By Tara Katir

“It was as if we were in some new world,” begins Win and Bill Sweet’s book, Living Joyfully with Children (188 pages, Acropolis Books, Inc., us$13.95). “Win and I stood looking down at this tiny sleeping baby in her bassinet. Yesterday was the excitement of Win giving birth to our first child; today we were home, a family of three, suddenly totally responsible as parents. I felt awed and helpless. We both sensed that being parents was going to add a vast new dimension to our lives. We had walked through the looking glass and were now in a strange wonderland.”

As the years rolled on, the Sweets discovered an extremely successful way to raise their children. Their book is an intimate testimony of a parenting journey of discovery. Part of this discovery was teaching their children at home and developing a sound family theme.

Early in life, the Sweets recognized that every family has a dominant theme: competition, fear, advancement, social responsibility, materialism, control, even survival, to name but a few. “These themes come from our cultural influence,” they said. “If parents don’t consciously choose a theme, one is usually absorbed from the culture without any conscious thought and affects all members of the family.”

Before marriage the Sweets had been achievers, “So we automatically adopted the achievement theme as we set up our home. It wasn’t until our second child that we began to question many aspects of our lives. Then we realized that something was missing.”

Occasionally they experienced a profound sense of well being and delight. They realized that this joy flowed from the inside out. It did not come to them from others. The Sweets decided upon this joy as the theme for their home. Their change in perspective “has allowed us to look at our children and each other with a totally different approach,” the Sweets told Hinduism Today.

The book describes the source of this joy as the true Self, “A Self we cannot see in the mirror, our perfect reality and essence.” To begin discovering this, your small “self” needs this book. It is a gentle guidebook for all parents and would make a special gift to parents of new babies.
Living Joyfully with Children, Win & Bill Sweet, Acropolis Books, Inc., Lakewood, Colorado.