Parenting as Path

by Larry Steele

Shastri Iris Ramos tells a story about a hot Texas afternoon when her grandchildren were playing outside in the yard. It might have been fun to play in the street, but Abuela (Grandmother) Iris closed the gate and shut them in. Her granddaughter objected.  Striking her most authoritative pose, with one hand on her hip, the five-year-old asked, “Ababa, are you being kind?”

“Yes I am,” said Grandmother Iris.

In simple interactions like this one parents teach children how loving kindness and discipline go together.

“As parents, when we relax into the confidence of our own practice we can see our children more clearly,” said Shastri Ramos. “It’s about parents understanding children, and children understanding parents.”

Shastri Ramos first taught Family Camp with inclusive programming for children and parents at the Shambhala retreat center at Karme Choling. Ms. Ramos later taught staff and children at a week-long Enlightened Children’s Program, most recently last year at ESA in Austin, Texas. She has 30 years of private practice in clinical social work with a specialty in children and family therapies and is a long time key leader of the Austin Shambhala Center’s Children First! youth program.

Seattle’s Families and Children team and Shastri Ramos are working to bring the teachings of Parenting as Path to our center in the near future.

Child care is woven into the Parenting as Path program. Activities for toddlers, ‘tweens, and teenager are tied to the activities parents are doing. There will be non-competitive games like freeze tag, Shambhala bingo, and “catch the dragon,” plus discussion about how to use “natural consequences” like time outs, and other ways to communicate and resolve conflicts.

Youngsters will have rota assignments, like helping in the kitchen and the garden. Each activity will open opportunities to practice, discuss, and apply skills in action.

“Enlightened children’s programming recognizes the sacred nature of all beings and things,” said Shastri Ramos. “Humans have a natural aspect of love and equality. When we relax into who we are, we don’t need to be afraid. That wisdom is always there.”

The weekend schedule also will create private time for one-on-one interviews when parents can talk about their own kids, as well as:

  • Meditation practices which can be incorporated into the hectic life of a parent.
  • Parenting styles and helpful techniques.
  • How to address special needs.
  • Suggestions for managing other life challenges (death, divorce, and meltdowns, etc.) within our families.


The “Parenting as Path” program, previously scheduled for May 18-19, has been cancelled due to low attendance. Be on the lookout for a new date in the future! 

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