Loving Kindness for Children

with Gregory Kramer

The practice of Loving-kindness, or metta, can be done in one of two ways: Either intensive prolonged meditation to develop deep states of concentration, or in daily life at any time one meets with people and animals or thinks about them. The systematic practice of loving-kindness for deep concentration as it is practiced in various meditation centres has been presented in BuddhaNet in the Loving-kindness Meditation or Metta Bhavana section by Venerable Sujiva.

To learn about the radiating of metta to all beings with children, we have to tap into the store of knowledge accumulated by lay people and parents. It must be knowledge which has grown out of years of living and loving with children and young adults. Gregory Kramer, father of three boys, shows us what subtle but precise adjustments in the standard practice of loving-kindness he was able to anchor in the lives of his children. There are three aspect in Mr. Kramer’s metta practice with his sons which seem particulary important for his sucess:

Parents should know themselves how metta feels, and be in the habit of radiating it to their children and all beings.

Children should never be coerced into sending wishes of well-being to themselves or others.

Parents should trust their intuitive understanding of their children and be flexible enough to adjust the method to the age and unique personalities of the kids.

There are many wonderful ways to radiate loving-kindness with children and young adults. I hope that this material will encourage parents to share their own experiences, successes and obstacles in their family metta practice.