There's no hiding from our consciousness as a parentBabies come into the world, each with their own unique soul, ready to learn.
They learn from the culture, family, and the parents that they live with.
This learning starts in utero, as they hear the language that is spoken. Once he is born, a baby born in a remote South American rainforest home, with no exposure to modern culture, where family and culture is all; will learn very different things from a child born in a big city in Japan, in a high-rise block, with no siblings and a father who is out at work for long hours each day. Each baby learns, from our every response and action, how to speak the language of those around them, as well as the beliefs, values, attitudes, and ways of thinking....
This happens even within a culture. Take Western culture. Babies learn from whichever parenting paradigm resonates with their parents. A baby brought up from day one to sleep alone in a cot learns very different things from a baby who sleeps in his parents’ bed. A baby who is left alone to cry, or who is fed when he cries, or who is listened to when he cries, also learns very different things about his feelings.
Each of us cannot help but passing on our own beliefs, ways of thinking, and attitudes to our babies and children.
Babies are designed this way. Human beings are unique in their amazing adaptivity - to fit into whatever life they are born into. Whatever a baby experiences, becomes the way things are for him.
So, the way we are with closeness and intimacy will be what we pass on to our children.
The way we are with sadness, frustration, fear, and joy will be what we give to our children.
They way we are with presence, self-love, judgment, and acceptance will be what our children learn.
When we see a parent in the street on their mobile phone whilst their baby is crying in the stroller, we know at once how that adult relates to their own feelings. However a parent acts with their child is a flag which indicates their own inner relationship.
We cannot help but relate to our children in the same way that we relate to ourselves.
We may try to relate differently to our children than the way we relate to ourselves, but there is no escape. For example we may want our child to love themselves, but be full of self-judgment ourselves. However we try to be with them, they will get the judgment part.
Being a parent is the greatest wake-up call of all. There is simply no way of escaping ourselves and our consciousness when we relate to our children.
Ponder, for a moment, on an adult completely comfortable with every nuance of their being; with every feeling, and every nuance of feeling. Picture this adult free from any judgment; free from every self-negating belief. See an adult being fully present in every moment with all that is. Imagine that adult with a new baby. What do you see? That adult would be the same with their child.... freely being fully present with every feeling, every state, responding accurately and fully to every need. The baby would flow in and out of different states, and the adult would be fully present with each of them. There would be no fear or contraction if the baby felt tired, sad, scared, blissful, curious, or agitated. Thus the baby would not contract with any of those states in himself. He would remain fully connected with every aspect of his being.
As far as I’m aware, there aren’t any adults like that. Unless enlightened folk are like that; I haven’t met any so I don’t really know!
The truth is that each of us has patches where we retract and retreat from full presence. Perhaps we are very comfortable with being happy, but not with being blissful. Perhaps we have beliefs that mean self-love is dangerous. Perhaps we tell ourselves that being present is scary. All of those things will show up when we are with our children.
Being a parent is thus the ultimate gift in our psychospiritual journey. Being with our children will shine the light on every place on us which is hiding.
We have choices about how we respond to this invitation. We can resist it, blaming our reactions on our children’s behaviour; trying to make them wrong, fix them, or get them to fit into our limiting beliefs.
Alternatively, we can keep saying yes to the invitation, to unfold long-gotten beliefs, to open our heart to dark and scared places in ourselves, to invite openness where there is contraction, to give love where there is tension.
Ultimately, doing this means we can give more to our children. Our presence contracts less, and in fewer places, and thus their consciousness is relatively freer for their true essence to shine through. What a gift; what an invitation!