It is absolute and total madness as well as complete elation mixed with banging ones head against the wall. A recipe for raising children to be sure.
This could be an extremely long article, so with that in mind I will try to keep things short and sweet. But this topic deserves a great deal of attention.
Everything you feel, whether you accept to believe it or not or are aware of it, is transposed on the child. We will all admit that there are those that when they walk into a room sucks the very life out of it and those that fill the room. This “energy” can be healing or it can be destructive, even without a word spoken. Children are very susceptible to this energy, and this energy can manifest itself in the child emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. Before you begin to teach and guide a child, there needs to be good energy: love, compassion, gratitude, forgiveness, kindness, etc. If you do not, there will be an extra helping of the head banging against the wall. So be aware of how you feel before being around a child, especially before kicking into teaching mode. It won’t always be perfect, but lets increase the odds greatly for beneficial teaching moments then not.
2. Love and trust, not fear and doubt
Teach them how to look at people and situations through love and trust, not fear and doubt. Your children live a paradox…they will love you and they will fear you. Fear weakens where love strengthens. Fear destroys where love heals. Fear enslaves where love is freedom. It is our responsibility understanding this difference to make a choice which tool we will use to teach our children. So how does one remove fear? Educate and empower. To teach them that life is a game and to find joy and fun, not a test where they are constantly micro-managed and judged. That if we love, that love should be without conditions and if there are no conditions, there are no expectations and if there are no expectations then one can be free to create the life one chooses (free-agency or loving-choices because love is freedom). No this does not mean to let them run a muck in anarchy, but to guide and help them. It means to teach them how to play the game with the highest of virtues, to teach them how to find their truth in the contrasts of their life and that they can choose at anytime to change the game, start over and find others to play with. Another way to help them see and experience life with very little fear is to help them understand “illusions”. These are common illusions we ourselves buy into and teach our children that they are real, when in fact, they are not.
a. Need (There is an agenda)
b. Failure (The outcome in life is in doubt)
c. Separate (We are separate from each other and God/Universe/Source)
d. Insufficiency (There is not enough)
e. Requirement (There is something we HAVE to do)
f. Judgment (If you do no do it, you will be punished)
g. Condemnation (The punishment is everlasting damnation)
h. Conditionality (Love is, therefore, conditional)
i. Superiority (Knowing and meeting these conditions, renders you superior)
j. Ignorance (You do not know that these are illusions)
*Taken from Neale Donald Walsch’s Conversations with God books
If you can teach a child how these are just man-made illusions, and how to use them to their benefit, you will empower them and remove a great deal of fear. They will see life as a joyous and a loving (without conditions) experience. They will also love themselves. They will learn that they don’t need love, or want love, that they are love. They will have a deeper sense of self-esteem and self-confidence. They will speak the truth, rely on intuition, wisdom and knowledge. Just imagine the life that you would have lived if you never had fear or bought into these illusions.
“In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.” – Buddha
3. Educate / Empower
Masters do not create followers, they create more masters. Jesus taught to teach a man not to rely on someone to fish for them, but to be fisherman themselves. Buddha shares, “All wrong-doing arises because of mind. If mind is transformed can wrong-doing remain?” We are all problem-makers, but there are very few that are problem-solvers. I never want my child when approached with a situation to react out of fear due to me, their mother, their religion or their God (I am not going to smoke pot, my dad, if he finds out,
will kill me). I want them to look at it from several angles, to think about it, to educate themselves about it and to come to their own answer or solution. It is our job to teach them, not give them answers, or consequences, but to show them how to problem-solve, to think for themselves. To teach them what works and what doesn’t work. Not right or wrong, because everyone’s truth is different, and one way or another they will find their truth. (most of the problems on this planet is because we think “right or wrong” and demand that the other has to adopt our way of thinking) Be the ones to show them how to find their truth, not force them or guilt them to accept your truth. And in doing so, they will make this way of thinking, habitual. If your child wants to have sex, there is no way you can stop them. But you can educate them and help them “How” to educate themselves. So when they are in the moment, they will own their decision. That is the residual affect of teaching them how to problem solve…they own it. There are no victims, no blaming, just understanding, learning and moving on. To create instead of react.
4. Shut up!
Listen, but listen without judgment. Let them express themselves to you without fear of punishment, retribution or judgment. This will gain their trust and that needs to be a revolving door. Do not judge them, they are a lot of times, experiencing things for the first time. And experiencing it uniquely. Help them see different perspectives but first…listen (If you need to talk, ask questions). The 2nd thing you need to shut up is your mind. Learn how to meditate and then teach the child to either meditate too or to do things that help quiet their minds. Be in nature, spend time with a pet…do things that involve all 5 of the senses and be in the moment. You will be in a better more balanced place to listen and teach and everyone loves a calm, loving teacher and especially a calm and loving student.
5. Let go!
Let them grow, let them learn, let them “be”. You would never run out into the garden and yell at it to grow, yet we do this to our children constantly. We need to be in control of “our” children. Control is not FORCE but POWER. Teach them how to problem-solve, how to critical think and them let them go. This is where the real learning begins. Have faith in them and your guidance. This doesn’t mean they will not falter, but it does mean they will be more aware, not blame, pick themselves up, come to you for more guidance and help and move forward. Where many blame others or you, live an unnecessarily stressed life, and avoid engaging with you at all costs. What path would you choose for them and you? Show them what we all believe that God is…”UNCONDITIONAL LOVE”.
Of course there is so much more that can be added here. But it helps with a quick overview so we can scrutinize our current methods of how we raise our kids, see what isn’t working and what is working and try new. This article is also great for dealing with friends, lovers, spouses, employees and in general, people. It is a different perspective, that hopefully can help raise our children to become the change we want in the world. It is not about perfection but more about upping the odds. If any perspective does not work for you, let it go and go find one that does.
From the book “The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran
“And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, Speak to us of Children.
And he said:
Your children are not your children.
They are sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.”
I don’t really want children, and actually I don’t like them.
But then I’d say acknowledgement of needs, teaching self-sufficiency and how to get on with others, and teaching them to fulfil their talents is key.