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Is Daoism kid stuff?

The Chinese online feature magazine, sixthtone.com, published an article written in 2016 titled, "Why Taoism isn't suitable for children." I did a double-take when I saw it, and can only chalk it up to a semantical mix-up of sorts.

Here is the article: http://www.sixthtone.com/news/1091/why-taoism-isnt-suitable-for-children

The feature begins by suggesting that parents should not attempt to "convert" their children to Daoism. I would suggest that parents pass on their religious and spiritual views, but seldom engage in the harsh practices or "force feeding" implied by the word "convert."

It has been my observation that when children are not brought up in a religious tradition, they are unlikely to embrace one when they reach maturity. (Of course, this may be the intent of the atheistic government behind this feature publication.) The other alternative is often that children without any religious training may grow up to be easy targets of extreme religions or cults.

(Photo by Linda Brown Holt in Beijing, October 2008)

Daoism would seem to me to be an ideal religion in which to bring up children, provided the parents focused on the general concepts of balance, harmony, respect for nature, and the idea of the Dao. Many children already enjoy martial arts and healing practices which embody the Daoist philosophy.

I would agree that forcing children to memorize lengthy scriptures and to embrace rigorous purification rites involving fasting and not sleeping would be a bad idea, perhaps even a form of child abuse. But the basic tenets of Daoism would form an important part of the child's personal development. The more dogmatic religious aspects (rituals, scriptures, etc.) could come later as the child matured.

In answer to the question, "Is Daoism suitable for children?" I would answer a resounding, "Yes!" But without coercion and keeping to the basic concepts that will help them enjoy and appreciate life in all its richness.

Posted on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 at 05:28PM by Registered CommenterLinda Brown Holt | CommentsPost a Comment | References1 Reference

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