I would do anything for my child
My child is my reason for being
I sacrifice my life for my child
I want to give my child my all
Spoken in the voices and languages of mothers everywhere, these have become an expectation, when we are thinking of raising children, being devoted to them and “sacrificing” for their wellbeing. And it is so, this is what we should do when it comes to our children. That is … if the meaning of these phrases is the right one … .
As a child growing up, as a grandchild, as a young mother, I learned from looking at women around me that sacrificing for your child, doing anything for him/her, dying for them, is something expected of mothers, and that what this means is laying your life down in front of your child, leaving anything personal aside to serve your child, ignoring what you want for what you feel your child needs or, worse yet, what society deems needed for a mother to do.
As a mother of a young teenager, lost and confused as to what the best way I can support my son would be, I started reading – it is the only solace I know that allows me to bask into knowledge, information, insights and take what fits my soul. And that every now and again offers me a direction … .
As I was listening to The Conscious Parenting this morning, I was so struck by the meaning that most resonated with my heart of the phrases above. Yes, we are to die for our children! Yes, we are to sacrifice and give our all for our children! Yes, they are a reason for being! But alas, not at all in the ways I mentioned above. Those do not only suck the life out of us, the mothers, but perpetuate a model that functions in the detriment of the same children we aim to support.
We do not own our children, they are not ours. They are magnificent and tough opportunities for us to die to our old lives, to rein in our ego and redefine the “us” we thought we were in order to become better selves. If we are to raise our children consciously, if we are to break the mould and raise them as individuals and not extensions of ourselves, if we are to get it through our stubborn brains that children are here to teach us, not vice-versa, we will be reborn.
“This path isn’t for the faint-hearted, but for those courageous souls who wish to experience kinship with their children. Our children come to us so we may recognize our psychic wounds and call up the courage to transcend the limitations these wounds place on us. As we uncover the ways in which our past drives us, we gradually become capable of parenting consciously. Until then, try as we may to bring awareness to the way we parent, unconsciousness seeps into our interactions with our children at the least provocation. ”Shefali Tsabary, The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children
Children arrive in our lives, whether we believe we are ready for them or not, to point to the places we need to heal, to push the buttons that will trigger what we need to fix, to offer us a hand on our journey to growing up.
“Viewing parenthood as a process of spiritual metamorphosis allows us to create the psychic space to invite the lessons of this journey in. As a parent, to the degree you are able to recognize that your children are in your life to foster a renewed sense of who you are, you will discover their potential to lead you to the discovery of your own true being. ”Shefali Tsabary, The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children
Day in and day out we worry about the mundane – what they eat, who they meet up with, what results they have in school. When in fact …
“[…] while you may believe your most important challenge is to raise your children well, there’s an even more essential task you need to attend to, which is the foundation of effective parenting. This task is to raise yourself into the most awakened and present individual you can be. The reason this is central to good parenting is that children don’t need our ideas and expectations, or our dominance and control, only for us to be attuned to them with our engaged presence.”Shefali Tsabary, The Conscious Parent
Of course, there is always a choice there.
“You will only accept your child to the degree you accept yourself.Shefali Tsabary, The Conscious Parent