Childrearing has many seasons, but the common threads of mutual love, respect and trust hold them all together. When these are present, growth takes place more gracefully. Most parents can remember the sleepless nights, diaper rash and teething. But it is the fond memories of when we first held our babies and their wonderful smiles that opens our hearts and gives us the strength to rise above our own discomfort and parent our children consciously. Research today is telling us that our babies, even in the womb, are affected for the good or bad by our beliefs and our behavior.
Every day our society tells us to do more, while our innate wise nature is telling us to stop running around and hold our babies closer – not to control but rather to transmit a vital message for their growth. This is the message of unconditional love, respect, and trust. This message is as vital as food, clothing and shelter. Even our teenagers need to be engulfed with this kind of love for it is the building blocks of self-esteem and inner strength. Ultimately, when children are nurtured in this way they learn to love, respect and trust themselves unequivocally. This is our legacy to them. It provides them with the strength to weather difficult moments in the same way the memory of their smile lifts and carries us through hardship.
One of my fondest memories is the first moment of individuation – the moment I encountered my children’s first “NO!” How we respond to that “NO!” sets the course for our future relationship with our child. If they experience camaraderie instead of harsh resistance, then the blanket of unconditional love will continue to hold them along their path of growth.
My reaction to that first “NO!” was sheer delight. More than anything, I wanted my children to define themselves and know who they were – not who I thought they should or could be. With that “NO!” they had taken their first step to finding their own “me”. Was I up for the challenge? Could I actually hold and love this small person as they resisted and challenged the very fabric of my being? Would I be able to help this small person keep their spirit and sense of self intact even if I hadn’t been raised in this way?
With these questions resting in the back of my mind, my response to my growing toddlers’ “NO!” continued to be laughter and then, “Well, OK – So what do you want? This approach enabled them to learn the art of negotiation at a very young age and kept us from needless battling. This also taught my children to approach individuation as a defining process not a power trip where someone has to win and someone has to lose.
Now the joys and challenges of toddlers are very different from the joys and challenges of middle school children or teenagers. As our children grew older, my husband and I discovered that sometimes we did have to be the ones saying the “NO!”. But since we hadn’t harshly resisted their “NO!” in those early years we found our children didn’t harshly resist our “NO!”. Instead they immediately wanted to open up a dialogue and find a consensus point, which normally turned into a discussion that brought us all closer together. This proved to be very helpful when we found our teenagers stepping over a line that could prove to be harmful.
My children are much older now-but the dance of individuation and support continues. One of my greatest parenting tools continues to be approaching all situations with love, respect, and trust and reminding myself that it has never been and never will be my job to control, or get in their way of being who they are. My job as a mom is to love, respect and trust and when they are ready to spread their wings and try life on their own I need to step back and give them the chance to fly.
Fifteen years ago our family was driving home from Yosemite on Labor Day Weekend. It was oppressively hot and the traffic was horrible. Our son, three at the time, keep announcing to us about every fifteen minutes that we needed to remove his training wheels from his bike when we got home. This was a very challenging six-hour drive, but each time he asked I tried to remember to respond with love, respect and trust. So each time I would respond, “When we get home, you find me a wrench and I will take the training wheels off for you”.
When we finally arrived home I was exhausted and I was having difficulty believing that he could ride a two-wheeler without training wheels, but I spared him my beliefs and instead supported his vision. Back from the tool shed he ran yelling, ” I brought two so I could help you!” I smiled as some of my exhaustion melted away. With his enthusiasm, we removed the wheels quickly and he was ready to ride. Remembering my role to trust and not control, I asked if I should hold onto his seat and run next to him for a few feet until he got some momentum. “Yes, that is a good idea”, he said. He picked up his bike, placed one foot on the pedal and turning to me said, “Lets go!” With my hand holding the seat of his bike we began moving. In fact he began moving so quickly I couldn’t keep up with him, so I let go. About ten feet later his bike crashed. I held back my fear and waited for a clue from him. From under the wreckage his enthusiastic voice – the same one that had uttered that first adamant “NO!”, said, “Not bad for the first try!” I laughed and agreed.
We were now officially a team with a single mission – his mission and he was leading the way. In that late afternoon my three year old son not only taught himself how to ride a two-wheeler, he also reminded me of my role – to love, respect and trust my children so they can become all they want to be. The trick is listening to what they are saying, not to the words in my mind – and when at all possible, allowing their voice to be the guiding force.
I have found that changing patterns and beliefs can affect every aspect of your life, which is why I continue to do interviews and teach the I Create What I Believe! program to adults and children from all walks of life.
Science of Life:
On June 20th I was interviewed on Science for Life radio show by Doug Parks.Here is the link for the archived interview: http://www.scienceforlife.net/ (Scroll down to the on-demand archives.)
On Wednesday morning July 18th at 11:00 am PST I am going to be interviewed by Rae Zander on the Everyday Attraction show. Here is the link: Www.unity.fm. If you are unable to listen to the show live it will also be archived.
I Create What I Believe! Deluxe Teacher’s Edition kit
I am extremely excited and proud to announce that after two years and a lot of hard work the ICWIB Deluxe Teacher’s Edition kit is finally done! If you are interested in seeing the new kit, or purchasing one you can view the new ICWIB Deluxe Teacher’s Edition kit (https://icreatewhatibelieve.com/icwibprokit.html) on the website: www.ICreateWhatIBelieve.com
If you want any more information about the new kit or the program you can contact Nancy Marie at 530-926-0365 or firstname.lastname@example.org