Children and their wisdom
'The ordainer controls the faith of souls in accordance with their prarabdha karma.
Ramana Maharshi’s message is such good news for parents. Our children are precious souls appearing from the unknown into our hands. In the play of consciousness they come to fulfil their destiny according to the law of the whole. In that light we can truly say 'children of the Universe', children of the One song, One verse. Hence we cannot 'have' them, nor 'own' them, nor do we know what part of the play they appear to be here for.
'The best course therefore is to remain silent', this really is beautiful and it relieves us directly from the duty of having to 'make' something out of our children! The quality of remaining silent is 'non touching'. All is perfect as it is and it cannot be anything else.
This makes us the host of our children, we are here to guide them, support them and love them, unconditionally love them. Simple? Yes it is. What does it take? It takes all! Nothing more, nothing less.
Maaike (3 years old) and Sacha (5 years old) are taking their evening bath.
We ‘d better be equipped with a tremendous amount of flexibility and a great sense of humor. Why? Well a clear mirror can be very confronting.... and a laughing mirror is more fun. In raising my own three daughters, I oftentimes wondered who was raising whom and I have probably been the one that after all matured the most in this marvelous play of being the parent and being the child.
We are wearing a certain ‘hat’ that seems to put us in a certain ‘role’; a role that requires sincerity and full attention.
NO FIXED RULES TO THE PLAY
I thought we have come a long way from trusting ourselves and being natural even in such a basic action. Native Indians have no handbook.... Aboriginals would not even understand what we are talking about......
The more ‘civilized’ we are, the more we grab for theories and structures. In our civilization lots is said about the upbringing of children, great philosophies evolved on this topic, the libraries are full. Interesting to study, nice to read, sometimes wonderful. But.... when it comes to life and children there are no fixed rules to the play.
Please read, take theories in, pick out what makes sense to you and ...forget.
In the 35 years that I have been working with children, as well through being a mother myself, I have never encountered a child that fits into a model.
No concept ‘fits all’. Not even two children in the same family can be approached in the same way. Every child is unique in the sense that there are not two leafs on one tree that are the same. Yes, go outside and look at a tree, look at the diversity of all the different forms and shapes.
Yet isn’t there a perfect oneness, one dance, one song?
This song is in all of us, it reveals itself in the heart through a whisper. Listening to that whisper is listening to intuition, that song is always telling something from the whole of the tree... Living with children is a great challenge to learn to listen to that whisper and to act upon it. It is called living from the heart.
REAL LISTENING IS PRECIOUS TIME
LISTENING: To listen without evaluating, invalidating or interrupting. In other words we are just there, open and empty in listening. So, it is not the point that we should agree or disagree, it is not the point to 'solve' or comment on anything on the spot. This type of listening works so reflective, it is respectful and triggers the intelligence of the child to listen to itself and to find its own answers. If asked for advice still be careful, don’t jump in to quickly.
A simple acknowledgment of what you have heard and a retrospective question is such a fine invitation to really getting to trust ones 'own' resources. It is a very intimate way of communicating, just to be there to support and dignify those brave pilgrims. I have been amazed to see how honest and smart the solution can be where the child comes to, they are so clear and able.
The ability to respond is trained, it is called responsibility. Many times I got the reply: “Thank you, I can always talk with you”. I never said a word. You win on the long run too, because once the child knows that he/she can come to you with whatever topic, without being judged or instantly being (too) friendly advised, you keep a clear view on their sometimes scary adventures and explorations... What you gain is unconditional trust, what you give is unconditional love, which is one and the same. The meeting place is the heart and remember, we don’t know what direction the ‘ordainer’ has destined. We can probably extend a lot on this subject because it is the point where our judgments, comparisons, worries, misuse of authority jump in so easily. Here parents, lays our maturing ground!
Here inherited messages and believes may come to the surface and blur your clear view. Here we are encountered with the challenge of letting go.
Lines we do NOT use:
Here is another line NOT to be used: ”See, I could have told you!” Real listening implies precious time, it is being in the moment, it is intuitive common sense that is coming out of that moment. Once in a while you may sense a secret, you might even know what it is but please play the game of not knowing. Remember how nice and thrilling it is to have a secret? It happened more than once that my children came to tell me their 'secret' without realizing they were exposing it.....
Ann (3 years old) is playing outside with her friends. Suddenly she is screaming like a siren. Crying she is running into her house. Her mother asks: “what happened"? “Peter kicked me”, she replies. “Oh, I see”, acknowledges her Mom. At this point Ann calms down, she is being heard. Then her mother asks: ”What did you do that caused Peter to kick you?” “I bit him”.
The end of the cycle.... she runs off again to play with Peter.
It does not take a long ‘pedagogic’ talk to push the point of cause and effect through their little brain.
We see here that Mom has not done anything but listening and being reflective.
My middle daughter Marlene (14 years) has a visitor in her room, Karen, same age. She asks to come upstairs to talk with Karen. Karen has a problem. As I come into Marlene's room I see Karen’s pale face and eyes full of fear. Marlene said: ”Karen slept with her boyfriend and now she is scared she is pregnant.” I said: ”O.K., Karen do your parents know you have a boyfriend?” “No”, she replies, “my Daddy would be very angry”. This point causes the girl to lie to her parents and to live a double life, to pretend to be someone else, the ‘good girl’ that does not disappoint. her parents. The morals of her father did not prevent the exploration of sexuality, obviously. Here the parents lost sight of their daughter, where they could have been of help. In the further conversation she told me that she hadn’t had her period in three months. I gave her some information on doctor’s secrecy (she was scared to see him, her parents had the same physician), to ask him for a pregnancy test and advise on birth control. Karen was already so relieved, the next day she got her period......
'The real gem is there is no reward'.
Parenting is a hell of a job. Taking a break from time to time keeps it fresh, it is not the only “hat” we wear and balance keeps it balanced. I found it the strongest, most challenging, beautiful and clarifying training in understanding and living in unconditional love.
'The Mother and Father are your attachment