The Four Worlds International Institute

A Dakota Elder's Perspective On Educating Children


In our relationship with our children and grandchildren always look at the big picture.  Encourage and support them through all phases of their development.  Don’t be short sighted or narrow.  Try to visualize the young man or woman – fully in balance on all four sides, physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

Do not restrict children to time limits.  Permit them to be free – no clock, which comes all too soon.

Never trap a child in any situation; always give them a way to escape.  Don’t ever put a child’s dignity in jeopardy.  This is a good time and place to tell them an interesting and meaningful “ohukaka” story’ a story that teaches them the spiritual meanings and lessons of life.

Don’t ever be critical of a child, even though it may be deserved.  Be wise in your appraisal of any situation and address it in a positive tone rather than in a negative way.

Be very positive in rewarding the honesty of children.This is the very foundation of integrity (moral soundness).  You can never give them too much.

Phil Lane Sr., Mato Gi, Brown Bear, Ihanktonwan Dakota, Jan 11, 1915-March 29, 2004

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Comment by T. Bernard on March 2, 2012 at 6:33pm
LOVE THIS, please keep posting on how to raise our very beautiful and gifted Native children...it helps so much to have some of your own ideas or knowings about raising children validated by our Elders! I teach my children that alcohol was never intended for us aboriginal people, our body's wisdom tells us this, and mother earth in our area did not intend for us to use it either! Just one teaching we give our children...for us there is no such thing as "social" drinking...just no drinking, that practice is tradition!
Comment by GERALDINE S ADAMS on October 22, 2011 at 1:59pm
Thank you. I particularly like 'you can never give them too much.
Comment by Anett Leutritz on October 3, 2011 at 11:59am

Thank you. Danke. I will take these words with me each monday to a German prilimanary school and a high school. Even if there are (only) 45 minutes each so it is a start let them feel freedom within public school. May the children take what they want to take and find out. May the children give their lessons to adults too.

Comment by White-Bear on October 3, 2011 at 9:37am
Aho! Good, strong, true words. Thank you brother Phil.
Comment by Dreama Blankenbeckler on October 2, 2011 at 7:42pm
Thank you for these words. I am so appreciative. I will bring my students to your blog to read and learn.
Comment by Stephen Bamford on October 2, 2011 at 5:20pm
Words to the wise and I wonder how this could be applied to older kids, like me in their 60's and older and younger!  :-D
Comment by Wendy Jones on October 2, 2011 at 4:41pm
Such wonderful, sound words!  Thank you, hai hai.

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