Raising Joyful Children
Children have neither past nor future; they enjoy the present, which very few of us do. ~Jean de la Bruyere
Have you ever watched a baby or small child play? It’s really something to behold. Their movements are very fluid because they are at such ease in their bodies. They express so much joy when they play. Babies don’t think about when they will cry; they just do it from awareness knowing that their cry will elicit a response from someone who will meet their needs. Children don’t think about each momentary activity. It is their nature to just “be” without any judgment of themselves or anyone around them.
Children function from awareness in every moment of their day. They don’t judge themselves or go to the thinking mind, but rather they function from consciousness, awareness, and the joy of life. It isn’t until others begin to project judgments and points of view at them that they begin to override their awareness and begin to judge themselves, their behavior, their choices, and others around them.
Start with a clean slate
So how can we nurture a child’s innate awareness and the joy of living? First, we must let go of all our preconceived points of view regarding children and in regards to everything we were taught, and everything we’ve read and experienced about children. By letting go of all of this and starting from a clean slate, it is now possible to function from a place of “knowing”. Knowing is instantaneous; it comes first without any effort. Thinking, planning and figuring things out comes after we have accessed our knowing.
Ask and you shall receive
To bring up joyful children, a dynamic tool for parenting is to “live in the question.” A question empowers, and an answer or conclusion does just the opposite. Rather than coming to conclusions about behaviors and situations, a conscious parent will ask questions to create awareness around a situation. For instance, if a child is cranky when they come home from school we may conclude that they are tired. Then we decide that if they rest they will get over the crankiness. Since that is not the real reason they are cranky, resting does not change the behavior. If instead you ask your child what is going on with them, you may discover that he or she had a difficult interaction with another child at school. Now you can deal with the situation from that vantage point and have more success in allowing your child to work through their feelings. Questions allow us to live in the moment instead of functioning from past experiences that may jade our view.
Trust your children
Children are conscious beings in little bodies. What if they know way more than which we give them credit? Parenting in the traditional sense requires control. Aren’t we supposed to know what’s best for our children, have the answers, protect them and keep them from harm? Instead, what if we truly listened to children to become aware of what they require in any given moment? What if they listen to their bodies and know what kind of food their body needs? Perhaps one day it’s three peanut butter and jelly sandwiches without any fruit or vegetable and the next day it’s only fruit all day. Would you be willing to trust in their knowing for their body? What if the shyness they display is not shyness at all but an awareness of people? Would you be willing to respect their knowing around people?
Consciousness, as defined by Gary Douglas of Access Consciousness, includes everything without judgment. It is the willingness and capacity to be totally aware and totally present in all areas of our lives. Consciousness is the ability to continually awaken to more possibility, more choice and more life. Bringing up joyful children becomes much easier when we are willing to function from our own awareness.