to your inner voice which may tell you a different message.

So, teach children clarity of thinking, which is having an empty mind with reverse thinking, that is, turning the mind around, instead of following the “normal and logical” direction of a challenge, and looking for the opposite ideas. 

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

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Healthier Younger
Golden Years