Treat Them As Equal-Rights People
I was listening to a podcast of Janice Campbell (Receive Your Life – check it out) when she said something that made me sit up. She said she is having her life experience while living alongside her children who are also here having their life experience. Something in me shifted into relief when I heard that. It’s not a new concept for me but the way she said it made me get more deeply.
I loved her wording so much I transcribed it here for you: “When listening to people, you want your presence to be as non-descript as possible. You can see what’s going on and people around you don’t feel they have to defend their opinions with you. This is especially helpful with your kids. If you are like, “This is the way life is. This is what you should do. This is what you have to do…” If we are afraid and we try to convince them they have to get better, should do better, that life is not going to turn out well if they do it this way – if were dumping all of this fear onto our kids we are not hearing who they are. We are not hearing what’s going on with them. But you trust the spirit that lives within you, so then you realise, wow I can trust the spirit which lives within my kids. So instead of dumping all this fixing onto them, you want to call that goodness forth from them. You want to hear what’s going on with them. You want to be able to recognise the individualised expression of spirit that they are. And then what happens is that you have this cool relationship, like wow, isn’t this wonderful? Where you are going through life, enjoying each other’s company, sharing this time of being alive on the planet together. It’s very different energy from trying to, thinking we have to protect our kids from the world. It’s a really great practice to practice with your kids. You’ll see your relationship deepen so quickly. And again they will be able to start releasing their defences because otherwise what they get from you is, “Oh to get my parents love and approval I have to do this and should do this and should do that” and then its contention instead of just that pure love and listening and wondering, “Who are they? I really want to know who they are” and then harmonising with that energy.”
This is what clicked more deeply for me when I heard her words. My children are independent people with missions and capabilities of which I have no idea. These will be revealed as they grow up but first they have to have a childhood. And these amazing beings, on their journey, have chosen to have their childhood with ME! I am part of their journey. Think about it – you both happen to be living life at the same time on this planet. How cool is that?
The honour and privilege of holding a space for these amazing beings to have their childhood in feels quite mind-boggling to me. I am the keeper of their childhoods. The way I manage it may limit them and make it harder for them to get to the business of being who they are because they have to first clear away my influence – or I can create space and support for who they are.
“Ah” I realised, “My job is not to shape, mould or teach them about how to live life. They already have their way of doing that. I simply need to clear away anything that may cause them harm or damage. I don’t own them. I am their guardian until they are adult. How I can help is to observe who they are with admiring eyes and give support where they show me it is needed.” The pressure is off, people!
This view makes me so curious about these people who are my children. I know it sounds weird but it’s almost like part of me didn’t see them as whole people yet. Think of who you are right now. Think of your skills and your potential and all of what you know about yourself.
Now think of yourself as a young child.
See him or her? He or she already has within them all of what you now know about yourself – and things you don’t know yet. It’s all in there in that young child.
When I look at my children I know that they have purpose and skills and opinions that are all valid – because that’s who they are. I am not necessarily right. They are fully formed – just not yet matured. I look at them and listen to what they say with curiosity – more like I would listen to an adult, “How will this interesting person see this?”
To let them be independent people requires some self-love though. Otherwise I don’t know what needs are coming from me and what is coming from them. But then I just go back to the helpful understanding – If there are big feelings involved, they are mine and not about them or whatever it was they did to make my feelings spike.
So basically, I find it very soothing to know that my children are here on their own mission – part of which is me. I don’t need to tell them what their mission is or teach them how to live their lives. My task is to shelter them while they grow and to nourish them with love, admiration and support. Their spirit will guide them as mine does me. While I support their journey I will learn and grow and be stretched more than I ever thought possible. Through my relationship with them I will learn about myself and about love and come closer to my heart and joy.
Try it out. Deliberately remind yourself that this is a whole, independent-thinking person you are engaging with. When they grow up, you will see all of it emerge. Right now it’s in there quietly waiting. Treat them as equal-rights people and see what a difference it makes to your relationship with them.