“Your children are not your children; They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself..” - Kahlil Gibran
Whether you’re a new parent, a grandparent, a parent of grown adults or if you’ve been in the parenting role for a good few years running – this is for you. This is one of those that you read right til the end, because the truth is too clear to look away from.
We as parents, a collective, have responsibilities to the next generations, so I have something very important I need to tell you, something you also need to hear:
Please don’t screw them up. There’s only so much time you have to lay their foundations which will allow them to flourish or perish.
I don’t mean this in a melodramatic sense – I mean it in the soul-squeezing, teeth-clenching, stomach-churning, truth-wringing urgency kind of sense.
I am a Transpersonal Therapist – I work with adults of all walks of life and believe you me, I have been walking adults through YOUR BULLSHIT day in and day out.
Yes – your shit. That has become theirs.
Your children, when they are grown up, are a melting pot of mechanisms that their subconscious body has become familiar with. They inherit the reality they see and understand – not the reality you want for them or that they want for themselves.
IT IS WHAT YOU HAVE CREATED AROUND THEM AS A CHILD, THAT STICKS THROUGH THEIR EMOTIONS AND SOLIDIFIES AS REACTIONS IN THEIR BODIES.
It stays for life. Until they call therapists like me to untangle the mess of limitations.
Most of these beliefs and reactions are not eternally true.
These are beliefs to do with their capability, worth, sense of self, money, work, love, relations, EVERYTHING.
Yes – the foundation you laid for them to pick up and interperate.
No longer does “Do as I say, not as I do” hold any weight. That is not how we function biologically. Your child extracts a belief and understanding of their reality and their world, based on the emotions felt at a certain instance and the dynamics attached to it.
I say to you now…
Just don’t do it.
Don’t do what you think is best at first – question yourself in more ways than one, when it comes to your reactions.
Don’t do the mundane, routine expectancy.
Those expectancies you place on yourself, and those expectancies you pass down onto your children.
You know the kind I’m talking about –
‘go to school, do your best, do better than you can, reach further than you can, become something great, work hard, fear failure, don’t fail, money doesn’t come easy, work is a Duty not a Joy, Success requires Suffering, only speak when spoken to, keep quiet, sit still, think outside the box but stay inside the box, be yourself – no, not like that, anger is bad, happiness is good, always be happy, don’t get angry, you can’t have everything you want, get a degree, study through an institution, Passions are only Hobbies, just do ONE thing, get married, then have children, fear divorce, fear failure, fear more failure, don’t think about failure; it’s not an option, forget how to fail, have zero coping mechanisms for failure, don’t be like your dad, or be like your dad, have a better life than we did, go travel, stay home, don’t fail, just be happy.’
I cry as I write this, because you do not see the adults that your children become when you are raising them. You may have idealist visions of what they could become, but for god’s sake you do not sit in my chair and see the limitations that these adults sit with, simply because of the beliefs, realities and understandings they live with – BECAUSE OF YOU.
I’m not talking about any major traumas or events – I mean people, adults with relatively ‘normal’ childhoods.
You see, I know you are doing the best you can. I know you are tired. I know you want the best for them – but we as parents have ONE SINGLE DUTY, AND ONE DUTY ONLY:
To shift the next generation by not imposing ourselves upon them. The only way there will ever be a better world in our future, is if we do not subject them to the kinds of limiting beliefs we were subjected to.
In my field of work, we deal with the subconscious – the backseat driver that runs everything.
I sit with these ‘normal’ seeming adults, and guess what?
They have subconscious beliefs like this:
1) Sally’s mom was always away from home to work and earn money. Sally missed her mom terribly. What belief did Sally get about money?
- MONEY IS BAD BECAUSE IT SEPARATES PEOPLE.
(Sally will go on to have trouble with finances, because her subconscious body does not feel safe with money, as it is synonymous with separation and pain to her body.)
2) Joshua’s dad didn’t let him take dance classes because he said it’s a girl’s sport. He said men are strong and tough, so they should do Rugby and Soccer. What belief and mechanism did Josh get around his individuality and place in the world?
- I AM ONLY LOVED IF I AM STRONG. IT IS NOT SAFE FOR ME TO EXPRESS MYSELF.
(Josh will go on into a life of possible success on the surface, but will have a life of suppression because he does not feel safe to be creative, vulnerable or expressive. He will not consciously know this and look for outlets which are sedatives – like alcohol, drugs or distracting behaviors to further allow the familiarity and ‘safety’ of not expressing himself to remain.)
This is the tip of the ice berg – and I could keep you here for hours, yet, for now I ask you one simple thing:
Ask yourself – what are you truly giving your child?
Choose possibilities. Choose to revaluate your truths.
What have you given them to believe about the world and themselves?
Have you been brave enough to give it to yourself as well?
Give them choice as often as possible.
Give them truth. Their truth – not yours.
Give them a nourishing Blueprint for life. Not one of limitation.
Give them the gift of themselves – you are robbing the world of their uniqueness if you ask them to walk on a path already made.
That way, there will be a few less troubled adults in front of me.
Thank you for your cooperation.
Your Fellow Parent and Therapist,
Featured Quote Excerpt from Kahlil Gibran’s ‘On Children’:
“Your children are not your children. They are the 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.”