Getting Rid of Bad Company (February, 2017)
For a surprise birthday party for your sister, you have been planning to decorate her room with lots of balloons. You know that you cannot do it yourself; so, you invite a number of your friends. All of them except one, who is famous for his shenanigans, are really helpful and nice people. Inside your heart, you are afraid that inviting that particular friend could be a disaster, but you invite him anyway – after all, he is one of the coolest kids on the block. For the next several hours, all of your friends except that one work extremely hard inflating the balloons and decorating the room. Realizing he didn’t do anything wrong, you start to feel a bit relaxed that if he didn’t help, he didn’t cause any harm either. As your sister will be arriving anytime soon, you take all of your friends in a different room. To your surprise, though, your so called cool friend is nowhere to be found. Then you see him walking out of the decorated room with a vicious smile. Your heart starts to beat fast. Then when you notice a small pin, which he is waving in air like a victorious king waving a sword, your heart almost sank. And, somehow, you muster up some courage to peek inside your sister’s room and, lo and behold, your worst fear has just materialized. You just received a rude awakening and a never-to-be-forgotten lesson. Yes, this month’s topic is Getting Rid of Bad Company.
Irrespective of what we believe – or want to believe – if we are in a bad company, we will be harmed. There is no escape! Think of an important and worthy goal that you wanted to pursue (say, singing on the stage) but could never gather enough confidence to do so. After lots of help and encouragement from your parents, teachers, and well-wishers, you finally decided to do so. As you were still not sure, you shared it with a friend, a bad companion in reality, who laughed at you even for sharing the idea. Would you still go for it after the balloon of your courage has been pricked by a nasty laugh – likely not! So, it is not just important but also crucial to identify and eliminate bad company from every sphere of our life, be it physical or mental. Yes, like, physical bad company, we must be sure of the type of thoughts we harbor, because our thoughts are the foundation of our character.
Majority of us have heard the story of how a rotten apple spoiled a basket full of fresh apples. While this story captures the gist of this month’s topic in an easy and simple manner, in life, it is not easy to identify, let alone eliminate, bad company. While there is no clear-cut formula, there are a few common traits that bad people share: a bad person will see negative in everything; a bad person will complain a lot; a bad person will find faults in everyone including good people; a bad person will act cool; a bad person is manipulative who will leave you frustrated and drained out. You will be able to identify a number of other traits to spot a bad company.
Just like the physical world, we also live in a mental world: while we are surrounded by people in the physical world, we are surrounded by our thoughts in the mental world; while the nature of people influence our actions, the nature of our thoughts influence our personality. A random negative thought, which we may acquire from listening to inappropriate conversation, watching shabby programs, or simply dwelling on past bad experiences can leave us drained. To rise in life, it is important that we always keep our brain full of pure and uplifting thoughts (तन्मे मनः शिवसंकल्पमस्तु – Tanme Manah Shiv Sankalpam Astu – May my mind be full of good thoughts). Unfortunately, like bad people, bad thoughts are more powerful. For example, if you want to form a good habit, like waking up on early everyday on your own or keeping a tab on your TV time, the negative thoughts will come up with several justifications why you shouldn’t do them. We must stay absolute alert to not let any bad thought come to our mind, and if one does manage to enter, we must use our will and resolve to fight it out immediately before it causes any damage.
For this month’s assignment, kids will cover the following:
- Definition of bad company
- Ills of bad company
- Ways to identify a bad company
- Steps to shun bad company
- Definition of bad thoughts along with a few example
- Ways to stop bad thoughts
Like always, I am looking forward to enlightening thoughts and views of our Hawan kids.