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India-Gods's Abode


SPORTS AND SPORTSMANSHIP

As soon as the child is able to make use of his limbs, some time should be devoted every day to the methodical and regular development of all the parts of his body. Every day some twenty or thirty minutes, preferably on waking, if possible, will be enough to ensure the proper functioning and balanced growth of his muscles while preventing any stiffening of the joints and of the spine, which occurs much sooner than one thinks. In the general programme of the childís education, sports and outdoor games should be given a prominent place; that, more than all the medicines in the world, will assure the child good health. An hourís moving about in the sun does more to cure weakness or even anemia than a whole arsenal of tonics. My advice is that medicines should not be used unless it is absolutely impossible to avoid them; and this "absolutely impossible" should be very strict. In this programme of physical culture, although there are well-known general lines to be followed for the best development of the human body, still, if the method is to be fully effective in each case, it should be considered individually, if possible with the help of a competent person, or if not, by consulting the numerous manua0ls that have already been and are still being published on the subject.

- THE MOTHER
(Ibid. Vol. 12, pp. 14-15)

Q: Sweet Mother, during our tournaments there are many who play in a very bad spirit. They try to hurt others in order to win. And we have noticed that even the little ones are learning to do this. How could it be avoided?

With children it is above all ignorance and bad example which cause the harm. So it would be good if, before they begin their games, all the group-leaders, the captains, call together all those they are in charge of and tell them, explain to them exactly what Sri Aurobindo says here, with detailed explanations like those we have given in the two little books The Code of Sportsmanship and The Ideal Child {What a Child Should Always Remember}. These things must be repeated often to the children. And then, you must warn them against bad company, bad friends, as I told you in another class.

And above all, set them the right example....Be yourself what you would like them to be. Give them the example of disinterestedness, patience, self-control, constant good humour, the overcoming of oneís little personal dislikes, a sort of constant goodwill, an understanding of othersí difficulties; and that equality of temper which makes children free from fear, for what makes children deceitful and untruthful, and even cunning, is the fear of being punished. If they feel secure, they will hide nothing and you will then be able to help them to be loyal and honest. Of all things the most important is good example. Sri Aurobindo speaks of that, of the invariable good humour one must have in all circumstances, this self-forgetfulness: not to throw oneís own little troubles on others; when one is tired or uncomfortable, not to become unpleasant, impatient. This asks for quite some perfection, a self-control which is a great step on the path of realisation. If one fulfilled the conditions needed to be a true leader, even if only a leader of a small group of children, well, one would already be far advanced in the discipline needed for the accomplishment of the yoga.

- THE MOTHER
(Ibid. Vol. 12, p. 15; Vol. 9, p. 80)