Childrearing

Gotham Chopra Tells Mommyish Why He Is Teaching His 5-Year-Old To Meditate

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You mentioned earlier that you’re not concerned with certain images affecting him. Does that include violent imagery?

When I was growing up there was always so much sensitivity to violence or rap music. I would say that I’m not overly concerned with things like that. On the other hand my son hasn’t been exposed to that and I think that’s in part due to my lack of interest. I’ve never been someone who’s been interested in the first-person shooter games, explosions, or that type of music. I’m just not into that stuff and I think ultimately that’s where kids follow your behavior in terms of what you tell them to do. I think that’s why in part he doesn’t do those things because we don’t do them. We’re sort of conscious about that. My wife and I never tell him to “be careful” which you hear from parents over and over. We remind him to try and “be mindful,” just to be conscious of what he’s doing. I don’t want to be a parent who nurtures fear in my child. I think like a lot of first-time parents, we’re feeling it out as we go along. My wife reads a lot of books and she researches a lot of different techniques, which I think is important to just know what’s out there.

Modern parenting is such a culture of fear now. I think it was even going back a decade but now it’s at a constant eleven volume. How do you navigate that as a father?

I want to raise my child to be fearless and to be the type who’s curious about the world. I think it comes more from our own behavior. We travel a lot, but we live in Los Angeles. We live in a really nice part of LA and it’s certainly pretty socioeconomically homogenous. But on the other hand it’s one of the most culturally diverse places on the planet so we’re the type who really try and put the effort forward so that he’s exposed to that.  We’re lucky to be able to travel too. We go to India at least twice a year with him because his great grandparents are from there and two of them are still alive. You have to see the world to be able to manage the world. That being said, we’re pretty traditional in the sense of like immunizations and everything. I immunized my son. We go to places like India and Mexico regularly and I believe it’s important to not over immunize, but we give him the basics.

In The Wall Street Journal recently, you said that you think the wellness lifestyle is going mainstream. I see that a lot even from the parenting perspective. There’s so much out there now to address the stress levels of parents and the emotional needs of parenting. Would you agree that the mainstream wellness lifestyle narrative is becoming more inclusive of the parenting experience?

Sure. My wife is a physician so you know it’s a dangerous thing to her trade. Every time I see my son has a runny nose I check online to see what he has. If you go deep enough everything leads to death, which is the big joke. Like, you start with a runny nose but if you poke far enough down the rabbit hole, it ends in a bad place. It’s the same thing with parenting. It’s like every time you have a question about “oh, how should I react to this phase my child is going through?” and without knowing it you end up in a place where there’s s0me study. As a parent, I try not to get too stressed about that. My dad always used to teach us that parenting is the number one most spiritual thing.

Watch Gotham Chopra’s first episode of “Holy Facts” on extreme devotion.

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(photo: Todd MacMillan)

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