Recruiting Our Children.

Sometimes I think it is important to remind ourselves what the object of childhood is. From the moment that a child is born they begin the process of letting go of our hands. The grow away from us. And that is exactly as it should be.

At different stages a child tests the limits of different parts that define who they are. They rail against the two people who are supposed to love them in spite of themselves. They test us because they can. They watch us like hawks repeating what we say and do and later the critic sets in and they play match game trying to see if what we say is indeed what we do. They ask for the same rules for themselves. If we smoke, why can’t they? If we drive recklessly, why can’t they? If we lie, so will they.

They are looking for themselves. They hold themselves up to us always .. How are they the same? Different? Why are they different? Is that ok? They look in our eyes when we answer them, they listen to rise and fall of our voices for the tone behind the words … they see into our hearts and that truth they hear either buries them or frees them. They battle always between who they think they are and who they think they should be and the truth is they have no idea who they really are because usually at some point in their childhood they had a choice, hang on to that knowledge of self and be isolated, or surrender it and join the rest of the world. Knowing who you are and standing tall takes a commitment of belief in a child from the moment they are born … a willingness to allow them to be unique … a willingness to let them be …NOT you. Most parents fail miserably and trade in authenticity for survival skills born of fear. We want them educated, we want them to conform their behaviour to be accepted, we want them to have money and opportunity because we can measure those things. We can stand and say we did well as parents. We can believe if they have those things they have a chance at being happy. This is the lie we tell ourselves because we too are still pursuing, if we just get a bit more money, a better job, a big break .. THEN we will be happy, THEN we will find our place.

We want our kids to be successful by worldly standards more for how it makes us look than we worry about how it makes them feel.

Children embrace life and are willing to try anything and everything until we project our fears upon them. It never occurs to a child that he can’t do something until we tell him so. A teenager takes the information we have given him about life and applies it to his own relationships, his own experiences, and he is going to make mistakes. How we react to those mistakes places an almost permanent label on him of “good’ or “bad” because these are things he did when he was trying to build his own life. The emotions a teen expresses are amplified and contrary to what we might allow ourselves to feel and when we try to contain them we again, are pushing the child to be smaller, less than they really are. We teach them that what they feel and think and do is bad and that they must contain all of that.

A teen is like an unbroken horse. You can take a horse and break its spirit and you end up with a trail horse or you can channel that beautiful energy into excelling at cutting cattle, equestrian skills, or just running like the wind. We break far too many children because this life has a million lessons on how to grow physically and to attain money . .. .there are far too few lessons on how to honour the spirit and soul of a human being.

We talk more than we listen to our kids. We control more than we celebrate their energy. We steer them more than we ever allow them to find their own way and in our hearts, somewhere, a little bit more of us dies because where once we too were victims of emptiness, we have now just recruited our own children.

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~ by blisswindlow on June 28, 2011.

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